Apple’s X-Serve

Today Apple announced their new high end industrial strength priced to sell (starting at $2999) X-Serve rack-mounted servers (I’m going to call them Rack Macs). For you hardware fanatics, the specs are here, but you’ve got lots of storage, and space to grow. Plus, the hardware is designed so you can use it headless, with built in security features, including locks, and status lights, and remote monitoring (including the necessary software).

But as nifty (see what they are saying at SlashDot) as these boxes are, I’m more excited about the software.

X-Serve boxes come with OS X server 10.x, so that means they’re Unix with a super GUI as well as command line access and SSH2, IP filtering, firewall, DHCP, LDAP, NetInfo. They have multi-platform support for file services and the usual FTP. But OS X is Unix, so you also have Apache, Mail (SMTP, POP, IMAP), WebDAV, SSL, PHP, MySQL, JavaServer Pages, Java Servlets, Perl, Mac CGI, and all the usual Unix and high end server stuff, as well as Apple’s own Web Objects deployment, and QuickTime Streaming server.

This strikes me as a great server for Higher Ed users and developers, either as a web server or a streaming server. But looking at what it ships with, and keeping in mind Apple’s support for standards like CUPS, the Common Unix Printing System WebDav and Web Services, to the point that XML as a core service even via QuickTime XML import and XML event-based parsing and Apple Script XML-RPC and SOAP requests, not to mention Carbon instructions for making an XML-RPC call, I can’t help but think this is a great deployment platform for instructional support. I’m especially intrigued by the possibilities of WebObjects, with open source technologies, and of course, blogging.