Apple's Xserve hits end of life, order yours before Jan, 31

Farewell, Xserve. While the G5 version was once the server behind one of the world's fastest parallel supercomputers, Apple's powerful but slow-selling line of rack-mount servers has now reached the end of its life cycle and will no longer be offered after January 31, 2011. As an enterprise-oriented config, the Xserve has never received much attention during Apple's splashy product introductions, instead quietly getting speed bumps and bigger drives.

The server chassis will not be available for sale after January, but the 160 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB drive modules will still be available for sale until the end of next year. Apple has posted a transition document on its website that recommends either the Mac Mini server or Mac Pro with Snow Leopard Server as alternatives.

While rackmount adapters are available for the Mini, it doesn't come close to the performance of the Xserve. The Pro on the other hand has no issues with performance, but requiring 12U of rack space for 2 machines is a huge concern; also the Pro lacks the XServe's redundant power supplies, and cannot support the Lights-Out Management features of the rackmount server.

[Apple's transition guide covers the feature comparisons between the two alternatives and the Xserve, but it doesn't say anything to soothe the ire of Xsan customers, who depend on the rackmount server to operate their storage-area networks for high performance video editing or scientific computing. We'll be talking to system integrators and customers later today. –Ed.]

If you decide that you need that "just right" option before it goes away, the quad-core Xserve starts at $2,999 while the eight-core variant will run $600 more. Reader Chris Clarke also notes that the maximum memory config on the Mac Pro server models has gone to 32GB for the quad/six core units, and 64GB for the 8/12 core machines.

Thanks to Colin for the tip.

[Hat tips to Engadget, MacRumors & MacGeneration]