Apple unveils dual G5 Xserve

Apple Computer Inc. continued to muscle its way into the enterprise this week as it unveiled at the MacWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco three new models of its Xserve with 2GHz, G5 processors from IBM Corp. at its core.

Also introduced was Xserve RAID storage system with a maximum of 3.5TB of capacity.

The Xserve in a 1U form factor will be offered in single and dual 2GHz processor units, with as much as 8GB ECC (Error Correcting Code) memory, and as much as 750GB of storage. The single processor Xserve will be priced at US$2,999, and the dual processor unit priced at US$3,999.

A third US$2,999 model is optimized for clusters with dual 2GHz processors, 512MB of ECC RAM, 80GB hard drive, dual gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, and USB 2.0.

While many in the industry say the pricing is aggressive, one industry analyst does not believe the latest servers will change many minds in corporate IT.

“They continue to improve but this is not revolutionary. Intel (Corp.) processors running Linux is the golden-haired boy at this time,” said Jim Johnson, chairman at the Standish Group.

However, with the greater Intel server market in mind, Apple also introduced an upgraded Xserve RAID storage system that supports Windows and Linux-based platforms.

The 3U rack-mounted system will have a maximum capacity of 3.5TB, and as much as 210MB per second throughput.

The entry-level unit is priced at US$5,999 with dual independent RAID controls with 128MB of cache per controller, dual 2GB Fibre Channel Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP), four 250GB ATA/100 Apple drive modules, 1TB storage, and 8MB on-drive cache.

At the top of the model line up is the US$10,999 unit that also includes 14 250GB ATA/100 Apple drive modules and 3.5TB of total storage.

Johnson said despite the more powerful server and storage, it will still be an uphill battle for Apple to penetrate more deeply into the enterprise. While Johnson said Apple’s products are rock-solid and priced well, what is lacking is IT mindshare.

“They have to be looked at as a viable alternative. They need to establish that,” he said.

G5 Xserve models will be available in February; the Xserve RAID Storage System is available now.

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