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Chicago, IL

[Network] ML server: no longer for enterprise



Mountain Lion Server is the final chapter in Apple’s march from the enterprise data center – a march that started five years ago when Apple introduced a simplified management interface for small business as part of Leopard Server. The first sure sign that Apple had decided to tailor its server platform only for smaller organizations came with the cancellation of the Xserve.

To experienced OS X Server administrators, Lion Server looked like a patched together product that still had much of its former enterprise capabilities but with advanced administration tools that had been gutted like a fish. All of which pointed to Apple moving forward with its narrower focus and a simplified management app call simply Server.

Recently Apple began letting news about Mountain Lion Server trickle out – first in the form of a 25 page product guide that was focused solely on the Server utility. Longtime advanced admin tools like the venerable Server Admin and Workgroup Manager were conspicuously absent. Some advanced services we added to Server. System Image Utility, which is used to build system configurations for network roll outs of Mac systems and software, is the one remaining advanced server tool.

Today, Apple released its Advanced Administration guide for Mountain Lion Server. It confirms what many Mac IT professionals had already suspected. Server Admin and Workgroup Manager are no longer available as tools and virtually all Mountain Lion Server administration will be done using the Server app.

There is a handful of advanced server functionality in Mountain Lion Server, mostly those that are needed for specific tasks and functionality like internal DNS, Open Directory user management, push notifications, VPN and remote access, shared contacts and calendars, and the included email server.

It seems quite clear that Apple has plans for OS X Server beyond this release, but it also seems clear that it will be for small business environments. Looking through the guide, Mountain Lion Server looks like it ticks all the boxes a smaller organization would need. That isn’t bad in and of itself. For small businesses this could be a killer product. It does, however, seem to signal to larger customers that the time has come to consider a migration plan from OS X Server (if they haven’t done so already).

Check back tomorrow for a more in-depth examination of what Mountain Lion Server offers and what it means for organizations with a large installed base of Macs and other Apple technologies.

I think I know it all.
Plainfield, IN
Lion server is an abomination upon the IT world. If a client needed a simple fileserver, we switched them to Synology NAS boxes.

I'm open to checking out ML Server (and have a copy at home via my dev account) however Apple is definitely not allowing a lot of deviation from their world in this software.

Oh, and Apple lost the enterprise war, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Everybody panders to enterprise customers, however we have more edu customers with larger seat #'s than a lot of large businesses. MS/Linux for servers, Apple for laptops and everybody wins.

North York, ON
reply to adamtech78
They have decided that they want to focus on the consumer market. At least they did not completely abandon the corporate market all at once.

Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Winston Salem, NC
The important thing is the client is still enterprise-ready. My Macs all work very well with the exchange server at my hospital for email, calendar, contacts, etc. As do my iPhone and iPad.

I aspire to tell the story of a lifetime
Woburn, MA
reply to adamtech78
Everyone likes to harp on apple, however it seems those people are just stuck in the past. The fact is that the administration shouldn't be as complicated as it once was and for advanced features big corporations need apple has gone out and made integration with other systems work even better. The idea is to keep it simple not complicated and apple would rather focus on creating a great hardware product for the end user and client and allow others to excel with solutions that work with mac.
Edrick Smith
Independent Film & Broadcast Producer