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Why IT Won't Like Mac OS X Lion Server 341

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's John Rizzo sees Mac OS X Lion Server as a downgrade that may prompt a move to Windows Server. 'Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Server adds innovative features and a new low price tag, but cuts in services and the elimination of advanced GUI administration tools may force some enterprise departments to think twice about the role of Mac servers on their networks,' Rizzo writes. 'Looking more deeply inside Lion Server, it's impossible to avoid the conclusion that Lion Server is not built for those of us in IT. The $50 price tag — down from $500 — is the first clue that Lion Server trying to be a server for the consumer. But the ironic part for IT administrators is that Lion Server actually requires a greater degree of technical knowledge than its predecessors.'"
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Why IT Won't Like Mac OS X Lion Server

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  • mac /= server (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alphatel ( 1450715 ) * on Monday July 25, 2011 @01:10PM (#36872690)
    No doubt Apple is backing its new iCloud platform as the way for everyone to share - and damn the so-called hardware Server market. This is the only operating system not natively supported in most virtual machines. IDC [idc.com] doesn't even include Apple in market share reports anymore, and they've clearly de-leveraged [techrights.org] their investment over the past few years as opposed to their commitment to growing xServe in 2002 [macobserver.com]

    All that aside, I had a client who insisted on moving to OSX Server in 2003 to manage his email. FIle sharing was fine, even over a massive fiber/iscsi San config. But it didn't take long for his users to force a switch to an exchange hosted environment. The features just weren't there and the support or the tech resources to make corrections were far too time-consuming.
  • by DarkVader ( 121278 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @01:13PM (#36872742)

    I've played with it for a few days now, and I absolutely agree. I'm not planning on upgrading any of my customers at this point, and I'm considering my options for replacements in environments where I can't maintain Snow Leopard Server indefinitely. I think it's likely to be relegated to calendar server duty, and I'm going to move mail, web, and FTP to some variety of Linux.

    I'm really not happy with Apple about Lion - it just doesn't feel like an upgrade to me, and server is even worse. I don't like seeing the best operating system there is backsliding like this.

  • by macshome ( 818789 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @01:19PM (#36872842) Homepage
    Mac OS X Server before it, and now OS X Lion Server aren't intended for enterprise IT, and haven't been for a while. Apple has been working the word enterprise out of the marketing pages for a while now.

    Indeed, the current blurb says this on apple.com: "OS X Lion Server gives you everything you need to provide workgroup and Internet services.".

    For workgroup and SMB sized applications it's pretty nice, but a bit of a quandary when you hit the big leagues.

    I put all my thoughts on it in my review on AFP548.com: http://www.afp548.com/article.php?story=lion-server-review [afp548.com]

    The real place in enterprise for the Mac has been in on the client side for quite some time now.
  • Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Srsen ( 413456 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @01:28PM (#36872972)
    With the elimination of the XServe and now the simplifying of Lion Server, it's clear that Apple has decided to choose a different vector for their server business. To me it seems they are now focused on the SOHO market where the users administer the network and there is no IT department (obviously another reason why IT professionals REALLY do not like Lion Server). This is a very Apple thing to do: turn something complicated into something almost anyone can do. I would not be surprised if they ended up making more money with this approach than they did with the XServe approach - this way has a significantly broader base.

    I would never have considered using OS X Server at home before but I an now thinking about using my current Mini for a home server after I upgrade to a new machine because it now seems doable and worthwhile to me.
  • by DarkVader ( 121278 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @01:28PM (#36872976)

    Know how I know you didn't RTFA?

    The article is not bunk, and the author mentions the admin tools. He also points out that a good chunk of the functionality of those tools have been ripped out, you're limited to the Server app or command line for quite a few things.

  • Elimination? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by smcdow ( 114828 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @01:33PM (#36873066) Homepage

    ... the elimination of advanced GUI administration tools...

    Incorrect. Lion does indeed include the most awesome GUI administration tool in existence.

    It's called Terminal.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @01:52PM (#36873328)

    I have not heard any reason why a currently working installation of OS X would suddenly stop working altogether just because the owner did not upgrade. Windows people have seen this before; there are plenty of people still running Windows XP even though two newer version of the same have been released since.

    Apple doesn't seem to announce end-of-support dates for their operating systems (at least they don't make it easy to find), but many IT departments aren't allowed to run unsupported software because they have a regulatory requirement to keep the software up to date with security patches.

    So sure, Keeping Leopard or Snow Leopard is a short-term fix, but they are only going to be a viable solution for as long as Apple continues supporting them.

  • by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @02:55PM (#36874080) Homepage
    Actually, I don't know why you'd want to use the admin tools anyway for app configuration, service monitoring and the like. They've always been terrible tools, mainly in that they are very inflexible, unless you're doing vanilla admin work. Anything unusual and you're back to the app config files anyway. And since the Apple-supplied versions of the server apps are open source, but generally out of date, you're usually better off with Mac Ports and command line based administration. The exception is generally user permissions through the directory, where most of the time it's easier to use the GUI. But for the services side of things, I wouldn't bother with Apple's tools.
  • by rwade ( 131726 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @04:23PM (#36875242)

    Earlier in the year, Apple released a new version of it's popular professional video editing software, Final Cut Pro X [apple.com]. There was much belly aching [slashdot.org] by the user community and in the media about missing features. Indeed, the comments from professional users are eerily similar to those comments of IT admins about Lion Server -- basically that it's being dumbed down for the consumer market.

    Just a few weeks ago, Apple updated the FAQ [cnet.com] for this software, with CNet quoting the following:

    "Final Cut Pro X is a breakthrough in nonlinear video editing. The application has impressed many pro editors, and it has also generated a lot of discussion in the pro video community," the FAQ reads. "We know people have questions about the new features in Final Cut Pro X and how it compares with previous versions of Final Cut Pro. Here are the answers to the most common questions we've heard."

    In the FAQ, which details specifics about importing, editing, media management, export and purchase, Apple's tried to make one thing clear: some of the missing features will return with future software updates.

    Indeed, Apple may be as inclined due to this backlash to reverse itself with OSX Lion as it was with Final Cut Pro. It's entirely reasonable to project that missing server features may make their return to the Sever Admin panel or as stand-alone add-ons.

    After all, I doubt that Apple is trying to get rid of the userbase of corporate departments that use OSX Server and technologies like the group print spooler and the Quicktime streaming server are already developed, coded, and released -- so why not roll them back in?

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson