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Apple edges back toward the data center

Ryan Faas | Jan. 23, 2014
The arrival of the Mac Pro could indicate a renewed push.

Xcode Server changes that in a couple of key ways. It creates a central repository for code and support for versioning of that code. This makes it much easier for project managers to get a clearer view of a development effort and makes it easier for developers working on a team to share works in progress. It also allows developers to run extensive app testing by setting up bots that run on the server rather than on individual Mac workstations. This streamlines and automates testing, and because a more powerful machine can be used, these processes can occur faster, freeing up resources on the developers' machines.

There are, of course, plenty of smaller app development companies or teams that could benefit from Xcode Server. But as enterprise apps become a more important part of enterprise mobility, it's easy to see Xcode Server as a feature designed for development teams in larger organizations.

The new Mac Pro
Apple's new Mac Pro may also signal a shift to providing more enterprise-worthy hardware. After offering what amounted to a new Mac Pro trailer at WWDC last summer, Apple finally launched the new machine in December, when demand immediately outstripped supply. Now, a month after the Mac Pro's introduction, estimated ship times are still listed at several weeks; order today and you're unlikely to see your new computer before March.

That there was pent-up demand for the new Mac Pro is not surprising. Over the past few years, Apple made no substantive changes to the old Mac Pro design or lineup other than minor bumps to basic components like the processor. Even the design of the previous Mac Pro was an iterative change from the Power Mac G5 that it replaced. Until last year, there were constant rumors and concerns that Apple might discontinue a pro-level desktop altogether, leaving just the Mac mini and iMac as desktop options.

The new Mac Pro may not be a rack-mounted system like the Xserve and it doesn't offer the internal expansion capabilities of either the Xserve or the earlier Mac Pro, but that doesn't mean that it isn't range of PCIe expansion chassis that includes desktop and rackmount options with 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 interfaces that enable a range of PCIe cards, including video capture, audio interface, 16Gb and 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, SAS and SATA HBA, and RAID controller cards.

It's worth noting that even modest Mac systems can be expanded the same way using a range of Thunderbolt expansion enclosures already on the market.

A round Mac Pro in a square hole?
Even with the Mac Pro's power, however, the device doesn't seem well-designed for the data center... unless you read this Apple knowledge base article in which Apple gives tacit approval and advice on how to safely used a Mac Pro on its side.


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