| Cult of Mac

Mountain Lion Server May Look Limited, But It Still Has Enterprise Bones [Feature]


Appearances can be deceiving. Mountain Lion Server still has solid enterprise capabilities.
Appearances can be deceiving. Mountain Lion Server still has solid enterprise capabilities.

Apple has released two documents about Mountain Lion Server ahead of this month’s Mountain Lion (and Mountain Lion Server) launch. The first, a 25 page product guide, offered a some insights into the changes and new features that Apple wants to highlight for customers. The second is Apple’s Advanced Administration guide, an in-depth document that would be nearly 400 pages is it were printed or packaged as a PDF. This guide is the full documentation for Mountain Lion Server and it offers a lot of information about all the changes that Apple has made since Lion Server shipped last summer.

On the surface, these two guides are enough to make longtime OS X Server administrators nervous at Apple’s removal of the advanced admin tools and features that have been in nearly every previous OS X Server release. It’s very easy to look at the contents of the Advanced Administration guide and assume Apple is completing the consumerization of its server platform.

Digging a bit deeper, however, reveals that Apple may actually have a winning strategy in the way that it continues to integrate iOS and Mac management into a single workflow and that not all of the capabilities from previous iterations of OS X Server have been scrapped.

New Guide To Mountain Lion Server Confirms Apple Is Cutting Enterprise Tools And Features


Mountain Lion Server guide confirms that Apple has cut many advanced tools and features from previous releases.
Advanced Admin Guide for Mountain Lion Server confirms Server Admin & Workgroup Manager aren't included.

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.

Microsoft Makes Mountain Lion Server Very Attractive By Gouging Small Businesses With Windows Server 2012 Licensing


Microsoft's small business server will go up against Mountain Lion Server at 10X the cost and with artificial limits on it.
Microsoft's small business server will go up against Mountain Lion Server at 10X the cost and with artificial limits on it.

Now that Microsoft has unveiled the pricing and licensing models for Windows Server 2012, it’s easy to see why Apple’s focus on the small business market has been a genius move. Apple has been positioning its server platform as a small business solution for a while and Mountain Lion Server is the premier example of this focus.

Mountain Lion Server provides all the core needs for a small or mid-size firm – file sharing, email and messaging, shared contacts and calendars, and collaborative tools – for both Mac and Windows users. It also provides Mac deployment and update services as well as Mac and iOS device management capabilities. All of that is insanely affordable at just $31.98 ($19.99 to buy Mountain Lion, if needed, and then $19.99 for Mountain Lion Server).

By contrast, Microsoft’s so-called streamlining licensing for Windows Server 2012 lists a Windows Server Essentials Edition, which is the new equivalent of Windows Small Business Server, as starting at $425 with serious limitations.

Mountain Lion Server Preview – It’s All About Small Business [Feature]


Server app is Apple's current approach to OS Server Installs
Server app is now Apple's primary OS X Server interface

Apple’s 2007 launch of Leopard Server was the beginning of a new business strategy for the company. Leopard Server included a number of new features – shared calendaring with iCal Server, Apple’s wiki-based collaborative tools, and streamlined Podcast creation and hosting through Podcast Producer were some of the highlights. The biggest new feature, however, was the introduction of a simplified setup assistant and Server Preferences – a utility designed to look and feel similar to System Preferences that enabled easy management of key server features for smaller organizations with limited technical knowledge or resources.

Fast forward nearly five years to today and you can see the focus that Apple introduced in Leopard Server has become the core of Mountain Lion Server. You can also see that many features that used to be OS X Server staples are gone (or at least are being handed their hats and coats). What remains is a very inexpensive but still relatively powerful server OS with a focus on easy setup and management as well as collaboration.

Sonnet Turns The Mac mini Into A True Xserve Replacement


Is this the Xserve replacement Mac IT pros have been hoping for?
Is this the Xserve replacement Mac IT pros have been hoping for?

Apple’s decision to cancel the Xserve unleashed a range of questions and concerns from Mac IT professionals. The Xserve was the best Mac server option that Apple had ever created and its 1U rackmount design was a perfect fit for any server closet or data center. The Xserve delivered a tremendous amount of power and flexibility including fibre channel connectivity – a key feature for managing Apple’s Xsan storage system.

Apple positioned the Mac Pro and Mac mini Server as alternate server machines, neither of which deliver the same combination of power, expansion flexibility, and standard network rackmount options as the Xserve.

Despite complaints from enterprise customers about the demise of the Xserve, it’s a forgone conclusion at this point that Apple will never revive it. Mac upgrade and peripheral maker Sonnet Technologies, however,  may just have created a true Xserve replacement.

Dell Tries To Remake Itself As An IT Vendor While Its PC Business Gets Clobbered By Apple



Dell attempted today to rebrand itself as an end-to-end enterprise IT vendor amid slowing consumer PC sales. The company appears to be following in the footsteps of IBM, which sold its PC business to Lenovo, and HP, which came close to selling off its personal systems division last summer.

Dell won’t be getting out of the PC business completely, at least not yet. The company will continue to produce its XPS line of computers, which it cites as a success. It will, however, move away from less profitable markets including PC peripherals.

iPhone And iPad Usher In New Era Of Remote Server Management



Remote server management has long since been a way of life for IT professionals. While there are many tools that allow systems administrators to perform the majority of their job functions remotely, those tools are typically run on an administration PC – an approach that is effective but not always convenient. Today, HP announced that it planning to make the life of sysadmins a bit easier by shipping mobile server management tools for its Gen8 server line that can run on iOS and Android.

The new tools will provide monitoring and overall server health dashboard functionality. More importantly, they will offer systems administrators login, management, and even shut down capabilities. For organizations centered around HP’s server lineup, this will allow significantly more remote troubleshooting and problem resolution options.

Apple Supplier Foxconn Got Hacked For The Lulz



As if Foxconn didn’t have enough to worry about with the protests today and labor conditions controversies of the past few weeks, it looks like their network servers suffered a huge security breach last night by a mischievous hacker group called SwaggSec that exposed the usernames and passwords of Foxconn’s clients and employees. What motivated the group to expose Foxconn’s vulnerabilities? Were they looking to make a statement on labor conditions?

Nah, they just wanted to screw with Foxconn for laughs.

Set Up Gmail The Right Way And Have New Mail Pushed To Your iPhone [iOS Tip]



Apple makes it incredibly easy for you to set up a Gmail account on your iPhone — you simply hit the Gmail button when setting up a new account and enter your login details. But with just a little bit more effort, you can enjoy a much better Gmail experience — one that pushes new emails straight to your device as they come in.

Here’s how to set up Gmail the right way on your iPhone.

Who Needs iTV? Siri-Controlled Televisions Are Already Here [Video]



We’ve been anticipating Apple’s revolutionary new television set, dubbed the “iTV,” since Steve Jobs revealed he had “finally cracked” the TV to his biographer, Walter Isaacson. What we’re most excited about is its rumored Siri integration, but you don’t need to wait until Apple’s set is launched to get a Siri-controlled TV — it’s already here.