Lion Server

lionSo, the rumors were true.  Or they weren’t.  Or  both.

According to Apple’s website, there will, in fact, be a Lion Server.  However, it seems that it will not be sold in its own box, but rather Lion server is going to be a component of Mac OS X Lion.

Currently, there are only four paragraphs and three low-resolution screenshots available to the general public, but here’s what I’ve been able to glean.

  • There will be no separate Server OS.  Lion Server is a set of tools in Mac OS X Lion.
  • Profile Manager – A system for “profile-based setup and management for Mac OS X Lion” and iOS.  From the screenshot, it looks like Lion Server will provide iPhone Configuration Utility functionality for both iOS and Mac OS X Lion.
  • Wiki – Apple devotes one of the four paragraphs to this item.  They mention Podcasts, so this admin assumes that Podcast Producer or its replacement will be present.
  • Wireless File Sharing for iPad (via WebDAV- another paragraph is devoted to this item.  Only the iPad is specifically referenced.
  • Other services mentioned: Users and groups, Push notifications, File sharing, Calendaring, Mail, Contacts, Chat, Time Machine, VPN, Web

My questions…

  • What is a “profile” as defined by Profile Manager and what is configured and contained in/by it?
  • Is wireless file sharing for iPad truly for iPad only?  Is this an oversight in the Lion preview info, or are iPhones and iPod Touch devices left out in the cold by this feature?
  • Does “users and groups” refer to the next iteration of Open Directory?  I’d assume so, but Apple often surprises us.
  • Since Lion Server is a component of the client OS, are there any charges for it?  This seems unlikely unless Apple is changing its model.  One possibility (and pure speculation on this Admin’s part) is that the server components could be a paid download from the Mac App Store.  I doubt that Apple would introduce CALs.

To me, it makes sense that Lion Server is part of, or an add-on to, the client OS.  Mac OS X Server has always been a superset of Mac OS X.

Apple’s Mac OS X Lion page:
http://www.apple.com/macosx/lion/

A Perfect Storm For Apple

I think the world is about to experience an Apple explosion. If you’re an Apple fan or professional, you might be saying to yourself, “What, Apple isn’t already exploding by dominating the music player market, capturing 12.9% of the smartphone market (according to PC World) in under two years after entering it, and posting record sales while Microsoft announces its first-ever layoffs and almost every PC maker is losing business?” To that I say, maybe they are, but I expect the explosion to get even bigger.

I think the world is about to experience an Apple explosion.  If you’re an Apple fan or professional, you might be saying to yourself, “What, Apple isn’t already exploding by dominating the music player market, capturing 12.9% of the smartphone market (according to PC World) in under two years after entering it, and posting record sales while Microsoft announces its first-ever layoffs and almost every PC maker is losing business?”  To that I say, maybe they are, but I expect the explosion to get even bigger.

I say it’s a “perfect storm”, and frankly, I feel a little dirty using a buzzword that’s often tossed around frivolously, but I believe it applies here.  Consider the following:

  • We’re experiencing what the popular news media refers to as “the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression”.
  • Companies are looking to save money in order to survive.
  • A Mac’s total cost of ownership can be half that of a Windows PC, according to CIO Magazine.
  • Consumers and businesses have become soured on the Vista debacle.
  • With the next major iteration of Mac OS X, code named Snow Leopard, Apple is taking the time to tweak and fix their OS rather than slap on a bunch of shiny new features.  This will just widen the stability, security and ease of use divides that separate Mac OS X from Windows.
  • There is at least one shiny new feature in Snow Leopard.  Apple has announced “out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 built into Mail, Address Book, and iCal.”  This promises to be a joy for employees at organizations where Exchange is entrenched in the infrastructure who have had to put up with the inadequacies of Entourage.

Further, an ITIC/Sunbelt Software survey released in December 2008 delivers some good news for Apple in the near future.

  • 68% of the companies surveyed plan to allow their employees to use Macs as their corporate desktops.
  • Half of the respondents intend to increase adoption of iPhones and other Apple consumer products.

I think the best is yet to come for Apple and for those of us who manage and support their products for a living.

 

References:
PC World on Smart phone market share
CIO Magazine on Mac TCO
ITIC/Sunbelt Software Survey Press Release