April 21, 2004

Apple is Going Corporate

Apple's recent product entries have pretty much let the cat out of the bag for even the most unobservant that Apple does, in fact, have a business strategy. It's one that they've been executing quite well for some time now. They're trying to get into the server room and the network infrastructure business. Why else would they revise their WiFi base station so you can legally put it in the space above a drop ceiling while not having to plug it into a wall socket for power? They're also releasing software and hardware that undercuts traditional application price points by huge margins in certain vertical markets. Avid is losing huge amounts of business to Final Cut Pro for example.

And now Apple's server hardware line, already impressive with its 1U rackmounted Xserve and Xraid disk array solutions are complemented by the new Xsan Storage Area Network software that Apple just announced.

It looks like the Safari experience was not a fluke. Safari, Apple's browser, uses KHTML, a well respected HTML rendering library published by the KDE group intended as part of their Konqueror browser. The various available browser engines were tested and KHTML came out as best.

Xsan is 100% compatible with (and probably borrows the guts from) ADIC's StorNext File System. This means that anybody who is comfortable with the ADIC solution has to seriously consider Apple's hardware. Because Apple's RAID solution is much cheaper than its competitors, it's reasonable that its going to start cranking out a good deal of demonstration units to test Xsan this winter and start making serious sales come 2005. There are no additional licensing costs beyond the $999 software cost per controller server. And the price savings are sufficiently eye opening that nobody can afford to ignore this entry into the field. Apple's total solutions cost for a SAN is around $30k while similar capacity and performance systems run $150k-$200k. That's aggressive pricing by anybody's standards.

Posted by TMLutas at April 21, 2004 02:37 AM