Jobs: Poor Sales Killed Xserve
Steve Jobs allegedly offered an explanation why the Xserve was discontinued: lack of demand. The French site MacGeneration
claims that they have an email from Jobs saying that "hardly anyone was buying" the rackmountable server, which hadn't received a hardware update since the middle of last year and is hasn't featured with the rest of the Mac lineup on the Apple website in months. January 31st will be the end of the line for the Xserve, though Apple will continue to provide warranty service and customer service.
Apple is pushing potential Xserve customers to a new server configuration
of the Mac Pro. Beginning at $2,999 - the same as the XServe - the base model has a 2.8 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon W3530 processor and 8GB of RAM, and is expandable to dual 2.93 gigahertz six-core Xeon 5670 "Westmere" processors and 32GB of memory. The Xserve only had the older "Nehalem"-class processors and three drive bays versus the four on the Mac Pro. However, the Xserve fit in industry-standard four-post racks and cabinets, which the Mac Pro does not. Though you can buy aftermarket brackets to rack-mount the Pro, it takes up seven times the rack space and still does not support "lights-out" management for when the server is switched off or otherwise unusable, nor other enterprise features like true redundant power supplies, SAS drives or externally accessible hard drives.
The email from a French system administrator
begged Jobs to consider spinning off a separate company to keep making the Xserve, or provide a separate license for Mac OS X so that it could be run in virtualized environments like VMWare or Microsoft's Hyper-V on standard server hardware. Jobs had no response to these suggestions. His explanation that declining sales led Apple to discontinue the Xserve does not answer the question why the product had not received a hardware refresh since April 2009, or why it was taken months ago off the Mac product line on the website and moved to a smaller "Servers" link off to the side.