Goodbye to Apple Server (macOS Server)

There have been mixed feelings with Apple operating systems and hardware. When Apple wished to become a serious business player, it would play up its server offerings. Once Steve Jobs made Apple focus on users with iPhones and Macs, its server lines fell out of sight. Currently, Apple is finally giving up on servers.

Well, Apple didn’t admit that. Instead, the message was evident in a support note, tagged “Prepare for changes to macOS Server,” Apple announced: “macOS Server is changing to concentrate more on the management of PCs, devices, and storage on your network. Hence, changes are coming in how servers work.

Apple then presents you with a list of deprecated services. A regular user won’t have an idea about what disposing of these will mean. A system admin will instantly know that Apple is ripping the guts out of macOS Server at a glance. 

First, Apple is removing its calendar, contact, instant messaging, and email servers. So, you can forget about Apple-supported internal communications.

That doesn’t mean Profile Manager is history, however, since it sets up user accounts for mail, contacts, messages, and calendar — and those services are getting kicked off– its performance will, at the least, be far more limited.

Talking on a more fundamental server level, Apple is also removing its Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name Services (DNS) services. Running a business network without these might seem impossible.

If you’ve been booting systems with Apple NetBoot for security reasons, you can kiss that goodbye. Although you could restore remote booting yourself with BSDPy or NetSUS, it’s a great deal of work compared to when you used to on macOS Server.

Do your remote employees log in to your servers by using a virtual private network (VPN)? I’m sorry about that, but you’ll need a new VPN Server.

Furthermore, have you been using the macOS Server to run your webserver? How about a wiki? How about a wiki? Well, you can kiss that goodbye because Apple won’t help you any more with these.

APPLE SERVER
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Regarding Time Machine Server, Caching Server, and File Sharing advanced options, they were moved into ordinary macOS — with the appearance of macOS High Sierra in September 2017. Also, the XCode integrated developer environment (IDE) Server got rolled into macOS’s XCode.

All the services mentioned above are still available for you to use in the forthcoming spring 2018 macOS Server update. But they won’t be available in a future release of macOS Server. Don’t worry as there is a solution to all this. Apple advised you to install and use replacement programs.

I’ve taken the time to go through some of the software Apple suggested, and most of them are excellent recommendations. For example, DNSMasq is an excellent caching DNS server. But, Apple claims that the macOS Server is “so easy to use, no need for an IT department.” If you’re relying upon macOS Server to maintain your business, later on, you’re going to require an accomplished full-time sysadmin.

The only thing remaining is Xsan, which enables Macs to access Xsan or StorNext storage volumes over Fibre Channel or Ethernet.

I wasn’t surprised when I received the news. After all, Apple ditched its server hardware, the Xserve, in 2010. The only surprising thing is that the macOS Server has lasted longer than I expected. 

For years now, there have been arguments about Apple becoming an enterprise powerhouse. Arguments like macOS Server, are, for all practical purposes, are dead at this point. 

Yes, so many businesses use iPhones and Macs, but they’re edge devices. At the essential part of the enterprise — servers and clouds –, Apple doesn’t exist. Stick a fork in macOS Server. It’s done.

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