Apple has introduced its next generation Mac OS X Server, and a new G4 Server Power Macintosh. The announcement was made during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, held in San Jose, California (May 21-25)

Mac OS X Server (from £339) is built on Apple’s next-generation desktop operating system, Mac OS X. It integrates server applications including the Apache Web server, Samba for Windows file-sharing, WebObjects 5 and QuickTime Streaming Server 3.

Apple's vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller enthused: “Mac OS X Server has the power of Unix, yet is simple and easy to install, administer and maintain. It’s Apple's most powerful server ever and can integrate with Mac, Windows and Unix networks.”

Like Mac OS X, the server-level implementation features protected memory, pre-emptive multi-tasking, symmetric multiprocessing, advanced memory management and the latest networking and security standards. A useful feature for Web administrators, OS X Server also has built-in fault tolerance systems - these automatically detect and recover from failures in system services.

Mac OS X Server requires either G3 or G4 Macintosh Server or Power Mac systems, and will also work with Apple’s G4 Cube and iMacs with at least 128MB RAM and 4GB of available disk space.

Server X pricing The ten client Mac OS X Server for Web masters and small workgroups will simultaneously share files with no more than ten Mac clients. This costs £339.57 (ex. Vat).

The unlimited Client Edition of Mac OS X Server costs £680. An upgrade from the ten-client to unlimited-client versions costs US$499 – no UK upgrade pricing was available at press time.

New hardware servers The new Power Mac G4 server is a dual-processor high-performance system. With OS X Server installed, this will share files and printers with Mac, Windows, Unix and Linux clients. It will also host Internet sites using Apache, which Apple calls “the world’s most popular Web server.”

The Macintosh Server G4 with a single 533MHz processor, 256MB RAM, 60GB hard drive and Mac OS X Server Unlimited Client Edition costs £2,099 (ex. VAT). The hardware features are otherwise identical to those of the 533MHz Power Macintosh.

The dual 533MHz processor Server G4 also offers 256MB RAM, 60GB hard drive and Mac OS X Server Unlimited Client Edition costs £2,799. This same model – except with 72GB Ultra160 SCSI hard drive, and dual-channel SCSI card – costs £3,849.

Server services Despite recent lay-offs, Apple's iServices team is offering Mac OS X Server training courses and certification programs for system administrators.

These solutions are available now at the AppleStore, at its new retail outlets and through its authorized resellers. A variety of configurations are available.