Strange days, on the one hand you see Apple discontinue its main enterprise product (the Xserve) in the same week as we see the company's enterprise credentials climb a notch or two, and we also learn the company's looking to mobile payment solutions in order to bring people without credit cards inside its future iWallet economy.
Today's the day we heard the news -- Apple is discontinuing the Xserve, the best little 1u Apple server in the business.
Never fear -- Apple continues to sell the Mac Pro and Mac mini, both of which run as moderately capable servers, according to Apple's very own tech note.
You can buy Xserves for a few more weeks, but after that you'll be looking around for ways to rack your Mac Pro up inside the data center.
On the rack
This could be a little challenging, but in the spirit of public service and information sharing, I've done a little research to find any Mac-loving server admins out there some places to start as they try to integrate those future Mac Pro servers into their racks.
You might want to take a look at solutions from Sound Construction and Supply, who offer a sliding tray for your Mac Pro (or G5 Power Mac, if you use one of those). This ventilated tray fits inside the company's own IsoBox system.
Sound Construction and Supply also offer the MPR Racks, standard racks with space for the Mac Pro and up to 6u of other rackable items.
Another company, ActivateThe Space, offer the Cadlock Mac Pro rackmount kit. This is a nice and rigid frame which fits to the Mac and lets it fit snugly into 12u of space. You can also adjust the rails to fit different depths of rack.
Redco offers another solution, the Mac G5 Vertical Rackmount Frame. This 12u rack allows one or two G5 (or Mac Pro) chassis to be rack-mounted in an upright position.
An eBay search yields us Buyaudiogear, who offer a Mac Pro Rackmount modification. This isn't the low cost option you might expect, but the company will machine fit the rack to the Mac "as well as removal/re-installation of all internal components and thermal re-calibration of the processors if necessary".
This week news broke claiming Apple's in conversation with mobile payments provider, BOKU. Google is also talking to the firm as the two tech titans head toward another AdMob-style bidding showdown (some suspect).
Why the interest? Well, we know BOKU has a good business in virtual good sales inside environments like World of Warcraft and Facebook. It lets people buy virtual goods using their cellphone, charging the costs via the cellphone bill. That's nice.
ABI Research analyst Mark Beccue believes Apple and Google are both chasing BOKU because they want to enable people without credit cards to make purchases from them.
This is important, after all, in many countries young people under 21-years old don't have credit cards. People this age are also hugely active media consumers.
"Today, iTunes accounts must be associated with a credit card. And while Apple has more than 160 million cards on file, Apple is still missing a huge addressable market of individuals who don't have a credit card or bank account," writes Beccue.
That makes some sense to me. At present such iTunes users must use gift cards or iTunes credit donated by adults.
I'd like to add that payment systems like this will become evenmore important in future smartphones when you might be able to buy goods from your local grocery store using an iPhone.
After all, if iPhone is to be an iWallet, why should people without credit cards be unable to take the ride? BOKU's system could help here. Why is Google interested? To make its Android app store a little less unwieldy.