macOS Server discontinued after years on life support

It's not like Apple was a player in the market since the demise of Xserve

Apple is finally killing off the venerable macOS Server, directing users still clinging to Profile Manager toward Mobile Device Management solutions.

The move is arguably long overdue. Much of what made macOS Server a server was deprecated in 2018 as the company announced plans to stop the likes of DHCP and DNS in its product and directed users to handy open-source alternatives.

Apple Open Directory and Profile Manager lingered on, with the latter being used for configuration management for Apple devices in an organization. Now, however, that last stub of functionality is deemed obsolete and Apple has warned that while many bits of macOS Server will live on macOS, Profile Manager will not. So the time for dodging Mobile Device Management (MDM) is up.

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If you really want to, you can still continue to download and use the app with macOS Monterey.

Apple signaled its lack of interest in the server business in 2010 as the company ditched its Xserve family of rack servers. Still, it wasn't the end of the world. You could instead pick up a Mac Mini installed with macOS Server. While not quite as capable as the rack-based product, it did the job and was relatively full-featured. Up until Apple started shunting its toys into macOS and axing those it didn't like.

It was supposed to be so different. Up until version 10.7 (Lion), Mac OS X Server was a standalone product, starting out life in the wake of Apple's NeXT purchase. From Mac OS X Lion, the server component became an add-on to macOS and distributed via the App Store. Its price was slashed from $499 down to $49 before tumbling further while Apple sliced away at its features. Thereon the app received little more attention than the odd compatibility update before its parent threw in the towel.

For all its exotic and expensive hardware, Apple has not been a major player in the server space for some time (the company admitted as much a decade ago with the demise of Xserve).

On the other hand, there are plenty of open-source products that, coupled with what is present in the desktop and a bit of MDM magic, will do everything macOS Server did and more. However, for the sheer convenience of having all the tools in one place, coupled with a keen price, macOS Server will be missed. ®

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