Just noticed this on Apple's website. With the Xserve dead, it makes perfect sense.
Hmm cant decide if thats good or bad....
I think this is great.
Hmmmm, do I upgrade our macs/server in the summer or not. Thanks for posthing this!
to be honest, i have no problems with Apple ditching xserve and rolling os x server services into Lion, but i would like them to come out with a mac mini server that had dual gigE ports.
They will still need to manufacture decent server grade hardware to run it off though!
File Sharing for iPad looks really interesting and finally answers the question that so many have when using the devices with multiple users!
Looking at the screen shots it does seem to be part of the standard OS which will be interesting.
When Thunderbolt reaches other Macs, such as the Mac mini server, you could use an adapter to utilise the port for ethernet giving you two Gb ethernet ports.
Now that Apple have adopted ThunderBolt (Light Peak), it's entirely possible for an enterprising third-party manufacturer to come up with a device for the Mac mini which provides most of the missing features required to turn it into a "proper" server. Something like the MiniStack from NewerTech (but similar in height to HPs Proliant MicroServer) or the 1U RackMac mini from Sonnet which sat below your Mac mini(s) and provided hot-swappable RAID protected storage, IPMI remote management, dual gigabit ethernet (as jwpercival mentioned), a couple of PCI Express slots etc. That would be pretty cool. :)
If they get that right it is going to be disruptive.
Imagine Joe User with point and click home 'cloud' server. Couple that with Virgin Media XXL or BT Infinity, and why do you need mobileme or dropbox? With an iphone/3giPad you eliminate the need for live or google apps...
Now imagine that on your LAN. If Apple get it right, and the end user makes use of TimeMachine, that's almost the SA part of our jobs gone. Interesting times.
I think I prefer this direction to the one mapped by Google and Microsoft. My Data, My Server, My Device. Apple as the SA.
From what I've read Thunderbolt is basically PCI-Express through the DisplayPort connector. AS jwp and Authur say - huge potential for third parties there, assuming that they don't need to write kext drivers.
And on the lack of server grade hardware... if some type 1 hypervisors start supporting lightpeak, then a gaggle of cheap non redundant consumer grade boxes could easily match the overall service reliability of fully redundant server grade hardware at a fraction of the price.
The mac pro server is still a toytown server. It's better specced than the macmini server but it's still not really that good.
<rant>If I'm going to give up acres of rack space to something then its going to have to do a little better than no redundant power supplies and only 4 disks. They can call it a server all day and all night if they like but it still doesn't stack up to proper server hardware on many levels. </rant>
I'm really quite pessimistic about the future of apple machines in business/educational networking given the idiotic decisions apple have been making lately. It remains to be seen if this new direction for Lion server is an amazing innovation or part of a goodbye to the datacentre on apple's part.
It would be much better if they just let us run OSX on any Intel server hardware either as a virtual or physical server.
The servers from HP and others are considerably better than the ones from Apple. Cheaper, more reliable and higher quality. The Mac Mini Server is pretty pants. There is very little cooling or ventilation on them. Apple seem to be getting worse at cooling their Macs down, as well as sealing them up so its hard to repair them.