Bringing the Xserve up to Speed
Walking into the data center with the Xserve felt like coming home. I always enjoy walking among servers. There is something comforting about the blanket of white noise. The air-conditioning blowing, all the servers whirring and blinking, I love it!
Getting the Xserve deployed was pretty much a snap. The old telco racks were really easy to get the server into, and with the included hardware, it took all of about five minutes to get it installed. There was some bumbling around the IP addresses that made what should have been a 30 minute affair turn into a three hour one, but that was allright, I enjoyed it.
One thing I noticed though was that I should have plugged the Xserve in first before configuring it. It would have made things much easier, however it would have been more difficult to figure out how to get it into target disk mode, and it would have been tougher to get ColdFusion and all the other software installed. It isn't like they have couches interspersed among the 1U racks. Because of the nature of my installation, configuring it at home was the better option, still I would recommend that you have a static IP address, and set the Xserve up as a DMZ. All in all, everything is working. The open source package that Apple bundles with the Xserve is brilliant, their PHP based webmail works very well, their bind interface is excellent, and the performance of the Xserve has been, while not mind blowing, very decent, but we'll still have to see if it performs as well under load.
When I was in the data center, I was suprised to see that probably 30 – 40 percent of the installed servers were Xserves. I guess that I am not the only one who wants to get the thing installed, set up, and get on with my work. The ability to connect using AFP over IP is also very nice, if only all my client's customers were using Macs! I still have had the hardest time getting FTP working. It shouldn't be that tough. I can hit the server, but the logs say access denied, although I am absolutely an authorized user as admin. Oh well, I guess it'll be another couple of days working on FTP, but I'll get it going soon.