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Apple Rolls Out Server OS Upgrade

Along with its new "Tiger" client operating system, Apple on Friday plans to ship Mac OS X Server 10.4, a major upgrade of its Unix-based server platform.

Tiger Server--which can be used to deploy Macintosh, Windows and Linux clients--brings more than 200 new features, including native support for 64-bit applications for high-performance computing; iChat Server, for deploying secure instant-messaging within an organization; and Weblog Server, for publishing and sharing Web logs. It also includes Apple's Xgrid distributed computing software, which the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said can turn a group of Macs into a virtual supercomputer.

Apple released preview versions of the Tiger server and client last June at its Worldwide Developer Conference, and several solution providers that tried the server preview said they liked what they saw in terms of new features, enhancements and under-the-hood performance.

"The file-sharing performance is supposed to be two-and-a-half times faster than previous versions, so that will be a big plus," said Aaron Freimark, IT director at TekServe, a New York-based Apple specialist.

Other new features in Tiger Server include support for access-control lists and native file permissions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Active Directory environments; Software Update Server, which lets administrators host their own proxy/cache server for Apple software updates; and adaptive junk mail filtering with virus detection and quarantine. There's also the Gateway Setup Assistant, designed to make it easier for small businesses and home offices to set up network services such as DHCP, NAT, DNS, port routing, firewall and VPN.

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