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Rollout: Mac OS X Server 10.5 (Leopard)

If you don't belong to the cult of Mac, you might ignore the release of Apple's new OS X Server 10.5, codenamed Leopard. That would be a shame, particularly for small and midsize enterprises, including those with mixed Apple and Windows clients, or even all-Microsoft shops.

Stop snickering. Apple produces a pretty decent server operating system and server hardware. We chased Leopard around our Real-World lab and came away pleased on most fronts.
This new server OS is ready for work. The e-mail platform connects to Active Directory and bundles AV and anti-spam software without pesky client access licenses. A spiffed-up calendar application can serve as a group scheduler. VPN services can host 500 users per Intel Xserve. In a first for Apple, IP failover provides high availability, and TimeMachine enables easily deployed server-based client backup. Leopard Server can even mimic an NT domain controller.

The Upshot

Apple positions its new Leopard server OS as a viable option for small and midsize enterprises. It sports a beefed-up mail server, offers integration with Active Directory and provides Web hosting. As expected, it's also a slick platform for serving multimedia content.
Excepting Mac-only shops or departments, Apple long ago ceded the server market to Windows and Linux. With Leopard it aims to reclaim some ground by offering a stable, easy-to-deploy server platform at an attractive price.
Apple makes a strong case for getting on the shortlist for new server deployments, even in mixed-client environments. It's as simple to set up as advertised—assuming a one-server deployment. More complex setups will likely force administrators to seek help from the Apple community. They won't find it in existing documentation.

Mac OS X Server 10.5

Everyone knows Mac is great for creating multimedia. Leopard maintains that reputation, and also makes it easier to distribute content online, including audio, video and photos.

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