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Fiber optic connectivity for Xserve and G4 Desktop

Hands up who could imagine a few months ago that Apple could so seriously enter, not without technological impetuosity, in the market for high-power rack servers.

Today the renewed range of Mac servers (already, now Xserve the only official Apple server after the disappearance of the PowerMacs in this configuration), in addition to announcing the availability of the long-awaited RAID by the end of March, worthily incorporates all the best existing on the market.

Leaving aside innovations such as FireWire 800 and the confirmed choice of ultra-powerful Ultra ATA disks instead of SCSI, let's examine the absolute novelty of these Apple Xserve, the fiber optic connection: Adaptec cards and other third parties have been able to perform for some time the connection but in this case Apple directly sells a device with its brand.

It is in fact possible to order a PCI card which, added to the Xserve, the Xserve RAID or even the PowerMac G4 (with a G4 processor of no less than 800 MHz), provides a dual channel 2 Gb interface (200 MB per second each channel for a total of 400 MB per second) to connect the HSS-DC2 ports (accept flexible copper or thin optical fiber cables) present in the cards.

Contrary to SCSI connections, those of this type can be configured as: point-to-point (direct connection between computer and disk), loops (multiple servers and a single storage) and in switches (similar to Ethernet infrastructure, the most flexible ).

A special 2.7 meter copper cable (or 2.9 meters reading in other Apple pages) is also provided which can be extended with other cables up to a maximum length of half a km (for metropolitan or wide-ranging networks) thanks to adapters called SFF – Small Form Factor pluggable (now widespread at the major IT professional brands).

On the AppleStore USA the card can already be purchased separately at a cost of $ 500 plus taxes while on the Italian AppleStore a built-to-order option of the new machines with a surcharge of 660 euros including VAT.

Once this interface is installed, the computer takes the class A qualification in the classifications of the FCC – US Federal Communications Commission.

The Apple Fiber Channel PCI card works with Mac OS 10.2.4 in client and server versions (the update of the operating system from "Software Update" is suggested but at the moment, obviously, not yet available).