Mountain Lion drops support for xserve 2008

kworq's picture

I was in the middle of acquiring components to use in a new xsan build. 2 of which are 2x 3.0Ghz xserve (2008) for MDC. But there are unconfirmed list of dropped computers in Mountain lion and they are on the list. I dont think I would build a production xsan with the brand new os/xsan 3 but if there is never the option too upgrade show I look at getting newer MDC? I looked at the mac mini but its geek bench score was lower then the 8 core 2008 xserve.

jtownsend's picture

Looks like Xserve 2008 is not supported, only 2009 is listed here:

matx's picture

Use Mac Mini Server with 10.8 for your MDC controllers and then you can have 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 clients. That's what I did for a SAN I just upgraded from Xsan 1 and Xserve G5s. Upgraded what I could to 10.8, what I couldn't to 10.7 and what was to important to change at 10.6. All on the new XSAN3.

xsanguy's picture

Mac Minis can only support 8GB RAM and thus 4 volumes :(

I miss the xServe

mattriley's picture

I have two 2008 Xserves currently running Mountain Lion being used as MDCs for Xsan. It is possible to run ML on them - and it is not difficult to do.

I went the easiest route possible and bought supported GPUs for them. The only thing preventing ML from running on these machines is lack of GPU support (the built-in mezzanine display card isn't officially supported in ML) and a stupid little plist check by the installer/system at boot time.

That's perhaps the worst part about this: These machines are still very capable and perform well under ML. If Apple would just be straight-up about it and support them just by saying, "go get a cheap new graphics card and then you're good" then that would take care of a lot of perceived ill will toward the pro community.

I like Mac Minis and all, but I like redundant PSUs, hot-swap drives and real server hardware a lot more. So, I decided to get more life out of two PERFECTLY FUNCTIONAL 2008 Xserves rather than scrap them and deal with Minis for MDCs when upgrading to Xsan 3.


More details:

The GPU upgrade I went with was to find a couple of used nvidia GT 120 cards on ebay - about $100 each (one for each MDC Xserve). I removed the mezzanine card from each Xserve, popped-in the GT120 and booted up. I was running Xsan 2/10.6.8 at the time and the card worked without a complaint or extra driver installation. There are people reporting that you can grab a kext from a 10.7 installation and throw it in 10.8 and get the mezzanine graphics to work but I decided to not mess with the stability of my MDCs in that way and spend the money on supported graphics cards instead.

To get 10.8.3 installed (current at the time) I used a ML supported Mac Pro to do the install onto a clean FireWire drive. Then, to get around a stupid plist check at boot time, I modified the following file to allow the Xserve to boot the ML system:


I had to add the board ID of my Xserve model to this file, which was this line for me (use "ioreg -lp IOService | grep board-id:" to find yours).


With that line in the plist file, the Xserve happily booted ML. I then proceeded to apply all the updates (and download the Server package from the App Store) to the Xserve. Of note: It seems that after a point-update to OS X, Apple rewrites that plist file, removing the board ID I added. So, upgrading from 10.8.1 to 10.8.3 left me with a broken/unbootable system on the Xserve. Booting up from an alternate partition with 10.6.8 on it, editing the plist file again to add the board ID fixed it. A bit of cat and mouse there to watch out for when applying updates.

Anyway, the MDCs have been nothing but stable for me since the upgrade and that was in April. I jumped directly from 10.6 to 10.8 on my MDCs and didn't have any problems and the SAN had zero downtime during all of this. Originally, my MDCs were running 10.5.8 so I decided to upgrade to 10.6.8 first to be a little safer (there were changes to Xsan 2 under 10.5.8 vs. 10.6.8 even if Xsan was at the same version number, so I read somewhere that upgrading to 10.6.8 first was probably a Good ThingĀ®).<