Apple has published a surprisingly frank Xserve obituary:

Since its introduction in the fall of 2009, Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server has become Apple’s most popular server system.

People have been using Mac mini as a server since the original was released. There was a time when Apple might have shunned this sort of “unintended” use, but they straight up embraced it last year with the release of Snow Leopard. I’d be very interested to see how many Mac mini sales are actually server bundles. Great opportunity to recall Microsoft’s famous Mac mini test wall.

Apple’s never been in the big-iron commercial server business, but Xserve racks are not uncommon in higher ed research labs. Apple must be confident that those customers won’t be deterred by the Mac Pro form factor (or the mini’s performance).

The move is a testament to Apple’s constant reinvention, even at the height of its success. Forget last month’s earnings call; trim the fat.

(Matt Gemmell)

http://images.apple.com/xserve/pdf/L422277A_Xserve_Guide.pdf