macOS Server Changes Coming Soon To A Server Near You

Many of the people that read my articles undoubtedly arleady know this, but Apple has announced a sharp reduction in the number of services provided. Per this article, the Calendar, Contacts, DHCP, DNS, Mail, Messages, NetInstall, VPN, Websites, and Wiki services are being deprecated and Apple has provided a few services, per service, that they recommend moving to. Those services, per the above article, include the following:











I’ve been saying many of these services/features should go away in macOS Server so the developers could focus on providing an excellent experience and solid QA/unit testing for the services/features that remain. The fact that apps are being swiftified is great, as it speaks volumes to the future of the services themselves. The fact that Apple is reducing the number of licenses they’re tracking and the mistake they’re allowing customers to make is also great.

Having said that, every time I think that a service should go away, I hear from someone that they rely on that service. Most of this feedback comes from consultants who have made the server a central part of their consultancy. As someone who used to plan services as products for customers in consultancies, if you find yourself in similar situations when planning where services go when Apple retires them, I would strongly recommend looking at SaaS solutions where customers can give you a login and you can help guide them into a new and better solution. At least, that’s the way I positioned most of these services in the last version of the macOS Server book…

Yes, it was great having Apple handle all of the patching and customers were able to take advantage of a lot of technology with very few resources. However, that’s just not where we are any more. And rather than argue about it or try emailing Tim Cook or make petitions or even complain, save your cycles and look for new and better replacements for each service (preferably not ones that require physical servers, provided that customers are okay with that)! 

And stay tuned. I suspect we’ll cover this on an upcoming episode of the Mac Admins Podcast! 😉

What are your thoughts? Remorse? Applause?

15 thoughts on “macOS Server Changes Coming Soon To A Server Near You”

    1. For me, NetInstal is impractical. It takes too much administration time. But I recognize that it and other services might be absolutely critical to others. Too bad Apple doesn’t care what we think.

      1. If doing a lab or something, netboot is about the only way! Once setup it just works in my experience. Seeing that the iMac Pro you can even netboot, I’m betting the other models will follow. Was just a matter of time. Xserve went away, OS X Server became free and basically an add-on, and now they are cutting it even more. I’d say not too long from now they will fully do away with server and push 3rd party MDM providers completely. I think they are very slowly combining OS X and iOS and will eventually become one at some point.

        1. Yeah, I’ve used it for lab situations and NetBoot is a huge time saver. In offices with dissimilar machines that don’t need to be re-imaged regularly, its not super helpful.

          By cutting out everything except Profile Manager, Apple’s intention is pretty clear. MacOS Server is dead to them already. I fear that Apple is planning to merge MacOS and iOS at some point.

  1. No, this is just not acceptable. There is no excuse for Apple to abuse their customers this way. Of course they have been doing it for years. It almost seems normal now to expect Apple to yank the rug from under you and your clients. We’ve been making do with underpowered Mini servers, apologizing for non-upgradable components, shrugging helplessly when apparently-healthy applications like Aperture get discontinued or FinalCut gets run over by a truck full of stupid.

    Yes, i am a consultant and yes I often utilized OS X Server to fulfill the needs of my clients. Is this just sour grapes from me? No. I have dozens of businesses and hundreds of employees relying on a local server for one reason or another.

    Now I have to tell them, again, that Apple doesn’t care about their needs and I have no explanation. Apple says you are to give your money and data to “the cloud.” Why should these customers continue to pay a premium for other Apple products when Apple treats them with such contempt?

    Some of them are already looking at switching their offices back to Windows. I can’t really discourage them. Its probably futile to petition Apple. Certainly any complaints to Tim Cook will be sent to a black hole. He’s only concerned about phone sales and dollars. But that should not stop us from expressing our displeasure for ourselves and on behalf of our clients

    1. Apple is done, they do not care about the real professional users. Get off the Apple brainwashing and switch to Linux!

  2. This is not good news for those of us who have to explain to clients and users, yet again, that Apple has pulled the rug out from under a long-established platform. Even if Apple offered a more expensive “pro” edition of Server, that would be better than us having to cobble together components that, in many cases, clients and end users will have to try to use. I have clients who already are wary of Apple. This change might push them away entirely.

    1. Server used to be $500 or $1000. It was worth paying for. Then suddenly it became a $20 toy. Low and behold, now its not worth Apple’s time to maintain it. I wish I could find out who makes these kinds of decisions there.

    2. I am leaving Apple, all they care about is ripping off the mindless home user with phones, watches and home speaker systems that listen in all day. Linux is the way forward

  3. Apple lol, from 10.13 (the terrible beta that it is) Server is not a server. No Webdavs, buggy and slower. 10.12.6 Server was the last good version. Now switched to Raspberry PI for VPN services, and Im sure it will do DHCP etc…. Apple, moving away from it, all they care about is overpriced phones, pointless watches and the walls have ears home speaker systems. PASS! Linux is the way forward

  4. so what options are there to transition from OS X Server’s Mail to something else?
    We have 140 odd email users, and being all Mac, utilizing Server’s Mail has been wonderful – it has just worked for years, and allowed us to do small things (like greatly increase attachment sizes) that make the employees lives easier.

  5. Well, it’s a little frustrating for us but we didn’t rely on too many of the services that are being deprecated.

    We’re lucky to be able to move DNS & DHCP straight on to our Synology

    However, I’m not yet sure what to do with regards to VPN

    Does anyone have any recommendations / experience of other VPN solutions? Our VPN needs are pretty low level… we just need remote users WFH to be able to connect in to the work network

    1. We shifted all services to Synology, it works perfect. I wrote TC an email and someone from Ireland phoned me 🙂

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