Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As far as I know you are not legally allowed to virtualise Mac OS X. Recently Amazon added Windows support to EC2 so you can now run Windows, Solaris, BSD and Linux instances in the cloud.

With Apple not allowing Mac OS X to be visualised, is Apple going to miss out of the whole cloud-computing hype?


(Maybe not entirely on topic but maybe still related.)

Apple’s purchase of Lala suggests Apple is making a huge push into cloud-computing.


It seems that Apple is on the move.


The reason I'm asking this is because there are many applications for cloud computing other than running web or database servers. For example, if I was involved in a scientific experiment and I needed to do heavy calculations, I would need a lot of computing power. Normally I would have to invest in physical hardware by either renting or buying it. But with cloud computing (e.g. Amazon EC2) I can spin up a number of servers, install my software, let it do what it needs to do and when it's done get the results and delete the servers.

I can imagine that there is specific Mac OS X software (for example, for video or 3D rendering) that would normally run on an expensive Apple hardware cluster, not accessible to the common man. With the common man not being able to have access to this, they will search for other solutions with the end result that they might leave Mac OS X behind all together. So, is Apple missing out?

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by sysadmin1138 Mar 18 '11 at 21:17

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You can legally virtualize OS X Server - on Apple hardware. – Chealion Jul 16 '09 at 23:51

Knowing Apple, I dare say they'll wait until they just can't ignore how popular cloud computing is (assuming it gets to that stage), then bring out their own cloud solution.

As far as virtualization on the whole goes, I don't think they're missing out on much because they don't target the same audiences as Windows Server and Linux/UNIX does in the cloud (business/enterprise), nor do they provide anything in their OS that might appeal to the home or small business user just looking for something generic (file storage or web serving) online.

share|improve this answer
I agree, there isn't much server software which runs on a MAC, so I don't think Apple is missing out on much. – mrdenny Jul 16 '09 at 7:35
There is lots of server software that runs on Macs - but most of it is FOSS that runs on any *nix. – Quentin Jul 28 '09 at 10:59
There is more to cloud than running web-servers. Aren't there a whole bunch of graphics related purposes for OSX? Quickly setting up a cheap virtual render farm without having to invest in that incredible expense Apple hardware could be quite valuable. – Luke Jul 28 '09 at 12:03
@Luke: ...which is precisely why Apple isn't going there. – geekosaur Mar 18 '11 at 18:44

In a word, no.

They changed their license allowing Mac OS X server to be virtualised a year and a half ago. Both VMware and Parallels do it.

That said, the Mac OS X Server license only allows virtualisation on Apple hardware so it's unlikely that it will make a big dent in cloud computing.

IMHO most of the things you would want to do on a cloud Mac OS X server you could do on a Linux one.

share|improve this answer

Short answer: Yes, they will miss out on cloud computing (in the form we consider it today).

Long answer: Apple has historically positioned itself as a hardware company. They have created an operating system with extremely tight integration to their hardware so that they can control the user experience and provide a uniform, predictable product to the market. However, the operating system is essentially only used to sell their expensive hardware. It is not to Apple's benefit to license their operating system for use on systems other than their own hardware which is why the only virtualization provided for in their licensing agreement is for use on Apple machines. If they were ever to license their operating system for use on non-Apple hardware it would essentially destroy their competitive advantage.

Note: Apple is now positioning itself in the digital applications space, but as downloadable programs for its handhelds.

Disclaimer: I own and continue to purchase "expensive hardware" from Apple.

share|improve this answer

Actually you're not allowed to virtualize Mac OS X on any machine that is Mac not OS X. With Leopard Server (10.5 Server) the license allows any number of Mac OS X server instances to run on Mac hardware.

share|improve this answer
I know, but that's not my question. – Luke Jul 16 '09 at 7:07
But it shows that your question is based on a false premise. – Quentin Jul 28 '09 at 10:59
@dorward: Why? It's not that it's not possible to run OSX on hardware other than Apple's. It's just that they decided it's not allowed. They can un-allow it anytime. – Luke Jul 28 '09 at 12:00

Probably not much. It has been argued that Apple has focused on segments like publishing and video editing that require certain software and hardware, and don't virtualize well. Also, Mac users tend to think that they have the best computer already.

Note that Mac OS X can host just about any OS virtually, and that's a good asset.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.