I have a Xeon Xserve running Mac OS X Server 10.4. I'm very much not a fan of Mac OS X Server, and would prefer running plain old Mac OS X 10.5 on it.

But I'm worried that I'd lose some features in the "upgrade", such as:

  1. Fan control. The Xserve is loud, but I doubt it's running all fans at 100% all the time when running on OSXS. Does OSX have the same fan-control smarts as OSXS?

  2. Hardware Watchdog. A nice Xserve feature is auto-restart even in the face of a Kernel Panic. Will this critical feature still work under OSXS?

  3. Server Monitor. Mac OS X 10.5 doesn't come with this application. Can I just copy over the binary from my OSXS 10.4 install? Worse case, can I buy a copy of OSXS 10.5 and copy it over from there?

  4. RAID Utility. This one I'm less concerned about since this seems to come with Mac OS X 10.5. I'm assuming it can do the same things.

Can anyone address on these concerns? Are there other gotchas I've missed?

  • I don't think it belongs on SU if the goal is to use the regular OS X as a server - which is what it sounds like. – Telemachus Jul 26 '09 at 19:25
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    Yea, this doesn't belong on SU. Good question. – hobodave Jul 26 '09 at 20:54

There are very few differences between Mac OS X 10.5 and Mac OS X 10.5 Server under the hood. It's almost exclusively the bundled apps and the extra server tools. Fan control should work fine in Mac OS X 10.5, but you'll lose auto reboot in the case of a kernel panic and you'll lose Server Monitor. Stick with Mac OS X Server, but upgrade from 10.4 to 10.5.

If price is your concern, buy a 10-client of Mac OS X 10.5 Server now (the number of clients only matters for AFP & SMB/CIFS client connections) and take advantage of the up-to-date pricing when Snow Leopard is released this fall.

  • Losing auto-reboot is a deal-breaker for me. Thanks, morgant for clearing that up. – rentzsch Jul 28 '09 at 20:01

Morgant has covered most of the vital points but there is one more thing to note:

As a rule of thumb, I'd recommend you never use server tools with a mismatched OS X version. That said, you'd probably get away with using the 10.5 version of server monitor with any release of Leopard without too much issue.

I'd steer well away from using the early 10.5 config tools with 10.5.7. That's relevant even though you're installing client as some of the tools (Workgroup Manager) will happily manage a client when installed locally. I certainly wouldn't try any of the 10.4 tools outside of a test environment. I seem to remember that they complain loudly and refuse to connect in any case.

While you're okay 90% of the time, the patches to the tools and to the OS can change how certain items are configured. Using the wrong version can lead to some interesting behaviour down the line which is hard to diagnose.


Server Monitor. Mac OS X 10.5 doesn't come with this application. Can I just copy over the binary from my OSXS 10.4 install? Worse case, can I buy a copy of OSXS 10.5 and copy it over from there?

You can download Server Monitor as part of the Server Admin Tools

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    While you are correct that the Server Monitor application is part of the freely downloadable Server Admin Tools, I believe Jon was inquiring whether he could still monitor his Xserve with Server Monitor if Mac OS X client was installed on it. If not, my bad. – morgant Jul 27 '09 at 17:24
  • Server Monitor uses ipmitool to get the Lights Out Management information (which is installed on Server and Client). Since LOM runs separate of the OS you should be able to get the LOM info whether it's running Server or not. (Have not actually tested this personally) See support.apple.com/kb/HT2773 – Chealion Jul 27 '09 at 19:57
  • Coincidentally Apple updated this kbase article today: support.apple.com/kb/HT3665 – Chealion Jul 28 '09 at 16:06

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