Apple has published a technical document explaining future changes to macOS Server. In a version to be released in spring 2018, Server will be shedding many of its server features. Apple says that it:
is changing to focus more on management of computers, devices, and storage on your network.
As such, they’ll be “hiding” services, such as Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Messages, VPN, and others. These hidden, deprecated services will be fully removed in a later version of the software.
This is an interesting change. Gone are the days of the Xserve, Apple’s attempt to gain a foothold in the server market, which is now essentially based on virtualization and cloud servers. There is still a place for small servers – such as the Mac mini server that Apple sold from 2009 to 2014, but I would guess that fewer and fewer users really need these services.
I have been running a standard Mac mini as a server for a few years, and when macOS High Sierra was released, I updated that Mac but didn’t install the Server front-end software, since the services that I use – file sharing and Time Machine – are both available in the standard version of the operating system. It’s one less headache for me – not that Server was hard to manage for my use – to not have a different interface for settings on that Mac.
I find interesting, however, Apple’s description of “management of computers, devices, and storage on your network.” I wonder if this means Server is going to become an MDM (mobile device management) tool. Or if they’ll be finally releasing an iTunes server, or server tools for other media, such as photos (to allow multiple users to more easily share and manage photo libraries).
I look forward to this change.