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Not to be confused with Apple Workgroup Servers.

The Apple Network Server 500

The Apple Network Server (ANS), codenamed "Shiner", was a series of enterprise server computers designed and released by Apple Computer on February 26, 1996. Unlike other PowerPC-based systems sold by Apple at the time, the Apple Network Servers ran a version of AIX from IBM and were not configured to be able to boot into Mac OS.


Apple Network Server promo

Promotional image highlighting the features of the servers.

The Apple Network Servers used a modified version of the Power Macintosh 9500 logic board with 6 PCI slots and an Open Firmware ROM that did not support any Mac OS calls. Eight 168-pin DIMM slots support a maximum of 512 MB of RAM. A small LCD screen on the front of the case displayed status and error messages; a keyed lock mechanism could be used to secure the server. The system weighed 80 pounds and was supported on four lockable wheels. The servers shipped with AIX for Apple Network Servers 4.1.4 and could be updated to versions and 4.1.5.[1] They are not based on PreP nor CHRP specs.[2]


Three models originally entered into development. A high-end "Shiner HE" version (ANS 700) featured a 150 MHz PowerPC 604 processor and two 425W power supplies that were redundant so that one could take over if the other failed. This allowed the server to operate continuously while one of the power supplies was being removed and exchanged. A low-end "Shiner LE" version (ANS 500) featured a slightly slower 132 MHz PowerPC 604 processor and a single 325W power supply. Both "Shiner" models featured two fixed drive bays and seven removable slide-out bays which could be covered by a sliding door. A faster version with a 200 MHz PowerPC 604e processor card became available later. A dual 180 MHz 604e multiprocessor card was tested, but never released.[3] The signatures of the development team were molded onto the back of the sliding drive door, including: Teresa "Magic" Hooks, Paul Hamton Kelly, M.P. McNally, Steven Nelson, Bradford J. Rogers, and Laszlo Zsidek.[4]

A smaller model codenamed "Deep Dish" (ANS 300) was also in development. It used the same logic board and processor configuration as the ANS 500 in a rack-mountable case with one fixed drive bay and two removable slide-out bays. Though ANS 300 prototypes entered beta testing, this model was never sold to the public.[3]


Model Release dates CPU L1 / L2 cache CD-ROM Hard drives Power supply
ANS 300/132
"Deep Dish"
unreleased 132MHz
PowerPC 604
32KB / 512KB 4x speed 2GB unknown
ANS 500/132
"Shiner LE"
1996-02-26 to
PowerPC 604
32KB / 512KB 4x speed 2GB 325W
ANS 700/150
"Shiner HE"
1996-02-26 to
PowerPC 604
32KB / 1MB 4x speed 1GB + 4GB 425W (x2)
ANS 700/200
"Shiner HE"
1996-09-14 to
PowerPC 604e
64KB / 1MB 8x speed 4GB + 4GB 425W (x2)


When the Apple Network Server series was discontinued in April 1997, some units remaining in Apple's inventory were offered to employees; the rest were crushed and buried. Some prototype units contained one of two development ROMs that could boot into Mac OS 8 to 8.5, but these were never made commercially available.[5] Even with Power Macintosh 9500 or 9600 ROMs swapped in, commercially-released servers are unable to boot successfully into Mac OS. Users have found it possible to install Yellow Dog Linux 2.x and 3.x on the servers.[6][7] NetBSD can also be installed.[1]

The swappable RAID functionality of the Apple Network Servers was later reintroduced with the Xserve and Xserve RAID in 2002 and 2003, respectively.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Floodgap ANSwers: The ANS FAQ by Cameron Kaiser, Floodgap. Accessed 2021-02-26.
  2. FS: Apple Network Server 700/200 by Povl H. Peders, Linux Forum. 2000-04-12.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Deep Dish: Prototype ANS 300 by Tom Owad, Applefritter. 2004-01-27.
  4. Floodgap ANSwers: Photo Album by Cameron Kaiser, Floodgap. Accessed 2021-02-26.
  5. Re: [ANS] Mac OS on a ANS by Bernard Becker, 2002-04-08.
  6. Guide to install Yellowdog Linux 2.x on the ANS by Alexander Holst, 2002-10-23. Archived 2004-10-14.
  7. Apple Network Server by gom, Yellow Dog Linux Community Board. 2012-04-29.

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