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Mac finally a 'realistic alternative' in IT?

updated 06:45 pm EST, Wed February 28, 2007

Mac making inroads to IT?

Ignored for years, Apple is--at last--garnering the attention of business IT departments, says Network World's John Fontana. In his latest column, Fontana argues that the Mac now has many key features that were previously missing, such as infrastructure and interoperability hooks, clustering and storage technology, and third-party virtualization software. Significantly, the rise of Intel Macs and Microsoft's switch to Windows Vista has forced some departments to do comparison shopping.

"Intel Macs have really changed things," says Scott Melendez, San Francisco's manager of enterprise messaging. The city first adopted the Mac platform in 2003. "Beyond the obvious comparisons -- that Macs are now speed-parity with Wintel machines -- vendors have been able to develop more software for the platform, and where that is impossible, virtual machines are always an option."

Tom Gonzales, a network administrator for the Colorado State Employees Credit Union, comments on the issue of Vista. "The changes in Vista are significant enough that we think we can absorb the change going to Macs just as easily as going to Vista," he says. The Credit Union has not yet made its decision. "If you had asked me two years ago to consider Macs, I would have laughed. But Boot Camp and Parallels, anything we can't do with our Macs we would be able to run a Windows environment under there."

According to some however, there are still problems with making the leap to Apple. The company has no formal support for enterprises, either in technical assistance, or simply in selling products to corporate clients. "To be successful with businesses, they would have to build up an enterprise selling organization if they wanted to gain greater growth in corporate environments," says Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin. There is also the problem of having to use virtualization rather than wanting it, as there continues to be more PC IT software than for the Mac.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. hmurchison2001

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Yup

    Companies need collaboration and solid email/calendar. Add a good Office suite and solid storage tech and you can keep your company running strongly. Apple has the advantage that they've really improved OS X in these areas and with virtualization they have access to software that doesn't even run on OS X.

  1. bhuot

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    malware advantage

    And it would be a lot more productive if they didn't have to restore all their data from viruses and lost corporate secrets due to spyware.

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Took them long enough

    Better late than never!

  1. himself

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Corporate email

    Apple will be providing a serious contender to the MS Exchange Server solution with Leopard, but Bonjour already provides the means for simple messaging and collaboration right now. Not to mention, there are also open source alternatives to Exchange that are easier to support and run on the Mac.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    support for enterprises

    I don't think Apple can build a good support unit specifically for big enterprises in a few years, but it is a big and important market. Yet another reason to license osX to Dell and others, 10.5 will be the turning point for sure.

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    but...

    Having apps are nice, but Apple would need to be more flexible in the support contracts for them to really push into IT. With any PC, if parts blow up on you, you can easily swap out this or that, install a PCI card to replace some functionality, and off you go. With Apple, EVERYTHING has to be brought in to them to be fixed (whenever Apple gets the parts, that is). And every replacement part Apple has is way overpriced, meaning the IT departments have to get Applecare for the computers or risk just tossing them after a year and a half.

    If you've got a office full of G5 towers, for example, you just have to wait for the power supplies to fail, send it in, and hope it gets back quickly.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: but

    I understand your arguement, but this is where spare machines come in. We have 2 spares, so when one does blow (which does happen), simply transfer the info and take in the busted machine. When it comes back, that is my new spare :)

    they do offer parts kits for xServes (or at least they did last year) so youre not waiting around for a server to be fixed.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: support for enterpris

    "Yet another reason to license osX to Dell and others"

    I loathe this arguemeent because it is just stupid.

    Apple makes money from hardware! this is a FACT! licensing OS X to someone else will sink hardware sales which will affect the bottom line (as well as losing control on the hardware/software connection)

    Do you seriously think giving up the hardware/software control and losing money is a good business strategy?

  1. discotronic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: re:but

    Different companies have different needs. I don't like the idea of spare machines as a solution. I have two or three spare laptops for my users but they are not meant to be used for an extended amount of time. We are an all Dell shop and I have to say that their warranty service is fairly decent. I get a full 3 year warranty with 4 hour or next business day delivery of parts or they send a tech out to do the replacement. Applecare can't compete with this and I do get to speak with an American when I call for support. I had a motherboard go bad in a laptop at one of our Alaska locations. This place is in the middle of nowhere and we where still able to have the user up and running the next day. The downtime for a defective part is small and it keeps my users productive.

    A majority of my users are in remote locations, different parts of the country or they are on the road more than they are in the office. Spare machines are worthless for them if they are not in a position to get one. By the time I ship a spare machine to them, the warranty service that Dell offers would have taken care of their issue. Our company can't wait a week or more for something as simple as a power supply so going with Apple would not work.

    As much as I dislike Dell, I can't see switching our company to Apple without some kind of guarantee that my downtime would be at a minimum. Apple's enterprise support has a long way to go and my company doesn't have the time or patience for downtime of a week or more.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: but

    I see your point, but keep in mind that your situation doesnt sound like the norm of corporate America :)

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