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Leopard shows its spots

Filed in archive Enterprise Software by Scott Wilson on October 26, 2007

I'd have to search through the archives to be sure, but I doubt that Apple has ever been discussed much in this blog... there's always a faint whiff of amateurism in "professional" corporate IT circles when Macs are brought up. Oh, the marketing department may have a few of them, and there are probably one or two executives who have forced an exception to policy so they can carry around their sleek looking Apple notebooks, but on the whole most CIOs I'm familiar with don't consider Apple quite ready for prime time in the corporate world. And they're not wrong, certainly from the perspective that values traditional IT management approaches. While OS X has some very easy to use features for centralized management, it doesn't have nearly as comprehensive a set of tools for that task as any Windows administrator will have become accustomed to since NT 4.0 days.

This situation is not going to change overnight, but it may not need to in order for OS X to start becoming a more attractive option in corporate IT, because the nature of the terrain is changing as well. Many of the factors that militated for a tight, locked-down, centrally managed client infrastructure are, whether we recognize it or not, slipping away with the advent of SaaS and Web 2.0 solutions to business problems. And Apple may be trying to meet us halfway; as Network World reported earlier this year, there are a number of features in the new OS X release which seemed oriented primarily at the enterprise. Built-in OpenLDAP directory services, an iCal calendaring server, SAN and cluster technologies are all included in OS X server and a host of open source server software is supported out of the box. Moreover, the Vista transition that many corporations are being faced with in the coming year suddenly makes a transition to OS X look less intimidating... if you can get past the names and the marketing bluster, the actual disruption involved is remarkably similar.

There is always more to it than that, of course; even with SaaS there can be browser issues, and for those who haven't gone SaaS yet there are line of business application support issues, and then there are corporate support issues in general which Apple has yet to address. But nonetheless, OS X, with less restrictive licensing mechanisms, better UI (yes, I said it, and I'll fight you on it... it's just better than Windows, get over it), and more stability, is an option that it is time to give some serious consideration to in the enterprise.

Head on over to ComputerWorld for their week of Leopard and get familiar with the ground.

Permalink: Leopard shows its spots
Tags: OSX  apple  software+support  2007  leopard  leopard+shows  shows+spots  november+2007 


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