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Apple Businesses

Apple's Macworld Looking To Corporate Users 287

Posted by Zonk
from the hi-i'm-a-business-mac dept.
coondoggie writes to mention a Network World article about a focus on corporate users at the upcoming MacWorld Expo. Along with the consumer announcements (iTV, iPod stuff), there will be several elements dedicated to introducing IT pros to Apple hardware. From the article: "The show has really evolved. For a long time it was a consumer-oriented show and those of us who are from the enterprise space - there weren't very many of us - would use it as a place to meet and compare notes ... Now Macintosh in the enterprise is becoming more recognized and there are tracks that are specifically for us enterprise people. We don't have to sneak off anymore."
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Apple's Macworld Looking To Corporate Users

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  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:3, Informative)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:14PM (#17476678) Homepage

    I'm guessing they were referring to the OTHER side of the corporate network (authentication, web serving, database, e-mail, etc) instead of the client boxes. Of course this ignores the argument that Macs are cheaper because of the lack of spyware/viruses/etc which you may or may not buy.

    There is no dispute that most custom business apps are written to Windows, although Parallels can fix that (though not cheaply at $80 for Parallels and $75 for an OEM windows).

  • by micromuncher (171881) on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:28PM (#17476932) Homepage
    Apple has never got it. Ever. It means Corporate or Enterprise IT. If you look at their history in dealing with Big companies, you see recurring mistakes over the past 15 years. Some examples... In the early '90s, Apple was IN BASF. One of the things BASF liked was Apple seemed to be actively supporting the platform. They chose to over look the lack of engineering tools for the great support Apple was giving them. Then Apple Europe restructed and all the close working relationship was dropped. By '95, Apple was pretty much out of every european production/manufacturing company.

    I was working as an Apple developer for 10 years in engineering. Every WWDC I would argue (with the sci-eng evangelist; a position they found hard to staff) that incentives to VARs would not break into corporate IT. Productivity alone doesn't cut it. The world needs Apps, and Apple needed to bend over backward to support developers brave enough to try for that 1%. Suffices to say... the strategy has not changed. Incentives to VARs and pushing the illusory ease and security envelope.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:2, Informative)

    by enterix (5252) on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:29PM (#17476942)

    Maybe you can check facts first.

    Check Leopard MacOSX Server:
    Apache, Samba, OpenLDAP, Kerberos, Postfix, Cyrus, SpamAssasin, Jabber, CUPS, POSIX, Wiki, Xgrid, QT Streaming... all 64-bit, not mentioning DTrace and ZFS

    Dude! That makes is coolest server on the block!!

    MacOSX 10.5 Leopard Server [apple.com]
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:4, Informative)

    by AliasTheRoot (171859) on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:44PM (#17477188)
    http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/ [apple.com]

    $499 for 10 users, $999 for unlimited.

    http://www.apple.com/xserve/raid/ [apple.com]

    Very competitive pricing.

    I don't have experience in running it in the Enterprise, but it's a very solid choice for running a SME off of - at a far lower cost than Microsoft. We had around 200 users running on OSX and Windows with roaming profiles, centralised user management, 5TB of network shares, network printing all on a couple of Tiger servers.

    Yes, the hardware costs are greater - but the software costs are much much lower.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:49PM (#17477272)
    "The thing is, unless Apple can seamlessly integrate their desktop OS into Active Directory like how 2000/XP (and soon Vista) already do, they're not going to be considered as a major player in corporate IT land. They need to be able to plug into currently existing infrastructure, be centrally managed, and offer an improved Net Present Value over PC's."

    http://www.apple.com/itpro/articles/adintegration/ [apple.com] ... you were saying?
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:3, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday January 05, 2007 @03:01PM (#17477498)
    Macs are more expensive. A lot more expensive, when you consider you can buy a basic Windows box that is more than sufficient for most business uses for around $500.

    The article discussed mainly enterprise applications like file and print servers. Quietly Apple has been positioning itself in this area with hardware like XServe and XRAID. Software is slowly developing, but remember OS X is Unix based so many Unix applications will require porting and not full re-writes. At least one application, XSan is interesting. The ability to turn any and all your Apple servers into a huge SAN. There is potential. Corporate desktops may come later.

    The vast majority of "business apps", especially custom stuff, don't run on MacOS.

    The last time I checked the vast majority of businesses use applications like Office and Quickbooks which are available for OS X. Custom applications will not work, but the vast majority of businesses are small businesses which can't afford custom software.

    Macs don't have anything to really compare with Active Directory, and especially GPOs.

    True, nobody but only MS has Active Directory. For Windows file compatibility, you can run Samba and OS X does support all sorts of other LDAP protocols.

    So...why would a business run on Macs? Unless they are a pre-press or video-production house, of course.

    Many small businesses could benefit from the lower TCO of running Macs. Less IT staffing for example. Many of the core business software like Office and Quickbooks is available for OS X. So why not?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 05, 2007 @03:05PM (#17477604)
    The Apple store lets you configure an XServe with 3x80gb drives, if you want, and you can purchase SoftRAID to provide RAID 5 capability. http://www.softraid.com/ [softraid.com] is $129.

  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:5, Informative)

    by larkost (79011) on Friday January 05, 2007 @03:22PM (#17477946)
    The problem in your argument is the assumption that Apple does not have something that competes in all of those spaces. But Apple has actually had centralized management for much longer than it has been available for Windows, and it is generally an easier-to-administer system. And system imaging is much easier on the Mac side.

    Now for the details:

    For the AD/GPO side you have MacOS X Server's OpenDirectory and Workgroup Management. The later product stared out in the MacOS 7 days as "Macintosh Manager" and was available as part of AppleShare IP product. You can do an awful lot of locking down on the computer with the point-and-click components, including setting the users to use network home directories (pretty much the same avrients as are available on Windows). A good begining point for this would be Apple's page on MacOS X Server: http://www.apple.com/server/desktop_management.htm l [apple.com]

    For imaging you have a number of choices: You can make up a computer as you would like it imaged, then use the free imaging tools that are included with the OS (Disk Utility has absorbed this capability, it used to be part of ASR). Then you can either push it back onto the computer using Disk Utility again, or use the image to NetBoot computers from a MacOS X Server (technically you don't need server, but it makes it easier), use the free NetBoot/NetRestore [bombich.com] system to allow you to cause network-based imaging to happen, use the free tool Radmind [umich.edu] to keep the image in sync (complex settings possible, and you can update one computer then let the rest follow it automatically), or use any of the other techniques that are out there (LANRev, NetOctopus, etc).

    Oh... and an image you make of one computer will boot all computers that that OS supports (computers much older, or newer than the OS won't work), there are a few tricks and traps to that, but not many that matter. And there is currently the caveat that you need 2 images: one for PPC and one for Intel.

    And on the remote software install party, Apple Remote Desktop does this wonderfully. It even allows for broadcast installing and leaving a package on a server so that disconnected users will get it the next time they connect.

    Oh, and then you can also use AD servers to do all of this management if you would like, either through schema modification or adding a MacOS X Server on the side.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:3, Informative)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Friday January 05, 2007 @03:33PM (#17478168) Journal

    Almost everything you just described can be done with a Mac OS X Server box and Apple Remote Desktop [apple.com]. Macs support Active Directory [apple.com]. They also support remote installation of software [informit.com], NetBoot and Network Install [apple.com], and Network Home Directories [apple.com].

    About the only thing on your list that's missing is Exchange/Outlook. :-)

  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:3, Informative)

    by Graff (532189) on Friday January 05, 2007 @03:46PM (#17478428)
    You create a "standard" image of Windows for these machines, and keep the image on the network, and use Ghost (or equivalent) to push images onto the client PCs. This image has everything locked down. Users can't tweak or install anything. Their "My Documents" folder is redirected to a share on the server, which gets backed up. If you need to install software on a machine, you do it with SMS, and don't even have to touch the client machines. If you want to REALLY get crazy, you give everyone a roaming profile, so any machine they login to has all their stuff.

    You DO realize that you can do the same under Mac OS X? In fact it's even easier!

    NetBoot [apple.com]
    Workgroup Manager [apple.com]

    These services are extremely simple to set up and manage. In my opinion they are much easier to manage than Ghost and Active Directory or their equivalents on the Windows side of things.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:3, Informative)

    by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert AT chromablue DOT net> on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:10PM (#17478912)
    Yet OSX Server is a drop in replacement for an NT Domain server without the honerous CAL pricing (It's SAMBA/LDAP/CUPS etc etc with a decent centralised management toolset).

    Sure it can. But how many places run NT PDCs still, versus W2K, W2K3? "The following functionalities are not provided by Samba-3: ... Acting as a Windows 2000 Domain Controller (i.e., Kerberos and Active Directory). In point of fact, Samba-3 does have some Active Directory Domain Control ability that is at this time purely experimental that is certain to change as it becomes a fully supported feature some time during the Samba-3 (or later) life cycle. However, Active Directory is more then just SMB it's also LDAP, Kerberos, DHCP, and other protocols (with proprietary extensions, of course)."

    So really, your answer is just a little disingenuous to suggest that all these companies can rip out their PDC and dump a Samba box as a "drop in replacement".

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:13PM (#17478996)
    Odd. I purchased the MPB I'm typing this on under a developer discount. The PowerBook on the coffee table was purchased under a developer discount a couple of years ago. Apple's gotten out of discounting hardware to developers? Strange... they still have a hardware discount program on their web page.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:5, Informative)

    by norkakn (102380) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:35PM (#17479508)
    You need to reimage computers each time? My god!, is this the dark ages. Get radmind you silly sod. Oh wait, it's mac only.

    Hun, I hate to break this to you, but as a Mac admin watching over hundreds of heavily abused workstations, the tools for OSX are far better.
    I gloat to our windows admin every day about how much better my tools are.
  • hahahaha! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:54PM (#17479898) Homepage Journal
    No floppy drive... you crack me up.
  • Re:Great strategy (Score:2, Informative)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:05PM (#17480114)
    Who's the clown? You just proved his point for him. The first guy was bitching that Apple makes everything open with Apple software, so the second guy merely pointed out, in Applespeak, how to change that on a Mac. Then you go and tell the second guy how to do it on a PC, thus proving his point to the first guy. Point being, if you don't want Quicktime to open your video file, change it yourself. I fail to see the part where the guy was ripping on Windows change file associations...he was merely stating that you've been able to this for 10+ years, with sarcasm. Please keep your clown comments holstered.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 05, 2007 @06:11PM (#17481336)
    Maybe you should read up a bit on Mac solutions before you comment- software like Apple Remote Desktop [apple.com], FileWave [filewave.com], NetOctopus [netopia.com], NetBoot/NetRestore [bombich.com], Radmind [umich.edu], HP OpenView [hp.com], Deep Freeze [faronics.com] and resources like AFP548 [afp548.com], Mac Managers [mac-mgrs.org], MacOSX Labs [macosxlabs.org], MacEnterprise [macenterprise.org], and of course Apple itself (I'll leave finding Apple's website as an exercise for the reader ;) make running large Macintosh installations fairly easy. There are plenty of UNIX/CLI tools and scripts out there, and Apple offers professional certifications if you want paper to show a potential employer.
  • by CatOne (655161) on Friday January 05, 2007 @08:32PM (#17483174)
    AD Integration has been there for a number of years. You use the Directory Access application in /Applications/Utilities, and there's an AD tab where you enter the relevant information. It provides authentication and full single sign-on. You can also change the password on your Mac and it propagates to AD. So what's the issue?

    You can also manage the Macs via AD, if you want to lock them down. This requires a schema extension -- extensions that Apple has registered with the IANA. This historically has made some AD administrators nervous, especially back in the day when you couldn't reverse schema additions. These days, the scripts are fairly widely available -- install them on a test or staging server and see how it works.

    So this provides very good management, the main limitation at this point is it's necessary to use Apple's Workgroup Manager application to do the management of the Macs, and point it to AD. Most Windows administrators are used to using GPOs for management and are reluctant to use another tool. If this is too much of a hurdle (you know, that whole "learning new things" thing which may be scary to people whose brain filled up getting their MSCE certification), then look for 3rd party tools like Centrify's Direct Control (http://www.centrify.com) which allow you managemetn of the Macs totally via GPOs.

    Pretty much any way you WANT to manage Macs from AD, you can. Each option has a few caveats, and is not 100% like using AD to manage Windows machines, because they are different machines. But all solutions WORK, and in fact they WORK QUITE WELL.

    As far as MVL, it does apply to copies that run in Parallels. So you're covered there -- the expense is the copy of Parallels... which is $79 list, and I'm just betting if you asked them for 500 copies that they'd negotiate a bit.

    Regarding Entourage... you're right, it's not as good as Outlook. But for many folks, it's sufficient. As far as Excel... I've never personally had an interop issue between Windows and Mac versions of Excel or Word. Then again, I'll freely admit I don't get many documents that are loaded down with large numbers of VBA macros. Whenever I get a "enable Macros?" dialog I say no -- so that point is moot anyway. With the main use of VBA being to transmit viruses... it's a wonder they're really still prevalent on the Windows side. And I say this having written a few custom decision support systems based in Excel and Access, that used custom OLE controls no less, back in the day.

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