Apple in enterprise architecture

Enterprise

I ran across this blog post today while surfing Digg called “Is your company ready for the Apple invasion?”

This is an interesting topic that I think does not get a lot of attention. I think Apple has a lot of potential here but there needs to be a huge upfront investment. If you’re going to ask companies to invest upfront, you have to start with yourself.

I’ve worked in mostly Microsoft/Cisco shops and it works really well. Microsoft has an array of product suites to address almost any need. More often than not, using a Microsoft product, rather than a better or cheaper alternative actually costs less (TCO). I think Microsoft has done a great job of addressing TCO especially in enterprise environments.

Apple would need to invest a lot to even begin to compete, but the stage is set. Apple enjoys excellent marketing, like it did in the 1980’s. I remember reading about why most schools and college campuses used Apple computers: they were easy to use and learn and competitively priced. Seeing Apple computers in places of learning was very common place and expected. Not so much today. Part of the reason for this is that schools had to grow out of Apple products in favor of “industry standard” PC’s. If you use a Microsoft system at work, you’ll want that system at home and so schools should also be teaching that (in general).

Apple needs to invest in certifications like Microsoft and Cisco. There should be a Apple Macintosh Certified Associate (AMCA) or something similar as the basic certification. From there, more advanced certificates for different technologies could be offered. AXCA for the Xserve platform? This allows organizations to hire technicians that are familiar with Apple products. Right now, there’s really no way to tell how good your Apple skills are.

Apple also needs to invest in a good user identity platform (like Active Directory) and email services (like Exchange). Finally, system management is too important for admins. As stated in the blog post comments above, admins need a way to set security policies and controls that are easy and that work! Apple’s Remote Desktop 3 is the closest tool to Microsofts SMS and can probably manage a campus full of Macs. I’d love to see it in action.

Actually, all the same goes for any Linux platform. The problem for Linux though is trying to get the community to rally behind a few products (one would be better but Linux enthusiasts try to preserve choice) to address these needs.

The advantage for Apple is that it can set standards on its own technology and it doesn’t have to create all those products itself. They can be contracted out or Apple could provide API’s or similar technologies to 3rd party vendors who already specialize in similar products for Microsoft.

One example of this is a company called Shavlik which provides patch management solutions for Windows. Although Microsoft already provides WSUS for free and SMS for more advanced patching, I found many enterprises still use Shavlik or similar 3rd-party tools. Why not allow Shavlik to create their products for Apple Macintosh and Apple server products?

It doesn’t seem like these things would be hard to do. The question is if Apple cares enough to do it. Is the demand really there?

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12 comments… add one
  • Anonymous May 29, 2008

    “If you use a Microsoft system at work, you’ll want that system at home”

    I’m gonna go ahead and say the opposite is true. This is actually why I got into Macs, because using Windows all day at work was so bad. Sooooo bad.

  • Anonymous May 30, 2008

    “If you use a Microsoft system at work, you’ll want that system at home”I’m gonna go ahead and say the opposite is true. This is actually why I got into Macs, because using Windows all day at work was so bad. Sooooo bad.

  • PotatoSalad May 29, 2008

    Have you ever worked with Mac OS X Server (particularly 10.5) in any kind of business environment? I haven’t used 10.5 yet, but I have set up FreeBSD servers to replace Windows Server 2003 boxes (that used Active Directory, Exchange, and IIS). Your list of suggestions surprised me because FreeBSD has had those features (excluding the whole easy-to-setup/GUI stuff) for a long time now.

    Apple needs to invest in certifications like Microsoft and Cisco…

    Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server Certifications.

    AXCA for the Xserve platform?

    I think ACSA is what you’re looking for.

    Right now, there’s really no way to tell how good your Apple skills are.

    What? The quality of a randomly selected Apple Certified Professional is typically miles above the quality of a randomly selected Microsoft Certified Professional. That’s mostly due to the much smaller number of available Apple professionals. It will most likely change if Apple increases in the business world (more stupid people per random sample).

    Apple also needs to invest in a good user identity platform (like Active Directory)…

    Apple Open Directory (really just a LDAP v3 server).

    …and email services (like Exchange)

    I haven’t configured an email server on Mac OS X in a while (we use FreeBSD with Postfix), but last I checked they use Postfix. Here’s their Mail Services page. The iCal Server along with the Open Directory support should cover the rest. If you’re looking for exact Exchange support, there are many alternatives.

    As stated in the blog post comments above, admins need a way to set security policies and controls that are easy and that work!

    I don’t have much experience with setting security policies to a great extent (in either Active Directory or Open Directory). Full support for Active Directory ACLs is included with 10.5.

    They can be contracted out or Apple could provide API’s or similar technologies to 3rd party vendors who already specialize in similar products for Microsoft.

    I agree, and to a large extent, Apple already has. Open Directory is based on OpenLDAP, Mail Services use Postfix and Cyrus IMAP, Web Hosting uses Apache, and so on and so forth…

    Is the demand really there?

    Who knows? Personally, I enjoy the freedom of UNIX/Linux based environments (at least for the servers), so I really have no compelling reason to use Windows Servers in any future business endeavers. I could care less what the clients are.

    Any thoughts?

  • PotatoSalad May 30, 2008

    Have you ever worked with Mac OS X Server (particularly 10.5) in any kind of business environment? I haven’t used 10.5 yet, but I have set up FreeBSD servers to replace Windows Server 2003 boxes (that used Active Directory, Exchange, and IIS). Your list of suggestions surprised me because FreeBSD has had those features (excluding the whole easy-to-setup/GUI stuff) for a long time now.Apple needs to invest in certifications like Microsoft and Cisco…Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server Certifications.AXCA for the Xserve platform?I think ACSA is what you’re looking for.Right now, there’s really no way to tell how good your Apple skills are.What? The quality of a randomly selected Apple Certified Professional is typically miles above the quality of a randomly selected Microsoft Certified Professional. That’s mostly due to the much smaller number of available Apple professionals. It will most likely change if Apple increases in the business world (more stupid people per random sample).Apple also needs to invest in a good user identity platform (like Active Directory)…Apple Open Directory (really just a LDAP v3 server).…and email services (like Exchange)I haven’t configured an email server on Mac OS X in a while (we use FreeBSD with Postfix), but last I checked they use Postfix. Here’s their Mail Services page. The iCal Server along with the Open Directory support should cover the rest. If you’re looking for exact Exchange support, there are many alternatives.As stated in the blog post comments above, admins need a way to set security policies and controls that are easy and that work!I don’t have much experience with setting security policies to a great extent (in either Active Directory or Open Directory). Full support for Active Directory ACLs is included with 10.5.They can be contracted out or Apple could provide API’s or similar technologies to 3rd party vendors who already specialize in similar products for Microsoft.I agree, and to a large extent, Apple already has. Open Directory is based on OpenLDAP, Mail Services use Postfix and Cyrus IMAP, Web Hosting uses Apache, and so on and so forth…Is the demand really there?Who knows? Personally, I enjoy the freedom of UNIX/Linux based environments (at least for the servers), so I really have no compelling reason to use Windows Servers in any future business endeavers. I could care less what the clients are.Any thoughts?

  • PotatoSalad May 29, 2008

    Have you ever worked with Mac OS X Server (particularly 10.5) in any kind of business environment? I haven’t used 10.5 yet, but I have set up FreeBSD servers to replace Windows Server 2003 boxes (that used Active Directory, Exchange, and IIS). Your list of suggestions surprised me because FreeBSD has had those features (excluding the whole easy-to-setup/GUI stuff) for a long time now.

    Apple needs to invest in certifications like Microsoft and Cisco…

    Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server Certifications.

    AXCA for the Xserve platform?

    I think ACSA is what you’re looking for.

    Right now, there’s really no way to tell how good your Apple skills are.

    What? The quality of a randomly selected Apple Certified Professional is typically miles above the quality of a randomly selected Microsoft Certified Professional. That’s mostly due to the much smaller number of available Apple professionals. It will most likely change if Apple increases in the business world (more stupid people per random sample).

    Apple also needs to invest in a good user identity platform (like Active Directory)…

    Apple Open Directory (really just a LDAP v3 server).

    …and email services (like Exchange)

    I haven’t configured an email server on Mac OS X in a while (we use FreeBSD with Postfix), but last I checked they use Postfix. Here’s their Mail Services page. The iCal Server along with the Open Directory support should cover the rest. If you’re looking for exact Exchange support, there are many alternatives.

    As stated in the blog post comments above, admins need a way to set security policies and controls that are easy and that work!

    I don’t have much experience with setting security policies to a great extent (in either Active Directory or Open Directory). Full support for Active Directory ACLs is included with 10.5.

    They can be contracted out or Apple could provide API’s or similar technologies to 3rd party vendors who already specialize in similar products for Microsoft.

    I agree, and to a large extent, Apple already has. Open Directory is based on OpenLDAP, Mail Services use Postfix and Cyrus IMAP, Web Hosting uses Apache, and so on and so forth…

    Is the demand really there?

    Who knows? Personally, I enjoy the freedom of UNIX/Linux based environments (at least for the servers), so I really have no compelling reason to use Windows Servers in any future business endeavers. I could care less what the clients are.

    Any thoughts?

  • PotatoSalad May 30, 2008

    Have you ever worked with Mac OS X Server (particularly 10.5) in any kind of business environment? I haven’t used 10.5 yet, but I have set up FreeBSD servers to replace Windows Server 2003 boxes (that used Active Directory, Exchange, and IIS). Your list of suggestions surprised me because FreeBSD has had those features (excluding the whole easy-to-setup/GUI stuff) for a long time now.Apple needs to invest in certifications like Microsoft and Cisco…Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server Certifications.AXCA for the Xserve platform?I think ACSA is what you’re looking for.Right now, there’s really no way to tell how good your Apple skills are.What? The quality of a randomly selected Apple Certified Professional is typically miles above the quality of a randomly selected Microsoft Certified Professional. That’s mostly due to the much smaller number of available Apple professionals. It will most likely change if Apple increases in the business world (more stupid people per random sample).Apple also needs to invest in a good user identity platform (like Active Directory)…Apple Open Directory (really just a LDAP v3 server).…and email services (like Exchange)I haven’t configured an email server on Mac OS X in a while (we use FreeBSD with Postfix), but last I checked they use Postfix. Here’s their Mail Services page. The iCal Server along with the Open Directory support should cover the rest. If you’re looking for exact Exchange support, there are many alternatives.As stated in the blog post comments above, admins need a way to set security policies and controls that are easy and that work!I don’t have much experience with setting security policies to a great extent (in either Active Directory or Open Directory). Full support for Active Directory ACLs is included with 10.5.They can be contracted out or Apple could provide API’s or similar technologies to 3rd party vendors who already specialize in similar products for Microsoft.I agree, and to a large extent, Apple already has. Open Directory is based on OpenLDAP, Mail Services use Postfix and Cyrus IMAP, Web Hosting uses Apache, and so on and so forth…Is the demand really there?Who knows? Personally, I enjoy the freedom of UNIX/Linux based environments (at least for the servers), so I really have no compelling reason to use Windows Servers in any future business endeavers. I could care less what the clients are.Any thoughts?

  • Partners in Grime May 29, 2008

    /Seeing Apple computers in places of learning was very common place and expected. Not so much today./

    Actually, Macs are on the upswing again.

    Apple passes Dell
    http://blogs.computerworld.com/apple_passes_dell_marketshare_higher_education

    Morgan Stanley: 40% of college students plan to buy Macs
    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/03/26/morgan_stanley_40_of_college_students_plan_to_buy_macs.html

    And a pic :)
    http://mac.blorge.com/2007/10/02/universities-moving-to-endorse-apple-exclusively/

  • Partners in Grime May 30, 2008

    /Seeing Apple computers in places of learning was very common place and expected. Not so much today./Actually, Macs are on the upswing again.Apple passes Dellhttp://blogs.computerworld.com/apple_passes_dell_marketshare_higher_educationMorgan Stanley: 40% of college students plan to buy Macshttp://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/03/26/morgan_stanley_40_of_college_students_plan_to_buy_macs.htmlAnd a pic :)http://mac.blorge.com/2007/10/02/universities-moving-to-endorse-apple-exclusively/

  • Anonymous May 29, 2008

    Apple does have certification programs.

    http://training.apple.com/certification/

    Though, I don’t know if they have one like you describe… I’m not a network administrator.

  • Anonymous May 30, 2008

    Apple does have certification programs.http://training.apple.com/certification/Though, I don’t know if they have one like you describe… I’m not a network administrator.

  • mjyung May 30, 2008

    Our environment is mainframe, various unix and some window servers. By comparison between unix and window servers, although the hardware and initial setup is cheaper with window the TOC is higher then unix in the long term. Actually we are studying to implement collaborative services such as ical, podcasting, ichat and maybe email using Apple as the TOC is the lowest since there is no per user license cost. We are also implementing open office and use pdf as standard file format to most of our employees as only a hand full need to use the power of ms office.

  • mjyung May 30, 2008

    Our environment is mainframe, various unix and some window servers. By comparison between unix and window servers, although the hardware and initial setup is cheaper with window the TOC is higher then unix in the long term. Actually we are studying to implement collaborative services such as ical, podcasting, ichat and maybe email using Apple as the TOC is the lowest since there is no per user license cost. We are also implementing open office and use pdf as standard file format to most of our employees as only a hand full need to use the power of ms office.

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