Apple cores

If you’re a pragmatic IT management type you’re probably perplexed or amused by technophile zealots. Religious wars in IT are old hat and are just tedious crap where they still exist. I confess, I used to see in Apple supporters some of the characteristics of tub-thumping believers. That stance is clearly outdated given the advances in Apple’s technology and the company’s pursuit of standards in recent years.

While I’m still waiting for local figures, anecdotally I don’t think the company’s enterprise push has gone very far. A search of our document archives brings up just one Xserve case study. This features Torch Publishing in Sydney replacing its legacy AppleshareIP6 file servers with Apple Xserves running OS X. At the time, Kim Kohen, Torch’s group prepress and systems manager, said the migration was both an upgrade and an implementation of a more flexible platform. A win reported from the US just this month has the US Navy buying 260 XServe servers as the hardware part of a sonar imaging system to be built by Terra Soft Solutions.

While vastly different deals, neither the success with the existing publishing customer or with the US Navy demonstrate a wider acceptance of Apple’s enterprise message. This is a pity, as by many accounts the technology is enterprise-ready. The US Navy found its requirements met for “form-factor, density, performance, and use of Linux” (not Unix-based OS X, interestingly). Torch’s Kohen said, “the Xserve itself was in the region of $9000 configured with four drive modules. Linux on a 1U Dell would have been cheaper but not by a huge factor and initial cost is not our prime motivation for purchase,” Kohen said. “We view quality and ease of use as important considerations for eventual ROI benefits. Whilst we’ve paid a small premium, we feel this will be returned very quickly.”

Tom Yager on page 19, in the middle of moving from a Windows-based network to one based on Apple hardware and software, is impressed enough by recent announcements that he is now looking to incorporate the latest Xserve and Xraid, and Panther, the upcoming version of Mac OS X.

And no, it makes no real difference to me whether or not Apple makes enterprise IT advertising investments through titles such as Computerworld. I believe I’m simply underlining the fact that perhaps it’s time people like me forgot their old aversion to ancient religious wars and judge the kit on its merits. For a lot more on these merits check the Apple special report at our sister title’s site: www.infoworld.com

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