Does Apple Belong in the Enterprise?

My Apple journey started as a test of whether and when Apple hardware and software had a place in a mostly-Windows corporate world. In the year since, I've come to appreciate computer systems that just work, and my switchover has been eased by products such as Parallels Desktop Switch to Mac Edition. With that said, however, Mac desktop and notebook systems are still a departmental, not an enterprise, concern for IT managers.

2010 will start my second year as a daily Mac user in a Windows-oriented world. I think my aluminum-skinned charges will thrive in the coming year despite clinging to a fat-client model I associate more with the past than the future.

Apple's style, design and functionality are big inducements for me to continue my Mac experience.

The MacBook Pro laptop, 13-inch version, is among the best notebooks I've ever used because of its clear, bright screen and responsive touchpad and the performance improvements enabled by the "Snow Leopard" OS X operating system. Start-up and shut-down times can be measured in seconds, and battery life is still measured in hours of continuous use.

My Mac Mini desktop system is reliable and small, and easily able to handle my daily editorial workload. The Mac Pro tower that sits beside me for FileMaker and Photoshop duty is a steady partner in my budding video and photographic endeavors here at eWEEK. Indeed, of all the Mac systems I use, the Mac Pro would be the hardest to replace with a Windows machine because it is the processing hub for multimedia content generated in the San Francisco eWEEK Labs operation.

But the overriding characteristic that weds me to the Mac platform is the rock-solid uptime that I've experienced with all of my Apple systems. The Macs resist "bit rot" and viral infection. They self-update smoothly and without causing me to lose precious minutes or hours of productivity. And there is something to be said for a computer system that just works, although it took me some time to acclimate to the Apple way.

When I started my journey of using "Apple in the enterprise," I had some modest goals for the project: Figure out how to use a Mac desktop system and see if it could be effectively integrated into organizations dominated by Windows. As readers of my early reports on this project know, I was a true Mac newcomer. In the year since, I've become a fan (although not a fanboy) of the Mac systems I've used.

In 2009, I wrapped up reviews of Snow Leopard running on both Mac client and server. As a result of these tests and my daily office experience, I'm changing the theme of my continued Mac exploration from "Apple in the enterprise" to "Apple at work."