Apple Goes Enterprise

Has the day finally come when you might seriously consider using Macs in your server room? Yes, and here's why.

If you listen to some people-Microsoft-Apple has about as much business being in the office as the New York Yankees would have playing in the National Football League championship. Which is to say: none at all.

These folks will tell you that Apple is all about the sizzle, and not about the steak. Or, to put it another way, they might concede that Apple knows how to out-design everyone, but underneath the pretty exteriors, you'll find old, shopworn ideas.

To all these people may I say: Get a Clue.

Before looking at what Jobs announced Jan. 15, let's take a quick look at what Apple has done in the last few weeks. First, it introduced Leopard, its new operating system. I didn't like Leopard at first. On the other hand, I hated Vista. But, here's the important difference between Apple and Microsoft. Apple, within a month, fixed Leopard's major problems. We're still waiting for Microsoft to release Vista SP1 more than a year after Vista went to manufacturing.

Microsoft also likes to talk about how many people (note how they tip-toe around the word "businesses") have already adopted Vista. Steve Jobs noted in his Macworld keynote that 20 percent of the Mac's installed base has already upgraded. It certainly sounds to me like users think that Leopard is ready to go, which is more than can be said for Vista.

Apple, of course, is also a hardware company. If speed, speed and more speed is what you want, it looks to me like both on the desktop, with the new Mac Pros, and on the server, with the Mac Pro Xserve, Apple is going to be hard to beat. I mean, we're talking dual Intel quad-core Xeon 5400 (aka Harpertown) processors. Better still, thanks to Parallels Server, which is on its way now, you can really put all eight of their cores to use by virtualizing multiple instances of Mac OS server, Linux, Solaris or, if you insist, Windows Server.

Has the day finally come when you might seriously consider using Macs in your server room? Why, yes it has. And if you think not having AD (Active Directory) compatibility is a show-stopper, think again. Macs, Linux and Windows can all work with AD now.