Apple Turns Journal Page

Commentary: Apple may be wrapping a pair of holiday gifts for the company's enterprise customers.

Apples enterprise customers are apparently due for more stocking stuffers for the holidays: the journaling file system for the next interim rev of Mac OS X and a RAID system for Apples rack-mounted Xserve hardware. If my guess is correct, the two should roll out in a package aimed at upping the ante in the companys cautious campaign to take market share from established corporate players.

To recap the journaling story: Our sources said Apple will unveil a JFS, code-named Elvis, in the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.2.2. The tool, which will ride alongside the Macs HFS+, will reportedly log the hard disks main data activity, speeding recovery in case of a crash.

The development, which sources said was spearheaded by the engineer who created BeOS journaling, should bring Mac OS X abreast of other Unix journaling solutions (including those for Linux) and with Microsofts NTFS, the file system in Windows XP and 2000. (For the record, Microsoft partisans told me that NTFS is a more complete and robust JFS than we claimed in our initial report.)

Im going to shimmy out farther on this limb and predict that Apple will bring out journaling in an enterprise pitch that includes the Xserve RAID system; the company took the unusual step of announcing the RAID hardware when it rolled out the server last summer and even showed it to pro publishers at Septembers Seybold Seminars in San Francisco.

Apple product managers have been almost comically cautious about overpromising enterprise advances. At a demo shortly after the Xserve debuted, Apple reps told me that a third-grade teacher (a non-IT professional with a classroom-size, not corporate-size, roster of client machines) would be the systems archetypical user. Now, Im hoping the company is preparing to matriculate to bigger sites and tougher sells.

Matthew Rothenberg is online editor for Ziff Davis Medias Baseline and CIO Insight magazines. He can be reached at