Monday, August 31, 2009

Is Apple OS enterprise ready? Check out with Gartner

Apple Inc's soon to be on board operating system, Snow Leopard does not signal enterprise readiness, even though is noted for its native support of Microsoft Exchange 2007, stated analyst firm Gartner.

Snow Leopard, which runs exclusively on Intel-based Macs, includes full 64-bit support, Grand Central Dispatch (which allows programmers to more easily use multicore processors), OpenCL (to more fully utilise the power of graphics processors), and Exchange support for Apple mail, contacts and calendar.

From a business perspective, the most important feature is the ability for the Mac e-mail client to access Microsoft Exchange (2007 version only) in a native fashion.

The Mac client binds to Exchange Web Services (EWS) via its web services application programming interface (API), not the traditional messaging application programming interface (MAPI), which is difficult to write to and maintain.

Gartner analysts Mike Silver and Matt Cain said that they expect this ability combined with an improved version of Entourage, the e-mail client in Microsoft's Office: Mac would result in growing end-user demand for IT groups to grant support for the Mac.

According to Gartner, while native support for Exchange would allow users to run their Macs at work more easily, this does not mean that Macs can more easily replace Windows PCs in most organizations.

"Apple is not addressing business needs for service or support, and most organizations will continue to require Windows to run a majority of their applications. Furthermore, to the extent Mac users may still require Office, either natively onMac OS or running in a Windows virtual machine, native Exchange support, which does not support Outlook personal store files (PSTs), will address only part of the user need," added the analysts.

The analyst firm recommends businesses to understand the various ways Macs can support Exchange.

Mike Silver and Matt Cain noted, "Even if you don't officially support Macs, you will likely need to provide some assistance to users who are running them. Don't assume that because Apple is making Macs easier to integrate into the enterprise, the company is entering the corporate market. Also, understand that this development will not allow Macs to easily replace Windows PCs in most cases,"

For IT groups, Gartner recommends preparing to handle requests for Mac integration into corporate networks. Before granting widespread support for Macs, consider the full range of user needs and Apple's ability to offer corporate-grade support.

It advises to continue investing in web-oriented architecture and service-oriented architecture, which would help in becoming more OS-neutral and allow more choice in hardware and software.

"If you run web applications, move these forward to support the emerging set of Web standards, such as HTML5 and CSS2.1, and interoperability protocols such as OpenID and oAuth," said the analysts


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