By Barry Levine / Data Storage Today. Updated July 01, 2008.
Five software companies announced Monday that they have created the Enterprise Desktop Alliance to help welcome Macs into Windows-based enterprises.
The founding members -- Parallels, Atempo, Centrify, Group Logic, and LANrev -- said enterprises "can easily integrate Macs and achieve the same level of control, security, policy compliance, and service that they currently have with their Windows platforms."
Helping to Avoid IT Headaches
Peter Frankl, founder and CEO of LANrev, added that the popularity of Macs among employees does not mean headaches for IT administrators. He said the alliance is "determined" to help companies integrate Macs in ways that reduce the total cost of ownership and increase the platform's acceptance.
The alliance plans a series of events, including Webcasts and seminars, as well as white papers, product information, and related resources on its Web site at www.enterprisedesktopalliance.com.
Each of the founding companies offers Mac-oriented products that can be part of overall solutions. These include enterprise data protection from Atempo, virtualization from Parallels, identity and access management from Centrify, file and print services from Group Logic, and systems life-cycle management from LANrev.
'Can't Ignore Macs'
Mark Margevicius, a research director at industry research firm Gartner, noted that one key player is missing from the alliance -- Apple. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has not been placing much emphasis on Macs in the corporate world, he pointed out, concentrating more on style and features than on the higher level of warranty, management tools, and integration that enterprise computer platforms require.
At the same time, he said, "there is an increased level of interest, of pressure, from employees to use Macs." He said there are a variety of reasons for this, including the experience of employees in using Macs or iPods at home, and the resistance of some enterprise users to move to Windows Vista. That resistance to Vista, he added, has created "a vacuum" in the enterprise for current-generation operating systems.
The alliance, Margevicius said, is essentially trying to "backfill the areas that Apple is not providing."
Mike Silver, a research vice president at Gartner, said the alliance's efforts could be a good thing for companies that are coming to the realization that they "can't ignore Macs any longer," even if they are not actively adopting them.
He added that the alliance "is a group of vendors that hopes it can increase awareness of solutions by the sum of its parts," at least initially through the solutions that each company offers. How much more help the alliance will be able to offer, Silver said, depends on such factors as whether more companies join, if the alliance provides a forum for the general Mac and enterprise community, and, of course, if Apple adds its weight to the effort.