Browsing Posts in Macs in the Enterprise

Today we announced a new version of our ExtremeZ-IP solution. With ExtremeZ-IP 7.3 we continue to provide the only true solution for seamless integration of Mac Computers and Windows servers. With ExtremeZ-IP 7.3, we continue to make performance improvements and other enhancements that make ExtremeZ-IP the cornerstone of any enterprise Mac and Windows server strategy.

Today, thousands of organizations are using ExtremeZ-IP to meet their business needs. Historically, these have been concentrated in what I would call core Apple strongholds – advertising, media and entertainment, print/publishing, graphic designers, other creative fields, and education – but over the last two years we have seen an increase in interest from non-traditional verticals. This is partially due to the BYOD/Consumerization trend where employees are now either demanding to be able to use Mac Computers at their work or IT departments that are seeing the benefits of allowing employees to choose their platform. ExtremeZ-IP makes this decision a lot easier by providing the seamless integration required to avoid unnecessary help desk calls, performance issue, file corruption issues, incompatibilities and to maintain the integrity of the Mac user experience. With ExtremeZ-IP 7.3, we make this decision even easier.

Another reason for the growth of Mac Computers has been the halo effect of the iPad and iPhone. Clearly, these two products have given Apple unprecedented visibility, and many enterprises have taken a second look at their approach to Apple products. This InfoWorld article, amongst many others, lays it out pretty well from a numbers perspective. And certainly yesterday’s Apple results showed that Mac’s presence in the marketplace is accelerating.

Another interesting item that crossed my desk a few weeks ago was data combining iPad and Mac and showing how adding in iPad drastically changes how you look at Apple. I know this topic gets people all riled up on whether or not iPad is replacing or augmenting desktops/laptops. I don’t think it’s an either/or scenario. But there is no doubt it is having an impact. Far more interesting is that PC sales are decreasing and Mac sales are increasing. And it’s not a subtle difference; it’s very significant. This article from Fortune does a good job of showing the impact and the trajectory. Please note that the second graph is the correct chart and that this chart came out before yesterday’s results.

From our point of view, we are in the business of supporting new platforms as they get implemented in the enterprise. We have done that for over 10 years with ExtremeZ-IP and today we continued and enhanced our support. With the increase of Mac usage in the enterprise there are many more opportunities in front of us. With mobilEcho, iPad and iPhone can also now be integrated into any environment. At the heart of what we are doing its really not just about platforms, but really about giving users seamless access to files with a lot of value add functionality and an enterprise focus on security and management.

Stay tuned for more new stuff from us in the next couple of months. Things are going to be happening very quickly…

Windows IT Pro magazine recently completed a review of our ExtremeZ-IP solution and gave it 4.5 out of 5! Needless to say, we are pretty excited about this and just wanted to share this article. ExtremeZ-IP is used by thousands of organizations around the world and is considered by many to be the gold standard for providing seamless file access for Macintosh clients in Windows server environments. It simply takes care of all the problems, big and small, that users encounter when trying to integrate these two disparate worlds. And the Windows IT Pro review confirms what these thousands of customers already know – it solves their problems.

In the year since I joined the company I have seen some interesting trends in our ExtremeZ-IP customers. While we have always been strong in the obvious Mac fields – education, advertising, print/publishing, media &entertainment, and other creative fields – we are also seeing other companies in non-traditional verticals opening up to the idea of supporting the Mac. So we are seeing the evolution of IT consumerization right before our very eyes. And we see the same thing with the Apple in the Enterprise trend. We see it both on the desktop/laptop side with our ExtremeZ-IP business as well as on the mobility side with our mobilEcho business. The interest level in ExtremeZ-IP (as measured by leads) has almost doubled over the last year. We are seeing more interest now than we have ever seen. The pace really started to accelerate with the introduction of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and we see no sign of this slowing down.

And it’s easy to see why this is happening. ExtremeZ-IP provides true enterprise integration of Macintosh clients into Windows server environments, and addresses all the key issues, including:
• Compatibility – problems with file corruption, file permissions, application lockups and file names disappear.
• Performance – ExtremeZ-IP consistently provides a higher performing experience than competitive solutions.
• Maintains the Mac experience for the user – ExtremeZ-IP ensures Mac users maintain the full range of the Mac experience, such as spotlight search, whereas other solutions result in degraded user functionality
• Management and security – for the IT organization, management is made easy and security is maintained with integration into Active Directory.

So if you get a chance take a look at the Windows IT Pro review. Or better yet, just download our free trial and take it for a spin yourself.

Earlier this week, Group Logic announced a new version of our popular ExtremeZ-IP software.  This falls hot on the heels of one of our best quarters ever – in part due to growing revenue generated by ExtremeZ-IP.  So, why the big fuss over ExtremeZ-IP?  Why is this humble, unassuming Windows-based AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) server continuing to grow in popularity even after having been on the market for over ten years?

The answer, it turns out, is simple. It’s because the number of Macs used in today’s enterprise environment has grown – quite a bit.  In fact, Gartner recently reported that the number of Macs in the enterprise is on its way to doubling between 2009 and 2013 (see footnote 1).  And Gartner’s not alone in its findings… Forrester Research echoes Gartner’s data and reports that Mac penetration into the enterprise grew to 3.6% in March of 2009.  And when you project out the Forrester data, Macs will comprise almost 5% of the average enterprise by the end of this year (see footnote 2).

And of course, as the number of Macs grow in the enterprise, so do their user’s demands for transparent access to enterprise services and assets – including content on Windows file servers – an area where ExtremeZ-IP excels.

So, it’s not surprising, that IT administrators now find themselves in the interesting position of having to respond to Mac users who expect the same level of security, performance, reliability, and overall service as has been afforded their Windows counterparts.  And why not?  Mac users are no less deserving of IT attention – are they?  Well, perhaps that’s the subject of another blog… on another day.

But wait, there’s encouraging news for Mac users who were not always welcomed by IT.  According to ITIC, 73% of global IT administrators are saying they will likely allow Macs in the enterprise in the coming year (see footnote 3).

And if the growth in ExtremeZ-IP is any indication of this, it’s clear that IT administrators are on the bandwagon.

(1) “Gartner Predicts 2010: PC End-User Issues”, Gartner Research, December 2009
(2) “Corporate Desktop Operating System Trends, Q3 2008 to Q2 2009”, Forrester Research, July 2009
(3) “The Year in Apple”, MarketWatch, December 2009

Apple iPad sales hit 2 million last week – a milestone few companies or products have ever achieved… let alone in their first two months of sales.  And while iPads have yet to significantly impact the enterprise, it has become apparent to most global enterprises that the Mac has grown in both presence and relevance.  In fact, more and more companies today are offering their employees Mac and Windows options for their personal desktop environment.  This not only makes for happier users, it also helps to ensure that already productive Mac users remain that way.

Further, this trend has spread to include, not only the traditional media, broadcasting, and advertising verticals that one might expect, but also unfamiliar territories such as financial services and technology as well. News from Google this week reveals that, due to security concerns, they are moving away from Windows PCs enterprise-wide, in favor of Mac and Linux clients.

And yet, with today’s growing base of Mac users accessing a primarily Windows-based enterprise, fundamental differences between the Mac and Windows operating systems can make the integration between Macs and Windows a significant challenge.  Most fundamentally, Mac performance and file integrity can be compromised because of incompatibilities between Windows and Mac OS X operating systems – largely caused by the differences in the file sharing protocols they are designed to use.  In the Windows case, file sharing is conducted using the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, which lacks many of the capabilities included in the Mac’s default Apple Filing Protocol (AFP).

And, as Mac users encounter data integrity issues or become dissatisfied with system performance, they naturally turn to the Help Desk, which has seen a significant increase in inbound calls from Mac users who simply need a way to share data with Windows-based systems.

What’s needed is a solution that ensures transparency between Mac and Windows, in what is becoming less and less a Windows-centric world.