Browsing Posts tagged Mac

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…

As a followup to my last blog post, Forrester recently published a really interesting research report on Macs in the Enterprise called “People Are Bringing Macs To Work — It’s Time To
Repeal Prohibition”
by David K. Johnson. The basic premise of the article is that people want to use their Macs for and that IT departments should let them. And it goes through several steps and solutions for customers to use when considering or implementing Macs in the Enterprise. Needless to say we not only agree with this but see it every day with our ExtremeZ-IP customers.

I was also very interested to see the slew of comments that accommodated this report. There were a few articles written about this report but the one that took my notice was the ArsTechnica article. They wrote up an extensive article on the report and I spent some time reading the commentary which make for interesting and entertaining reading. The first article is here and then they wrote a followup piece this week which you can read here. There are hundreds of comments but you can see that this subject definitely brings out some passionate responses.

As I have written about before there is certainly a core group of Mac users that typically are in advertising, media & entertainment, print/publishing or any of the creative fields. And there are the Education users and all the home users that would love to use a Mac at work. What we are seeing now are the non-traditional verticals also embracing the Mac. There are lots of reasons for this trend. Consumerization of IT is one. Another is the growing role of Apple in the Enteprise, as iPhones and iPads have made significant inroads. We have seen this with our mobilEcho Mobile File Management solution.  This has resulted in a halo effect and a reconsideration of the Mac as an enterprise client. I am sure there are other trends and they all overlap and intersect at various points.

I expect to see more analyst reports and articles on this subject. As David K. Johnson, the author of the report points out, forward-thinking enterprises will embrace this trend. Others who do not do so at their own peril.

Again, if you are interested in reading the report you can get download it here.

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.

I asked T. Reid Lewis, our President and Founder, to provide a few words about the passing of Steve Jobs. Well said, Reid – Anders

All of us will miss Steve Jobs and the panache that he brought to the evolution of our (now digital) culture and lifestyle.

We can honor his life and achievements by striving to learn from and emulate his style in our own lives and careers. Each one of us has contributions to make and challenges to overcome, and many of the lessons we can learn from Steve can be applied by all us. Here are a few that you can start applying today:

Never settle for “good enough” – always strive for the insanely great outcome and fight to overcome any obstacles

Delight your audience – look for innovations that inspire smiles of gratitude from your customers, clients, friends and families

Move forward – constantly replace the old stuff (starting with your ideas) with better ones and battle the naysayer laggards

Simplify – become the master of less is more and work to hide the complexity so that you can delight your audience and confound your competitors

Go further – once you’ve accomplished your goal, add one more thing to seal your achievement

Yes, I know it might be hard to imagine acting like Steve Jobs but I think that, if he had the chance, Steve Jobs would demand it of you! Now, you’ll have to demand it of yourself. So get going. Which brings us to a final lesson we can learn from Steve Jobs: our time will end.

Thanks, Steve Jobs, for teaching us so much about creating and living!

Today, I’ve asked Reid Lewis, our President and Founder, to share a few thoughts on our latest ExtremeZ-IP 7.2 release – Anders

Yesterday Apple released Lion, an important upgrade to Mac OS X, and GroupLogic is ready with an enhanced version of ExtremeZ-IP. The new ExtremeZ-IP has been improved and extensively tested confirming it supports Apple’s improvements to Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) including its improved security and all of the many functions of Lion that ExtremeZ-IP delivers to Mac users connecting to Windows servers. If your organization supports Mac clients with Windows servers and Active Directory, ExtremeZ-IP is the only solution that can deliver the complete Mac OS X experience integrating Mac and Windows users on Windows infrastructure.

GroupLogic engineers have been working with Apple engineers for months testing Lion with ExtremeZ-IP to ensure that your users can upgrade to Lion with complete confidence that their Windows file server solution will continue to provide unmatched performance and trouble free compatibility. This is the seventh major Mac OS X upgrade that we’ve supported with ExtremeZ-IP and we’re excited that Mac OS X Lion is faster and easier than ever. We’re all enjoying Lion’s cool-iOS inspired features that we’ve been experiencing on our iPads and iPhones. If you’re running older Mac OS systems, I’m happy to report that ExtremeZ-IP is backwards compatible from Lion and Snow Leopard all the way back to Mac OS 9.2 so all of your Macs can safely co-exisit with Macs running Lion.

ExtremeZ-IP bring Lion compatibility to all modern Windows versions including Server versions 2003 through 64-bit 2008 R2. ExtremeZ-IP has proven integration with the enterprise features of Windows Server including Active Directory managed permissions (often a source of trouble for Mac users with SMB), Windows Search, Distributed File System (DFS), Clustering for failover, backup solutions and the wide range of hardware choices and virtualization options available for Windows.

As we have seen over the past couple years, Apple continues to improve AFP, maintaining it’s file copying and directory listing speed advantages over the SMB (Windows file sharing protocol). And since Apple doesn’t control the SMB protocol or the SMB server on Windows, it’s unable to bring its new ideas to SMB making AFP the only way to get the full Mac OS X experience. For example, Apple has had to remove Time Machine support for the SMB protocol because of it’s inability to evolve the SMB protocol to support the needs of this important function. The speedy searches delivered by Network Spotlight are still missing when searching non-Apple servers via SMB while Network Spotlight has been supported by ExtremeZ-IP for years.

At GroupLogic, we hear daily from our customers that they rely on the compatibility and performance of AFP as delivered by ExtremeZ-IP, and the support and rapid response to maintenance issues that they know they can get from GroupLogic.

I encourage you to plan your migration path to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion as soon as practical and be sure to upgrade to ExtremeZ-IP 7.2 first.

As always, please share your thoughts and suggestions with us by writing info@grouplogic.com.

Guest blog post this week by our CTO Derick Naef and his thoughts on last week’s Apple WWDC – Anders. Thanks, Derick!

Apple’s Vision and What it Means for iPads in the Enterprise

I attended my first Apple Worldwide Developer Conference 20 years ago, and even though Steve Jobs would not return for another 7 years, the keynote presentation was always a highly anticipated, electric event.  This year was no different – where else do you see people campout overnight on a San Francisco street to get a good view?  Where do you have people lining up four deep so that the line doesn’t wrap around a city block before the big event? 

For enterprise customers, I think this year’s keynote was more significant than the last few years’ speeches – up there with the unveiling of iOS or the AppStore in 2008.  In his presentation of Lion, iOS 5, and the new iCloud service, Steve Jobs presented Apple’s clear vision for how users will work with documents in the future – and it has important implications for the enterprise.

Jobs said their studies show new users do great amounts of learning to operate Macs until a key point – they start interacting with the file system.  Then all bets are off and the learning curve goes straight up.  Apple’s vision is to completely hide the file system from the user and the iPad is the ultimate example of this – there is no file system from the user’s point of view. Apps are like tiny walled gardens that deal with documents and content only, and the functionality of iCloud mimics this – it focuses on sharing content between apps on different devices, not a cloud file system. Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is moving in this direction as well, and it is a bold vision.

Our corporate, education and government customers have thousands of file servers, with tens of millions of files.  They have complicated, creative workflows that involve interaction with many users and applications.  They deal with document management systems.  They have strict security, regulatory and governance requirements regarding how information is accessed and protected.  They will not be able to embrace this vision of a file system-less future unless it integrated into this infrastructure.

Does this mean Apple doesn’t care about iPads and Macs in the Enterprise?  No – far from it.  In discussions with Apple field reps, our partners and resellers, it is clear that the enterprise adoption of Macs, and iPads in particular, is a key focus of Apple.  Companies in every industry imaginable are piloting iPads – and it is clear that when those pilots conclude, the demand generation for iPads in the enterprise will skyrocket.  I have repeatedly heard talk about pilots of 10-50 iPads increasing to 4,000+ in deployment within 12 months.

Apple has created a game changing new platform that is on the cusp of revolutionizing corporate and education IT.  Apple’s vision for a file system-less future is compelling, but it needs to have tools to fill in the gap between the vision and the reality.  There is a vibrant green field opportunity to help fill this gap, and this is the opportunity that GroupLogic’s products, such as mobilEcho and ExtremeZ-IP, fulfill.

Derick Naef, CTO

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.

The pervasive business role of digital content, combined with pressures to reduce costs and increase business efficiency, has escalated the demand for enterprises to better access, share, and manage digital assets. In an effort to meet this demand, organizations have implemented a variety of Enterprise Content Management and Collaboration solutions.

And while these solutions address some of the functional requirements for storing, indexing and retrieving digital content, in many cases, they fall short in effectively addressing today’s collaboration challenges. In addition, our customers report inherent reliability, ease of use, performance and security issues that impair effective digital content access and sharing between ECM/Collaboration systems and their users. Most importantly, these solutions often lack the ability to handle the more stringent demands of digital content-driven business processes.

Organizations are simultaneously seeking new models to more effectively scale their IT infrastructure.  By moving more IT resources into the cloud, better economies of scale are gained by leveraging demand based capacity allocation.  This shift toward cloud computing is not without its challenges.  The cloud is only effective provided that it serves as an extension of locally deployed applications and operates at a performance comparative to local infrastructure.  In order for the cloud to serve as a meaningful deployment option for ECM/Collaboration systems, the transparent, secure, and high performance movement of digital content into and out of the cloud is essential.

Finally, many ECM/Collaboration solutions aren’t capable of supporting today’s multi-platform environments.  And while this has not had an effect on Windows users, Mac users deal with performance, security, data integrity and management issues everyday arising from the inconsistencies between Windows and Mac environments.

We believe that what are needed are solutions to help bridge the gaps left by today’s ECM and collaboration solutions.  In the coming weeks, you’ll hear more from us about the strategic challenges we all must face to address both today’s and tomorrow’s trends in collaboration and information sharing today.