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Mac in the Enterprise: An Odyssey
Pages: 1, 2, 3

The Next Step

By late 2001 I was comfortable enough with the new system that I began to roll it out to the enterprise. We now have about 99 percent of our Macs upgraded to Mac OS X 10.1.5 and running with hardly a hitch. There is only one application (terminal emulation) that we still need to run under OS 9 (technically speaking, it runs in Classic mode under OS X), and it's coming under fire.

There is now at least one OS X commercial terminal emulation program with the advanced features we need to access our legacy system. I have tested the trial version and found it to be an elegant, functional program that indeed runs natively under OS X. Rumor has it that the next major release of OS X (v. 10.2, code-named Jaguar) will include a much more advanced Terminal program, which should have all of the features we need for terminal emulation, but also more advanced features for System and Network Administration.

Given the current state of the economy, all of these developments in the Mac world have come at a most opportune time. Any IS Manager must feel the pressure, whether from upper management or just from reading the news, to keep IT costs at an absolute minimum. Without the open source/open support that has evolved over the past year or two, we would not have been able to make the significant improvements in Systems and Network Administration that we have seen at Aqua-Flo.

As the level of sophistication grows, we will be able to keep closer tabs on performance and develop more effective ways to keep performance optimized. While it may require some additional man-hours to do the monitoring and optimizing of the growing list of server and network equipment, we have already proven that the gains in performance can outweigh the additional labor costs.

On the software front, the emergence of low-cost and open source development tools means that we can devote a larger fraction of our resources to obtaining the key personnel and advanced hardware that will be needed to support a full-fledged e-Commerce site. We will be able to produce a more functional, more scalable solution than would have been possible just a couple of years ago. At the same time, the technologies that are used in modern Web site development will be available to us for the development of new approaches to data access and information sharing. We will be able to provide management with direct access to critical data, bypassing cumbersome report-writing procedures. We will be able to provide employee access to corporate forms, policies and procedures, and open selected company information and applications to access by selected customers or vendors.

The Thrill is Back

From my perspective, the opportunity to apply the unique capabilities of the Mac platform to traditional Systems and Network Administration, as well as to be involved in ground breaking new Web technologies is extremely exciting. The Mac is emerging as the new platform of choice for more and more IS/IT managers, validating the decision that many users made years ago.

Marley Graham is IS Manager for Aqua-Flo Supply, a distributor of irrigation supplies in Southern California.

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