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January 16, 2008

Your next Unix platform?

Go ahead and snigger, or scoff. Dismiss another version of Unix if you want. But when you're considering a replacement for the HP 3000 in your enterprise, you could think beyond Windows. Being at MacWorld this week, as I have been, makes it easier to promote Apple's OS X as your next MPE/iX alternative.

We have posted stories about enterprise level applications on our blog last year, during the 2007 MacWorld. But never mind about this year's Steve Jobs Turtleneck Talk, sending out hours of hot air with the new MacBook Air portable. This conference also has an IT track, where the advice to managers mentioned a major change for Apple's environment.

OS X is now one of just four Unix implementations with official certification:

The official UNIX 03 certification, which entitled the company to use the Unix brand came from the Open Group thanks in part to the efforts of Apple's OS boss Kevin Van Vechten and his team and puts Mac OS X Leopard alongside the Big Three: Sun, IBM, and HP, according to Infoworld.

Of those three, HP really wants to sell the 3000 customer HP-UX. Except oops, that environment doesn't have a desktop client. OS X does. Sure cuts down on the learning curve.

Then there's the question of app availability. There are company suppliers for large enterprises here, though not the SAP-level solution peddlers. But that absence is not really a bad thing for the average HP 3000 shop, serving a small to medium business (SMB)

A few examples show the range:

Hansaworld Enterprise, just entering the US after 70,000 customers landed in 90 countries. Not all of it OS X; the vast suite of ERP, CRM and all that surrounds those key apps, well, it runs under Windows and Linux, too.

MacPractice, a series of programs to serve the small medical practice. So tailored they've got magnetic imaging, dentist, family practice and even chiropractic versions. The HP 3000 has a dental practice solution, so MacPractice could step in. Even work under that standard Unix.

Lightspeed, a Point of Sale and e-commerce integrated solution for retail sites. Web sales, storefront — you can even check on daily sales from an iPhone.

There's more, like a slick shipping package that prints the 4x6 labels on standard Avery forms, updated at $20 a month with the latest UPS and USPS rates and rules.

The biggest impetus to starting the shift to Mac OS X turns out to be tradition: the traditional think tank report from the likes of Gartner, claiming OS X isn't enterprise ready. (Don't tell that to Genentech, which has been running its company on Macs for many years.)

The other roadblock will be the remaining IT staff, often versed and comfortable in the Windows solutions. At the IT Conference here, the customers who spoke suggested a sell to your company's top execs. Most of the time on the desktop, the calls are 1:10, Macs to Windows machines. That's productivity for both users and help desks.

Finally, there's a swelling support for open source solutions that work well with OS X. The 3000 sites that are leaning toward Linux will do well to measure open source options for both Linux and OS X.

By the way, some of your community's most savvy developers are using Macs on their desktops now. And loving it, even after years of Windows. You don't need to wear a black turtleneck to believe them, either.

02:48 PM in Migration, Newsmakers | Permalink

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