Stop the Noiz

Apple Is 'Enterprise Ready', Whatever That Means

Frank Fox - 2008.07.15 - Tip Jar

You've heard it before: The new iPhone is "enterprise ready", and if you missed it, Apple has it posted on its home page.

Then there are the articles talking about whether Apple, the Mac, or the iPhone are really ready for "enterprise".

Maybe you don't know what they really mean by enterprise. Don't feel bad; the judge in the Oracle trial didn't like how the definition kept changing either.

To help out, I did some research to find out what the heck "enterprise" and "enterprise business" really means. The first thing I did was a Google search, and I found this simple definition: "...an enterprise is an organization that uses computers."

That was easy, so what is the big deal? Well the definition is really broad and includes everything from small businesses to giant corporations to charities. The word has also taken on a special elite status, for both the big name software vendors like SAP and Oracle and the businesses who use their software.

Because this is all a foreign language for me, I called for help and gained some clarity from another Low End Mac author, Jason Packer. He works in the IT business, and he shared some of his wisdom on this issue.

You're absolutely right that "enterprise" is a flexible word. Sometimes it is synonymous with "business", as you have suggested, but more often it is used to differentiate the size of the business. You see it broken down into Small Business, Large Business, and Enterprise. Some define it to mean a business with multiple office locations connected by a WAN rather than just a single location, as that adds another layer of complexity to the technology. I have worked in situations where "enterprise" implied not so much size as capacity - how quickly could capacity be added if needed, and reliability - do these resources need "five nines" uptime or is it acceptable to have some downtime built into the operation.

So I can't give you a clear-cut answer, except to say that when people say that "Macs are not ready for the enterprise," they usually mean they don't play well with existing Windows infrastructure, rather than that they're inappropriate for use as a database server or for dynamic web applications.

Jason

So there you have it, "enterprise" has become a fancy word to imply that you use not only software for your business, but that it's complex and probably very expensive. If you want to use the word for the original purpose, you still can, but depending on the situation you may confuse others, especially a judge.

Just remember that the word "enterprise" came into use to help us separate out the software used for consumers, like Windows XP, MS Office, Internet Explorer, Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, etc.

Oh wait, those are all programs used by consumers and businesses, so I guess it's not always clear what is for business and what can be used by consumers. One thing is for sure; you probably don't have any software from Oracle running at home for fun.

So are Apple, the Mac, and the iPhone "Enterprise Ready"? Of course they are - depending on who you are talking about, what type of software they run, and if their IT department isn't completely scared of anything new and untested.

In this case, I think we'll have a few more years of argument about whether or not Apple is truly ready. LEM

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