Big Headache

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Microsoft deserves credit for shipping an operating system with an IPv6 network stack ready to go, but making it the default will be a headache for IT. Why? Because a huge chunk of the network security monitoring equipment that IT departments have installed can’t inspect IPv6 packets, and that makes them a potential security hole big enough to drive lawsuits through in our era of compliance.

Mac OS X: It’s IT-Friendly

In contrast, Apple has been changing the Mac OS to be more, not less, IT-friendly. For one thing, it’s now Unix, a technology that IT shops are very familiar with and trust. For another, OS X now runs on Intel processors. Macintoshes, while still better designed than most PCs, are no longer idiosyncratic boxes that are troublesome to manage.

Equally important are the new features in Leopard that are designed to help IT manage end-user needs. Most dramatic, of course, is the Time Machine tool. It comes standard in OS X Version 5. If Windows users lose an old file or want to return to a prior version of a document, their first recourse is to call the IT help desk. After lost passwords, lost files are the next most common help desk request. With Time Machine, Mac users get a visual excursion through a time line of their files. When they locate the old file, they can simply click on it to restore it for immediate use.

Then there’s Boot Camp, the Leopard tool that lets Mac users run Windows or Mac apps natively on a single machine. So even IT shops with a Windows-heavy app portfolio can upgrade their end users to Macs and still deliver Windows software to them.

I’m guessing long-held prejudices against the Mac will prevail this year, which is why you’re right, Frank. The Great Vista Fiasco of 2007 will have a greater impact than Leopard. And that’s a shame.

See Frank Hayes' prediction that Vista Is IT's Big Opportunity

Don't miss the rest of Forecast 2007.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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