Xserve's death not a deterrent for many IT admins

Those IT administrators who felt suckerpunched by Steve Jobs' decision to nix the Xserve seem to be recovering just fine.

There wasn't exactly weeping and gnashing of teeth (at least that we know of), but a lot of loyal Mac users in IT departments were seriously disappointed a few weeks ago when Apple said that as of January 31 the assembly line churning out the Xserve would be permanently halted. There was talk from some of ditching Macs altogether at work in a fit of bitter disappointment, and in light of some anticipated major technical challenges.

With a few … Read more

RIM calls news reports from India 'inaccurate'

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion says news reports suggesting that it's close to an agreement to provide India with lawful access to monitor and access network data are "inaccurate" and "misleading."

One story CNET found, published yesterday in the Indian paper Mint, quotes an unnamed senior official from India's Home Ministry who said that an agreement is near that would give the Indian government access to the encrypted data on RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES).

"They have in principle agreed to provide us recorded data from their servers," the senior home … Read more

Energy management software field gets crowded

EnerNoc, an efficiency software company, today introduced its line of business software geared toward helping companies better control their spending on energy.

The Boston-based company is well-established in the area of demand response; utilities contract with EnerNoc to manage contracts with corporations which agree to dial down energy use during peak times.

Utilities are increasingly tapping demand-response resources as they plan for future power capacity needs. Instead of turning on an auxiliary power plant during a time of high demand, such as a hot summer afternoon, hundreds or thousands of businesses or consumers will agree to scale back electricity consumption. … Read more

Red Hat announces Enterprise Linux 6

Red Hat today announced the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, the latest release of its operating platform, saying it is designed to support the new enterprise architectures of today, whether physical, virtual, or cloud-based.

The company said the new release includes "hundreds of technical feature enhancements" that are designed to improve agility, reduce costs, and reduce IT complexity. It also includes a range of updated server and desktop apps. More importantly, the company said the new release is designed to be as "future proof" as possible.

Pricing was not announced, but the company is … Read more

IT admins mourn Xserve's death

Not many MacBook or iPhone users are going to weep over the cancellation of an Apple server.

In fact, they probably didn't know Apple even made them. But when Apple announced it was shutting down production of the Xserve effective January 31, a very specific group of people took notice.

The Apple faithful inside corporate IT departments large and small are feeling jilted by Apple's sudden cold feet in the enterprise computing market. And though the announcement came last last week, the full impact of Apple's decision is still being absorbed.

Apple's own support forums are … Read more

Will the IT guy learn to love Apple?

When you're listening to music, it's likely your earbuds are plugged into an Apple device. Making a phone call? One out of every five people buying a smartphone are choosing an iPhone. And Apple's share of consumer laptop sales jumped to 10.6 percent in the last quarter.

Now here's the big question: Does your IT department, the guys who think it's just fine that you're still using a Windows XP laptop (and P.S., stop whining about it), give a hoot about all this Apple stuff?

Apple executives hope so. The pitch the company has been making in recent months is simple: Employees are already using plenty of Apple products on their own time and like them, and the iPad is a great, lightweight tool for Web-based corporate software. If you thought this was just lip service, Apple is even now working with the decidedly old-school consultants at Unisys to approach big corporate and government customers.

If Apple can make these sorts of corporate inroads, it could be Steve Jobs' greatest trick yet, because he's got a lot going against him in the corporate market. As of the third quarter of 2010, Apple sold 1.4 million of the 40.8 million computers sold to commercial customers, according to data gathered by IDC. That's 3.6 percent of all corporate computer sales.

Blame history...and inertia. Large companies usually have a contract with a Windows-based PC seller, often a third party. Switching contractors could result in higher costs and a lot of hassle, and can also be stymied by an old-school perception among the often conservative IT outfits at large companies that Macs are "toys," and can't integrate easily with Windows-based systems. On the mobile side, corporate IT shops long ago became comfortable working with Research In Motion's Blackberry; supporting the iPhone could add new complexity and potentially more cost to their work. Many people don't even know Apple sells servers. (It does.) And the iPad? Well, you could argue the touch-screen tablet computing market didn't exist a year ago.

Andrew Kaiser, a former Apple business sales manager who hawked enterprise systems to companies of all sizes until recently, said often the biggest barriers in selling were opinions formed sometimes decades ago, before Office for Mac, before virtualization, and before Apple switched to Intel chips. "Some had no idea Apple could integrate into a Windows platform," he recalled.

Employees like Thomas Caleshu, an interactive producer for educational software maker WestEd, have seen that firsthand. Caleshu is an iPhone and Mac user outside of work, and though he said there were no technical issues in getting his company's IT guys to add his iPhone and MacBook to the network, they were definitely skeptical.

"Some of the established IT people didn't trust or believe that I could sync my calendar on my phone, and on iCal on my Mac, and in a (corporate) Web interface," he said. "I had to prove it to them." … Read more

Is enterprise energy management the new CRM?

Corporations crunch a lot of numbers on a lot of things but businesses, just like consumers, don't have a very good grasp on energy spending.

Software start-up ENXSuite today is releasing an updated version of its energy management software, one of many companies trying to bring stricter accounting to costs related to natural resources, including water, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions.

ENXSuite, which has some 24 announced customers, competes with start-ups Hara Software, which launched last year, and C3, a still stealthy company with Tom Siebel and Condoleezza Rice on its board. Companies in more specialized areas, such as … Read more

Adobe completes Day Software acquisition

Adobe yesterday completed its $240 million takeover of content management system vendor Day Software.

With the acquisition now a done deal, Day will operate as a new product line within Adobe's Digital Enterprise Solutions Business Unit. Day Chief Executive Officer Erik Hansen will report directly to Rob Tarkoff, senior vice president and general manager of the unit. The rest of Day's senior management have also joined Adobe.

Due to remain in its home base of Switzerland, Day makes a content management system geared for enterprise customers. The company's flagship software suite, called CQ5, offers Web content, digital … Read more

Putting employees' smartphones to work

Two years ago, casino giant Harrah's Entertainment needed to cut costs. One of the first places managers looked was cell phones.

As the company evaluated its business, one of the quickest and least painful ways to reduce its yearly budget by more than $1 million a year was to change its cell phone policy. Specifically, the company started allowing its employees to use their own cell phones for work.

"We looked at the cell phone market penetration, which is close to 100 percent, and we realized that everyone already has their own cell phone," said Mark Cross, … Read more

iPhone, Android give RIM insecurity complex

Research in Motion's BlackBerry may soon lose its lock on the enterprise market, as companies look to add support for more consumer friendly smartphones--like Android and iPhone devices--and the BlackBerry's vaunted security features become less unique.

RIM has built its business on providing mobile e-mail and messaging services to corporate users. Thousands of companies use BlackBerry exclusively for mobile communications. And the company dominates the market with well over 60 percent market share. Much of the corporate loyalty stems from the company's reputation for strong device management and security. But a major shift is underway as IT … Read more