Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

Summary: Quoth The Maven evermore: "Prepare for Apple's gentle rapping, a-tapping at your data center door."

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TOPICS: Apple
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Once upon a midday bleary, while I pondered, posts of query, Over a single quaint and curious button of foreshadowed advice – While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my data center door – "'Tis some inquisitor," I muttered, "tapping on my Apple device – Only this and nothing more."*

Apple has always focused on the consumer and it remains so today. But, will Apple be able to stay out of the data center? No, not by choice, they won't. As fast as Apple can manufacture them, iPhones and iPads are beginning to pierce corporate walls. It won't be long until Apple products become standard fare in meetings, in cubicles and in the data centers of the world's largest companies. Why? Functionality. Agility. Usability. Ubiquity. Economy.

Economy? Oh, yes, economy. Remember my discussions of 'bring your own device' in The Great DebateThe answer to the BYOD question is virtualization or BYOD: The inevitable reality?

Bringing your own Apple devices to work--and you know you own more than one--will be an extreme cost savings for companies of all sizes. And, as I've said before, why not use something that you like and that you're familiar with? Cost savings. Happy employees. Seems like a good fit to me.

But how does BYOD bring Apple into the data center?

Good question.

What product now "ships" with every Apple device? If you said, "iCloud," you're correct. The iCloud service runs on server systems. Those server systems are in--wait for it--data centers. As Apple adoption grows in the corporate space, so will iCloud. Large companies will need a lot of space for documents, data, email, contacts and other files.

Do you see where this is going now?

If not, let me spare your brain cells. Enterprises will demand enterprise-level storage. Apple will have to supply it.

There are three ways that Apple could do this.

The first way is to have the standard Apple-branded iCloud services rendered from an Apple data center as it is now. The second, and more interesting way, is to have an Apple-branded private iCloud service that resides in corporate data centers. This means that your iCloud-based documents and data are completely separate from the millions of consumer iCloud user's data. Interesting? I think so.

Of course, the third option is to have a hybrid iCloud that stores your corporate data in your private iCloud and your personal data in the public iCloud via profiles. Profiles relate to the concept of virtualized devices and services on your physical devices. Your corporate profile would be separate and distinct from your personal one and never the twain shall meet. They would be partitioned off securely from one another.

Apple's core business will remain consumer-oriented but the consumers are going to be corporate consumers. That will change Apple. It will make Apple the most powerful technical company in the world.

If I were in any position to do so, I'd be taking an Apple executive to dinner to discuss the future of Apple in the enterprise and how I could get in on the wave through a partnership. Someone will need to build that private iCloud infrastructure. Someone will need to support it. And, someone will need to stay behind and count the money.

Apple is headed to the data centers of the world, whether they like it or not.

* First stanza from "The Maven" by Ken Hess.

Topic: Apple

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

    Apple is a one-trick pony. Unless of course if you consider OS X to be any type of "success".<br><br>Basically, Apple has one successful line of products, the same basic hardware in slightly different form factors (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch) plus the supporting software (iTunes). That is where their success ends.<br><br>What people seem to ignore is that something shinier could come along and wipe out that single line of Apple products. Game over for Apple.<br><br>We are already seeing that Android is outselling iPhone by a very large margin. Expectations are now being lowered for the iPad due to consumer interest in The Kindle Fire.
    Qbt
    • How would you define success...

      How would you define success, then? Apple holds 12% of the U.S. market share. That makes them the 3rd largest PC manufacturer in the U.S., and tied for the 5th largest PC manufacturer in the world.
      olePigeon
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @olePigeon

        Except in the big picture (you know, that thing called "The World"), they only have 6.46% share (and please do look at the graph below to get some context).

        http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=9&qpcustomb=0&qpct=2

        You also conveniently leave out the fact that essentially *all* of the other PC manufacturers ship *Windows* on their computers. So while it sounds all impressive that Apple is "tied for 5th largest" in the world, when you add up the overall size of all the other PC manufacturers that ship *Windows*, then yes, OS X is quite a big failure.
        Qbt
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @Qbt

        [i]"Except in the big picture (you know, that thing called "The World"), they only have 6.46% share..."[/i]

        I believe I mentioned that.

        [i]"You also conveniently leave out the fact that essentially *all* of the other PC manufacturers ship *Windows* on their computers."[/i]

        That sounds like a win for Microsoft, not for PC manufacturers.

        [i]"So while it sounds all impressive that Apple is "tied for 5th largest" in the world, when you add up the overall size of all the other PC manufacturers that ship *Windows*, then yes, OS X is quite a big failure."[/i]

        As I mentioned in a different reply, you're under the false impression that Apple has to compete with Microsoft to be successful. OS X is very successful because it helps sell the computers and laptops (and its derivative, iOS, sells iPods, iPhones, and iPads.) Apple generates more revenue through sales of their Macintosh desktop and laptops (note, that does [i]not[/i] include iPod, iPad, or iPhone) than Microsoft does from sales of Windows; by that virtue, OS X is a [i]huge[/i] success.

        http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/09/29/guess-who-generates-more-revenue-apple-or-microsoft/
        olePigeon
        • So...

          When Apple is winning, they are winning, but when they aren't winning, they are still winning? Ok fanboy.
          jamz2277
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @Qbt - I love it when people point to market share and imply if you don't have >50% you are a market failure. Lets look at the car industry for example. Compare BMW with GM. GM has to beg for federal money which is actually tax payers money just to stay afloat....meanwhile BMW which only sells a fraction of cars is doing quite well for itself and is in no pressure to constantly squeeze the supply chain to cut costs. Brand loyalty is so important but you only get that by taking your time, being precise and maintaining consistent customer satisfaction. I'd rather be a Apple shareholder than a Dell shareholder.
        global.philosopher
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        It's just the fanboy rhetoric... Apple is held to extremely high standards. The funny thing is that Apple's haters hold them to a much higher standard then everyone else. Every new product update must be [i]revolutionary[/i], and every product line must outsell every other product on the market combined in order for them to successful. <br>Even AppleTV which is gleefully derided as an abject failure by the haters has consistently been profitable for Apple. <br>Most companies would pray for the success of Apple's least successful product lines.
        Tigertank
      • So what.

        @olePigeon

        OS has one vendor
        Hardware has one vendor - same as OS vendor.
        My IT is now held hostage by that vendor.

        Who in their right mind would follow that path unless they had no other option.
        Let other OEM's license OSX and iOS and I would give it a serious look.

        Till then, drawing into the Apple model would not be risk adverse and a discredit to company shareholders.
        rhonin
      • So what.

        @olePigeon
        rhonin
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @olePigeon Apple and its fans love to twist figures to make them look good. But in reality Apple is and always will be a consumer brand with high profit margins. I don't take anything away from the success they have had of late with that business model. But it has nothing to do with Enterprise. The dream of Apple has never been a PC in every Office. Being 5th in overall computer sales is not saying much.
        jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @rhonin

        "My IT is now held hostage by that vendor.
        Who in their right mind would follow that path unless they had no other option.
        Let other OEM's license OSX and iOS and I would give it a serious look."

        If you've ever worked in a business with any kind of entrenched ERP or CRM system, you'd understand that most large businesses put a lot of eggs into a "one-vendor" basket. In a lot of cases that's the nature of the beast.

        Luckily, OS and hardware is largely a commodity, though, with Apple's part pricing and no "business-level" hardware support similar to that offered by Dell and HP, I would agree with you that their machines would be a pretty poor choice on which to run a business.
        daftkey
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @olePigeon And Ubuntu is the 3rd largest desktop OS in the world. Relative ranks don't really mean much.
        daengbo
    • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

      @Qbt

      Yeah, if outpacing the PC industry in sales growth is a 1 trick pony sign me up. Their Mac sales have been doing better than the industry for a while now.

      You forget Mac and OSX sales are doing quite well. And bringing Microsoft's market share down.
      itguy10
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @itguy10<br><br>Once again, please look at this graph and tell me OS X is "doing quite well". The increase in share is so slow that it would take decades to overtake Windows.

        http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=9&qpcustomb=0&qpct=2

        There all sorts of creative ways to make the tiny gains look impressive, but if you look past all the magical statistics that shows how a tiny percentage grew by a large amount, you realize it is just the same as always - floundering near the bottom of the graph.
        Qbt
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @Qbt

        [i]The increase in share is so slow that it would take decades to overtake Windows."[/i]

        You say that like it's a bad thing. What it tells me is that Microsoft has grown complacent in their market dominance that other companies pulling the rug out from under their feet. Steve Ballmer isn't helping to lead them anywhere except down.

        [i]"...you realize it is just the same as always - floundering near the bottom of the graph."[/i]

        Until it isn't, then it's too late.
        olePigeon
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @olePigeon

        LOL. "Pulling the rug out from under their feet" implies something that happens fast. Not in 30 years' time. Do the math, it is pretty simple.

        The Mac's marketshare has been going up and down for decades now. It is not even close to its all-time high. These little fluctuations end up being nothing in the big picture, but they do excite some small group of people a lot it seems. Hey man, whatever makes you sleep better at night.
        Qbt
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @Qbt... Market Share is the wrong metric. Do you think shareholders give a rip about market share? No. Shareholders care about growth, and Apple has it. Apple's Stock price is 19x P/E but they have a PEG ratio of only a .5, which means the company is growing like crazy, making the stock at near $400 per share fairly cheap. But that also means that it is expected that the company will continue to grow at a pretty good clip, and has plenty of room to grow.

        Microsoft only sells for 9.4x P/E, and has a PEG ratio of .8. Still good in its own right, but here is the difference. Microsoft is saturated in the Market, and has many products that just don't see any growth. Really it is like comparing Chipolte to Buffalo Wild Wings. Apple is like Chipolte, they own the product, the stores, etc and has significant growth capabilities, whereas Microsoft is like Buffalo Wild Wings, the bulk of its growth is from franchise operators which sure helps to grab market share, but has very little to get investors excited. This means Chipolte and Apple can command a much higher earnings multiple for the stock price in that they own the product and the distribution venues, have more room to grow, and not care if they don't have 80% marketshare.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh

        "Microsoft only sells for 9.4x P/E, and has a PEG ratio of .8. Still good in its own right, but here is the difference. Microsoft is saturated in the Market, and has many products that just don't see any growth. "

        The share price argument is one you have to take with a little more context as well. Microsoft stock is seen as a lot less risky than Apple's, and it is a dividend-issuing stock. Because of this, you wouldn't expect the rate of growth from Microsoft as you would with Apple, but along with that you also wouldn't expect the same volatility.

        Apple stockholders are lucky that Apple has been able to take risks (tremendous risks) and hasn't lost on any of those bets yet.

        What can be a problem, however, is that if you buy the stock now (at $400 and seeming "cheap") and Apple all of a sudden releases one or two very expensive stinkers, the market will punish Apple far more harshly than they would punish a company like Microsoft.
        daftkey
    • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

      @Qbt

      Well, OS X/mac can be considered a success in a metric which matters very much to businesses: profit.

      Their share of computer-making profit is much higher than their market share numbers suggest. Their margins are so high that HP is having to sell 7 systems to make the same profit Apple pulls in on a single mac sale.
      SlithyTove
      • RE: Apple converting the enterprise? It could happen.

        @SlithyTove<br><br>Yes, let's celebrate the fact that Apple's systems are overpriced. High margins = overpriced. I know many Apple fans are very proud of that fact and feel good about digging deep into their pockets where a large chunk of that money goes to pure profit and not the actual cost of the hardware/software.<br><br>Nevertheless, from a marketshare point of view, OS X is not a success when compared to Windows.
        Qbt