Finding evidence of Mac life at LinuxWorld

Reporter's Notebook: Mac enterprise storage and authentication management news from LinuxWorld San Francisco.
Written by David Morgenstern, Contributor

There's not much Macintosh news at LinuxWorld San Francisco, after all, it's LinuxWorld, not the annual Macworld. However, wandering among the booths packed with integrated development environments (IDE), mobile development platforms, server hardware and big storage, I was able to dig up a bit of enterprise Mac.

Centrify this week released Version 3.0.7 of its DirectControl identity management solution for Unix and Mac systems in a Microsoft Active Directory Group Policy environment. The update brings a variety of prepackaged policies for Macs, including support for control login and logout scripts and improved integration with Apple Remote Desktop Admin and Workgroup Manager.

The DirectControl software runs as an agent on the client desktops and servers. The company said Version 3.0.7 supports more than 100 flavors of Unix as well as OS X.

However, Centrify isn't just about authentication. It lets sys admins manage Macs and Linux boxes with the same access control and Group Policy services they've deployed for Windows systems.

"If you want to sell Macs into an enterprise, you have to be able to manage them as well as authenticate them," said Reuel Warkov, director of business development.

We talked about drivers for the Mac platform in the enterprise. Or more to the point removing longstanding inhibitors. Warkov suggested that DirectControl may help loosen exclusionary policies.

"CIOs are waking up in the middle of the night realizing that they have thousands of PCs out there that could be brought down in a second. They need to get genetic diversity in their desktops. If they can put OS X out there but manage it [like Windows], we may see different attitude [towards the Mac]," he said.

This comparison of the history of homogeneous IT environments to biological diversity is a good one. I've been the lone Mac user in Windows companies. And I've had the experience of being the only person left computing for a good part of a workday when some Windows service went haywire.

Meanwhile, across the hall, enterprise backup and archive vendor Atempo told me that a Mac version of its Atempo LiveBackup 3.2 product is planned for release in the first quarter of 2008. The company hopes to demo it at the Macworld Expo here in January, according to Hermilo Isla, sales engineer.

Isla said the demand was coming from a number of large customers with heterogeneous environments in the education and video production markets.

Atempo supports a wide range of client backup, data archiving and disaster recovery capabilities, including data deduplication, user-initiated file recovery and continuous data protection.

Currently, the company offers a Mac client for its TIMEnavigator Enterprise Edition, a timed backup solution for notebooks and desktop clients.

Speaking of storage: according to the Mac OS X Server list, Apple on Tuesday also introduced without fanfare—or even a press release—a new $999 hardware RAID card for the Xserve and Intel-based Mac Pro systems.

Here's a bit from its blurb on the Apple Store:

The Mac Pro RAID card offers improved performance and data protection to your Mac Pro system — up to 304MB/s of sequential read performance in RAID 0. Ideal for video and creative professionals with demanding storage needs as well as for tower server applications, this hardware RAID option supports RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 0+1, and Enhanced JBOD. It has 256MB of cache and an integrated 72-hour battery for protecting the RAID cache. The card occupies the top PCI Express slot (slot 4) and connects to the four internal drive bays.

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