Mac IT - The Future Looks Bright

by Bruce Stewart

With the exception of the keynote address, everything presented at Apple's WWDC is considered Apple confidential information (and all attendees have an NDA in place for this as part of their ADC agreement), so unfortunately I can't write about any of the information from the Mac IT sessions here in San Francisco. But I can't help but be impressed by the huge crowds and high level of interest in the IT track here, and I don't think I'll be upsetting anyone at the mothership by reporting that yesterday's IT State of the Union session was one of most popular, with standing room only. The Directory Services session today was also packed, and it's clear there are a LOT of people here at this "developer" conference who are looking to learn more about what Apple's doing in the IT realm.

In yesterday's keynote, Steve made his (admittedly funny) jab at Microsoft about there being many different versions of Leopard, but all costing $129, and ending the joke with the clarification that, of course, there will only be one version of Leopard. His point is a good one, but I know I wasn't the only person in the room who heard that and instantly thought, "But what about Leopard server?" Clearly Jobs was talking about the client version of Leopard, but it made me wonder if IT folks are really being served well by being lumped in with Mac developers at this conference (as did the huge lines to get into the various IT sessions). I know that developers and sys admins like to rub shoulders and see what each other is up to, that in some cases they have to work extremely closely together, and in smaller shops the same person may even be responsible for both, but as Apple continues to improve and grow their IT offerings is it perhaps time to consider a separate event just for the IT folks?

Of course, the exact same argument could be made about MacDevCenter. We've been expanding our own IT coverage lately, and intend to do even more IT-related articles when Leopard Server hits the streets. Let us know in the comments if you think there's enough interest in Apple IT to support a separate annual technical conference, and if you want to see more (or less) coverage of IT issues here on MacDevCenter in the future.


2007-06-12 17:44:09
Hopefully it's not breaking NDA to say that the State of IT session was incredibly lame.
Ian Jackson
2007-06-12 18:16:16
Managing several Xserves (great in many regards) I'd like to see support for scsi tape drives via the device tree (/dev/rmt/x). Backup to tape is nada, don't get me started on Retrosplat.
2007-06-12 19:05:06
I have no idea whether there's an audience for it or not, but as a developer, I'd rather not read IT-centric content, thanks. At all.
Jake Covert
2007-06-12 19:07:23
I'd definitely like to see more IT-related content. Either here, or at its own location.
Tom Bridge
2007-06-12 19:11:45
Bruce, I'd love to see O'Reilly resurrect its Mac OS X con as an IT-centric event! I think there are a bunch of us on the east coast who'd come out West for it, too.
Michael Holst
2007-06-12 22:29:32

Frankly I think the root of many problems (enterprise-wise) is this artificial separation of "development" and "IT". With this, many a time one side will vie for power with the other.

In truth, having worked at a small company where the IT manager and myself (a developer) had to work hand in hand, I can tell you it is essential that developers have an idea as to what admins are doing, and vice versa.

Granted, there should be different channels grouping news, but at the same central location. Good for Apple, and good for O'Reilly for doing it this way.

2007-06-12 23:06:55
More sysadmin stuff is always nice. Note that there is a separate system administration blog at O'Reilly, and using that would be fine by me.
Jeremiah Foster
2007-06-13 05:42:44
Apple now is one of the top ten in terms of server shipments and sales. Clearly the server side of their business is healthy and growing, the future is indeed bright for the Mac IT folks.
2007-06-13 06:31:10
As a sys admin for a small shop, more ideas in the IT area are always welcome - as I don't have many people giving me reasonable ideas. I'd say, go for it.
2007-06-13 09:48:33
More IT coverage would be helpful.
2007-06-13 17:27:14
Yea it's looking good for Apple. I joined as a developer recently paying my fee via the Apple web site getting the Leopard preview, etc. I'm going to get Apple certified. However, I was a bit miffed to find out that Apple after releasing the feature complete version of Leopard at WWDC did not immediately make it downloadable like other versions of Leopard have been thru their Apple Developer Connection. That really sucks and makes me feel like a second class citizen even though I paid my dues. No one knows me so I've not one to complain to. Why won't one of you bloggers or industry notables give'em hell over it for me. :-)

2007-06-17 07:16:01
Yes, I agree O'Reilly and others should give more coverage and support for OSX "IT" and I agree there should be an east coast conference. I told Apple the same in my WWDC post-conference evaluation. On the other hand clearly separation of development and system administration (certainly a better term than "IT" for this role) is artificial and unproductive, so ideally the east coast conference would be for both developers and system admins/managers. I'd like to see conferences six months apart. Apple have always thought this market is uncool (see comments above) and done a sloppy job of supporting it. But if they care about getting their hardware into big shops and back into big education accounts, they need to learn how to do it right.
Tony Williams
2007-06-26 17:39:37
A conference with more focus for the IT department, more for system administrators, designers and managers would be a huge benefit.

It seems that Apple is still stuck in the chicken and the egg situation - they don't focus on the enterprise because it still isn't a large part of their sales and they don't sell into the enterprise because they don't focus on it enough. Growing server sales might help this along but not fast enough for me.

As someone who lives on the wrong side of the Pacific from WWDC it would be much easier for me to justify the expense if there was more of a systems and in-house focus. As the perfect example I went to an Apple WWDC warm up here in Sydney and they spent half of it telling us about how Apple supports commercial software developers while of the twenty people I spoke to at the event only one actually sold software and well over three quarters did no software development at all. It was obviously a US designed road show that gave Aussies no real information.

On the other hand I went to the last O'Reilly OS X Con and found it incredibly useful, with good people to meet and a number of useful sessions. Santa Clara was also cheaper for accommodation than midtown San Francisco.

# Tony