Do Macs save companies time and money?
Conduit Systems Inc. Executive Vice President Dan Tully certainly seems to think so, and he would know: Conduit Systems provides Information Technology (IT) services.
Tully is spending time this week at
Bio-IT World Conference & Expo, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Mass. His company is an Apple Science & Technology VAR (Value Added Reseller) that specializes in providing IT services to small Boston-area companies that would rather hire an outside firm to manage their computer systems than keep a full-time IT person on staff. From his perspective, it’s more economical and more convenient to do that when it’s an Apple environment.
Though he doesn’t have any hard data to back up the assertion, Tully estimates that a company running a Windows-centric server environment will spend about two thirds less time and money managing its IT resources by doing the same things with Mac OS X Server and an Xserve instead.
Suggesting that their customers go Mac is sometimes greeted with incredulity, until the clients understand that Conduit is trying to save them money. “I tell them that we’ll make more money by supporting them in pure Windows environments, and that gets their attention and gets them thinking about the Mac,” Tully told MacCentral, grinning. “We want them to make their own decisions about what they’re going to use. Sometimes it makes more sense for them to use Windows, sometimes it makes more sense for them to go Mac, and sometimes, it’s best to leave it up to the individual user about what system he or she wants to use.”
“Biotech firms especially see a lot of fluctuating workloads in their IT because of the nature of the work,” said Tully. They can ramp up with new scientists or new data analysis in a matter of days or weeks, which demands that both they and Conduit be flexible in IT management and consulting. And increasingly, Macs are a better fit in that sort of environment.
“I’d say about 25 percent of our client base use Macs in one way or another,” Tully said. “And that number is slowly increasing.”
Tully explained that in order to keep a tight ship, Conduit employs as much remote administration technology as feasible. The company uses Timbuktu and other similar tools to be able to access client systems as needed. And increasingly, the company is turning to Apple’s Xserve to help provide its clients with reliable file service.
Conduit and its customers are seeing Apple products as suitable solutions for their businesses. Mac OS X’s Unix underpinnings are making the Mac increasingly popular with scientists who are already comfortable with Unix operating systems.
Tully said all the pieces aren’t in place yet, though, especially for offices whose workflows leverage Microsoft technology extensively. Group scheduling managed using Microsoft’s Exchange Server is a stumbling block, for example — something that Tully hopes will be abated when Microsoft delivers a
recently promised update to its updated Entourage X software, scheduled for release this summer.
The Xserve is a serious piece of server hardware, said Tully, noting that once they go over the specifications of the Xserve and its RAID system with technically-minded clients, they’re invariably impressed by the machines’ feature set, throughput and capabilities.