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Macworld to offer training for corporate developers

Along with the expected sessions on digital photography, DVD creation, and the new live-on-stage "iPod Supersession," this week's Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco will have a strong enterprise component. A three-day conference within the conference, called MacIT, will focus on Apple deployments in the enterprise.

"This is one of the fastest growing areas of Macworld," says conference chair Paul Kent. "Ever since the products went open source, they’ve gotten a lot more attention. And the products have been so bulletproof, people have really been taking to them. So we decided that it was time to offer a place for anybody about to deploy Apple enterprise products to come and learn, meet with other enterprise professionals, and talk with Apple product managers."

Xserve G5 ships with Mac OS X Server version 10.3 "Panther" software. Panther Server integrates leading open source and open standards software.

This is the second year Macworld has included the MacIT component, and Kent expects about 600 attendees from Fortune 2000 companies to participate. Billed as the largest gathering of Apple enterprise professionals in the work, it comprises 45 sessions over three days of the four-day conference. Macworld runs from January 10 through 14 at San Francisco's Moscone Center.

The MacIT conference will include the first in-depth public training on the Mac OS X Tiger server, Kent says.

Apple Computer released an upgrade of its rack-mountable Xserve G5 file server a week before the show. The new version increases the top-end and "Cluster Node" configuration's processor speed to 2.3GHz and its system bus speed to 1.15GHz. The company began shipping its Xsan Storage Area Network (SAN) file system a week earlier. Xsan is a 64-bit cluster file system that enables Mac OS X Server users to share files and volumes up to 16 terabytes on a fiber channel network.

Although Apple currently accounts for a fraction of overall server sales, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has been gaining ground in the enterprise recently with its Xserve line. Xserve first grabbed some headlines in the rarified world of high-performance computing (HPC) when Virginia Tech upgraded the servers in its all-Mac System X supercomputing cluster to the 2.3GHz system. The supercomputer, installed at the university's Terascale Computing Facility, now reportedly runs at a sustained speed of 12.25 trillion operations per second.

"The G5 has taken us to a new level in platform and architecture for high performance computing," says Doug Brooks, product manager for server hardware at Apple. "It combines great numerical capability with a phenomenal arch for performance, and the software with the arch and tools.Virginia Tech was an organization that saw the potential early."

Apple is offering the Xserve G5 in three configurations: The dual-processor version comes with the OS X server OS and a license that allows connections from unlimited Macintosh, Windows, and Linux clients, starts at $3,999. The lower-cost, single 2.0GHz G5 system (based on the same architecture as the dual 2.3GHz system) starts at $2,999. And a cluster-optimized version of the dual processor system with one storage slot and a 10-user version of the OS X server operating system is available a the same price.

This year's Macworld will be the 19th such event. Although conference organizer IDG World Expo is expecting approximately 35,000 attendees, the conference will take place in Moscone’s South Hall only. As one conference organizer reportedly put it, "We're going to be wall-to-wall in the South Hall.”

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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