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iPhones Push Their Way Into Enterprise IT, Data Management

The next great wave of IT and data management may fit in your hand. Just ask Don MacAskill, CEO of Internet-based photo-sharing startup SmugMug, who uses his Apple iPhone as a data management console.

"Since it's running a full version of Safari, we treat it just like we treat our laptops and desktops -- if an appliance has a Web interface, we can use it on our iPhones," states MacAskill. "I can (and do) easily reboot any server from my iPhone, reconfigure and adjust our load balancers, and even log in to our LOM interfaces on each server to check their health. It's pretty sweet."

Since SmugMug switched from direct-attached storage to Amazon S3 last year, MacAskill doesn't use the iPhone for backup. But asked whether he'd do so if he had a SAN, his reply is quick: "We'd do it in a second."

MacAskill's main gripe is that Apple and AT&T won't sell iPhones to corporate accounts. "But we still jumped through hoops and put them in the hands of half of our employees, including all of our operations team and our engineers. The day they let us, the rest of our employees will get them."

While Apple and AT&T are holding out on corporate customers, browser-based access -- including access via PDA -- has nonetheless become a key feature for a growing number of data center services, particularly in the area of data backup and recovery.

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