Contest shows many IT shops clueless on managing Macs

Contest shows many IT shops clueless on managing Macs

Summary: The responses to a t-shirt giveaway contest at an IT professional hangout reveals that most IT managers still have no clue when it comes to Macintosh.

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How capable are PC-centric shops in managing Macs? A grade of Needs-Improvement might be generous, according to the responses generated by a recent contest at the Spiceworks IT community site and sponsored by cross-platform computing developer Parallels. The results were highlighted Wednesday by Jack Zubarev, president of Parallels' Cross Platform Solutions division, during a MacIT Conference session here at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco.  

Contest shows many IT shops clueless on managing Macs

 

Zubarev hosted the How to Control and Manage Macs with Existing Infrastructure and Leverage Your Windows Stack Investment session, which covered a range of cross-platform issues:

• The recent results of Parallels' sponsored research of IT managers showing that a majority believed that Macs were easier to support than PCs, and offering Mac support can be important a company's effort to attract talented new hires.

• The lack of Mac expertise in PC-centric IT shops and the antipathy among the techs and managers towards Macs.

•The real-world cross-platform experience by IT directors from Loyola University and digital camera maker Lytro.

• A demonstration of new features in Parallels Mac Management plug-in for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) infrastructure.

Most of the responses in the Spiceworks community site were negative towards supporting Macs and the posts said their sites either used no tools whatsoever to support Macs or flatly refused to support the Apple platform.

One PolarBear-1 said: “I currently use "MAC address blocking" to manage the Mac(s) in my network. ... none shall pass. ..."

Others, such as from Chamele0n, were less hostile.

Why so much hate for Macs? Maybe try it out exclusively for a while, it might change your mind at how much better it works than Windows (this coming from a Windows Server admin, haha). My current employer gave me a Mac as my sole computer for company use and I have used it for a year now, and am surprised how much I like it.

Steve9603 voiced a common response that there weren't many Macs in his company, and often the demand for Mac support came from way up the management ladder, often from the CEO or another C-level manager. In other words, there was no way for IT to say "no."

Because I despise things that are incompatible with what we currently do and make the IT Staff spend inordinate amounts of time for what amounts to a one-off user with delusions that Macs in a Wintel environment are a good thing. They are roughly equal in functionality and much greater in both purchasing and ongoing service costs for us, especially labor.

In a conversation before the session, Zubarev pointed to the antipathy towards the Mac revealed in the Spiceworks contest. He said the problem was multifaceted. There were two primary reasons for lack of Mac support in a "traditional IT organization:" Lack of a management system and expertise with Macs, he said.

According to Zubarev, some of the outrage over Macs from PC-centric techs and IT managers stems from sites with minimal or no experience with Macs. This lack of experience leads them to reject the platform. "It's all a way to avoid complexity," he said.

However, it's a different story with sites with some Macs. In the survey sites with even modest Mac support reported they found the Apple platform easy to manage. Sites with Mac experience were more likely to hire IT managers with Mac experience, leading to better support and even better experience.

"When you talk about support, it's about updating [application and system] software, making sure the machines are secure and running the latest versions. Of course, you can't do this manually if you have a few hundred Macs, or even if you have dozens. It's too painful. [Still], they don't have a system to support Macs. There's a lack of a management system."

For this issue, Parallels pitches its Windows console to manage Macs, its Parallels Mac Management plug-in for Microsoft SCCM.

At the session, Parallels demonstrated some previously unannounced features for the upcoming revision of Parallels Mac Management plug-in for Microsoft SCCM, including console support for warranty information and OS X's FileVault 2 personal keys, as well as a self-service Application Portal that will allow users to install software packages without complications of application licenses and settings. The update is due in the summer, the company said.

Topics: Apple, Enterprise Software, Virtualization, Windows

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  • IT shops clueless on managing Macs

    http://help.apple.com/remotedesktop/mac/3.6/#apd8E103B85-6C6B-42D3-984B-42D0A9A14AA8
    DeadRinger
    • Wake Up Morgenstern !

      printing comments like...

      "When you talk about support, it's about updating [application and system] software, making sure the machines are secure and running the latest versions. Of course, you can't do this manually if you have a few hundred Macs, or even if you have dozens. It's too painful. [Still], they don't have a system to support Macs. There's a lack of a management system."

      ...without comment really suggests that you are asleep on the job.
      Henry 3 Dogg
  • Majority of Enterprise Mac purchases are emotional

    Macs as hardware and OSX as an OS are not geared for enterprise. Its simply not Apples focus, they do not provide the ludicrous amount of enterprise support Microsoft does, they focus on individual customers and needs (which they do very well).

    Enterprise systems built by HP or Dell are engineered to be taken apart with the minimal screws, module, keyboards, touchpads, screens easily replaced by onsite techs. Even hard drives are easily replaceable by end users at remote sites. They are built to withstand more punishment and abuse.

    Windows 7 (and 8) are configured for hyperlayering for bare metal provisioning with image bit streaming. There are robust tools for image building that allow updates and driver injection. Customizable PE boot disks. Remote restore point triggering. Virtualization awareness to allow optimization. App-V, RemoteApp, RemoteXP, etc.

    Then there are all the configuration management tools for Windows such as AD GPO, login scripting, terminal services, File Group, WSUS, System Center, etc.


    In other words, there is very little reasons to bring Macs into a mature enterprise other than employees, including upper management, what a shiny toy. The very narrow exception are designers and really thats because you hired people experienced with OSX design software as there is plenty of competition with design software on PC. In fact high end stuff with ether be on PC or Linux due to cluster rendering between engineering workstations at off hours.

    But if you must support Macs, put a Mac Mini in your DMZ with Remote Server and point them to it. Spin up a Windows VDI and just put their corporate apps there and hand them a RDP file so now they can play with their shiny Mac and you don't have to mess with it.
    Rann Xeroxx