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BYOD boosts Macs vs. PCs

New management tools remove last barrier to widespread Mac adoption in the enterprise

By John S. Webster, Network World
February 19, 2013 12:07 AM ET

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  • Moka Five provides a standardized way to deploy VMware desktop virtualization on Macs.
  • Orchard Parc provides OPUS, which lets Macs work with Windows without the need for a virtual machine and hardware.
  • Centrify Direct Control for Mac OS X integrates with Active Directory and Windows Group Policy.
  • Group Logic solves the problem of Macs accessing Windows for file sharing.
  • Parallels Desktop allows users to run Windows apps on their Macs, and Parallels Management Suite for Microsoft System Center provides for cross-platform management.

Of course, Mac integration into the enterprise still has some minor kinks to be worked out.

There are still some issues with high-end graphics, says IAVO Scientific's Heric.

Elsewhere, at Lighthaus Design, which began to bring in Macs in greater numbers several years ago, other issues arose, says Glenn Romanelli, president, CEO and creative director at the Web development company.

"There were a few problems when we considered a switch to the Mac. Fonts are critical in my industry. When someone designed a Web site on the PC, we purchased certain fonts that didn't work on the Mac. To solve this, we use Open Type fonts, which work on Macs and PCs. Cost sort of entered into it because the site is subscription-based, but we did it on case-by-case basis," he says.

And Macs aren't totally self-supporting. "I do agree that you need to find an IT guy or company that specializes in the Mac. PC guys don't 'get' Macs," he adds.

Costing it out

Before it began to bring in more Macs, Genentech thought IT management would be more expensive. This turned out to not be the case, says Cindy Elkins, vice president of IT.

"At first IT management thought the Mac would be more expensive, but the truth is, when we retrained people on the service desk, for example, we found that it's actually cheaper."

In addition, the Mac is more durable, she adds. "But all goes back to IT, and we're ahead of the curve there. This has to do with being in the medical field, but the Mac users have proved to be as happy as can be, and the machine is actually very easy to support. It's our philosophy in IT to take courageous steps. Having lots of Macs has also proven to be a recruitment tool."

Her final words of wisdom regarding Mac management reflect those of other IT managers. "Don't think around a Windows-centric model. Invest in Mac management expertise, and modernize your application portfolio. Your software vendors will have to be more prepared, and to support the Mac."

Webster is freelance writer. He can be reached at johnwebstervt@gmail.com.

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

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