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IT managers face Mac-Windows challenges

IT managers face Mac-Windows challenges

Survey cites difficulties in bringing OS X into a Windows environment.

Bringing OS X into a Windows environment isn't easy, as results from a survey released early this week show. The Enterprise Desktop Alliance surveyed more than 300 IT managers and found that a vast majority see room for improvement in the current management capabilities for Macs in the enterprise.

The top three issues of importance: Active Directory integration, client management for inventory, patches and compliance, and file sharing across operating systems. "We're seeing Macs move toward mainstream," says Jim Chappell, vice president at Centrify, a provider of management software and a member of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance. "IT organizations need to get their arms around it."

[Managing Macs in the enterprise can be nightmarish effort, reports CIO. Apple reportedly plans to launch Snow Leopard OS this summer.]

Enterprise Desktop Alliance is a consortium of Mac vendors that include Centrify, LANrev, Atempo, GroupLogic and Parallels. The group aims to ease Mac adoption in Windows environments. Mac adoption and management headaches are growing steadily; more than half of the survey's respondents have already deployed more than 100 Macs, and only 14 percent of the total respondents report no troubles integrating them.

Active Directory integration is the top challenge fronting Mac deployment. IT managers, for instance, need a way to secure and configure Macs through Active Directory's group policy management. Managing things like patches is another moving target for enterprises, unlike Windows-only environments where centralized patching is more efficient. File sharing problems between operating systems can crop up and dampen worker productivity.

Other concerns mentioned in the survey include configuration consistency, application compatibility, non-standards management utilities for the Mac and security. With the latter, first full-disk encryption for OS X only recently came to market last summer from Checkpoint Software and PGP Corp.

Three out of four respondents also said they planned to increase the number of Macs in the company. The main reasons Macs find their way into enterprises are employee preference, productivity and lower total cost of ownership.

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