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12 valuable tools for managing business Macs

Ryan Faas | Nov. 30, 2011
The knock on managing Macs in business environments has long been Apple's ambivalent attitude toward providing significant enterprise support. Apple does, of course, offer tools for deploying, configuring, and managing Macs. But to move Macs beyond a departmental setting, IT will often find it necessary to look to third parties for help.

Mac support tool No. 3: Thursby's ADmitMac

ADmit Mac provides another alternative to Apple's Active Directory plug-in. It offers a number of advanced features, including smartcard support for Lion and DFS browsing support for Macs running earlier releases of OS X.

ADmitMac also offers administrators the ability to tap into Apple's Manager Preferences architecture without OS X Server or schema modification by hosting client management data on a network share.

Mac support tool No. 4: FileWave

FileWave is a software deployment and management tool that supports Macs and Windows PCs. FileWave makes it easy to install and remove applications from a central management interface, thereby streamlining license management and reclamation. It functions similarly to package-based installations but with the ability to easily update and remove software as needed.

Mac support tool No. 5: LANDesk

LANDesk is multiplatform systems and lifecycle management suite. It supports Windows, Linux, and OS X, and it offers inventory/asset management, software distribution and discovery, centralized security and antivirus services, patch management, and help desk functionality. It also supports cloud solutions and some mobile device management capabilities.

Mac support tool No. 6: Flexera

Flexera offers software and license management solutions. For Mac systems, it supports software distribution, auditing, and license management. It also supports these and additional features in Windows and Unix environments, including Windows 7 migration and virtualization tools.

Mac support tool No. 7: Puppet

Puppet is a multiplatform IT automation suite. For Mac management, Puppet offers remote discovery of Mac systems and configurations, as well as centralized system administration and software update distribution. It also offers public/private cloud management and policy compliance solutions.

Mac support tool No. 8: Faronics Deep Freeze for Mac

Deep Freeze is a well-known product for ensuring consistent configuration of systems by reverting PCs to a specified state at each reboot. The Mac version doesn't include a centralized administration solution, but can be managed remotely via SSH or remote management tools such as Apple Remote Desktop or the remote management features of other suites in this list.

Mac support tool No. 9: Dell's Kace

Kace offers a range of network appliances that support Windows, Linux, and OS X. These appliances can be used for network-based system discovery and inventory/asset management, software distribution and patch management, and some limited policy management. Kace appliances also include a help desk module.

Mac support tool No. 10: Quest

Quest provides a number of enterprise management solutions for technologies such as Active Directory, Exchange, server and cloud virtualization, and network security. Quest offers a Group Policy for Mac feature that, like Centrify's Direct Control, extends Active Directory and the standard group policy tools to include Mac-specific policies based on Apple's Managed Preferences architecture.

 

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