Organizations are looking to manage their Apple Macs along side their existing Windows systems using existing tools already used in enterprises like Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Parallels (the maker of virtual machine technology that has allowed Mac users to run Windows guest sessions for years) just updated their add-in to SCCM, "Parallels Mac Management 4.0" for Microsoft SCCM.
I wrote about Parallels' first foray into the SCCM management plug-in business over a year ago, which I was very impressed with their initial release, and since then, Parallel's has consistently updated their product to make it extremely valuable in the management of Apple Macs in any enterprise already using System Center Configuration Manager.
Some of the basics that Parallels Mac Management provides to SCCM:
- Do bare metal imaging of a Mac from SCCM
- Discovery and inventory of Macs (just like PCs)
- Create task sequences to manage Macs (just like PCs)
- Deploy and manage software on Macs (just like PCs)
- Set compliance settings and control Macs (just like PCs)
As Parallels has shared in their press releases, in this latest release, key features include:
- Asset Inventory
- Scan the corporate network automatically to discover Mac computers, then auto-enroll them in Microsoft SCCM
- Gather hardware and software inventory of all Mac machines on the network
- Leverage native Microsoft SCCM reports to view information about Mac computers
- Configuration Management
- Enforce compliance via extended Microsoft SCCM configuration items: OS X configuration profiles and shell scripts
- Software and Patch Deployment
- Central management and installation of software packages and patches
- Support for deployment of a wide range of software packages: .dmg, .pkg, .iso, .app, scripts and stand-alone files
- Support for silent deployment and deployment with user interaction
- Mac OS X Image Deployment via Microsoft SCCM
- Seamless integration of Mac OS X image deployment into Microsoft SCCM workflow
- Deployment of preconfigured, company-standard OS X installation on new Mac computers
We have had many enterprises that have been running two (or more) endpoint management tools to consolidate them to decrease costs and the complexity of owning and managing multiple tools. By adding in Mac management to an organization's existing System Center Configuration Manager Windows management solution, enterprises have been able to simplify their endpoint management toolset. Additionally, with a common tool, organizations are able to create consistency in configuration policies and security policies "pushed" to endpoints, regardless of whether the device is a Windows computer, Windows tablet, Apple Mac laptop, Windows laptop, or the like. Typically with two separate tools, the consistency of policies and security processes varied from platform to platform, that can now be made similar and consistent.
The Parallels Mac Management add-in has been a GREAT addition for enterprises already using System Center Configuration Manager to manage their Windows systems to ALSO manage their Macs. Experiences have been extremely positive, and now with the addition of new functionality in v4 of the release, it makes the solution even more valuable to enterprises.
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