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Using Mac Vs windows in a windows 2003 network

Posted on 2006-06-22
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Our company had windows 2003 servers and Windows XP Pc’s and laptops. We have two office in different part of the town. One with 10 users and another one with 35. Each site has it’s own domain controllers. Lately, there has been a talk of changing all PC laptops and desktops to Macs . This is because some people in the company have persuaded the IT coordinator that the Mac is a much better option because it’s much more stable then the PCs that we use now.  As the Administrator , I know that this is a not a good options because we will lose the many network management capabilities of the servers if we use the Macs. Some suggest that we use programs such as the Microsoft Virtual PC which is a windows XP emulator on OS X operating system .

So, Please suggest the advantages of staying with windows XP PC’s with our 2003 servers . Also, we are planning to use internal exchange servers for email very soon.
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Question by:netcomp
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netcomp-

You are correct thinking that you will lose some network mgmt capabilities and related items like Group Policy control.  In order to get like capabilities on a Mac platform you will have to implement OSX Server, and probably go to training or do a lot of reading/research.  Even then, you won't be able to do a lot of things - or as easily at least.

Regarding using Microsoft Exchange - the only viable and supported client for Exchange (MAPI - not talking IMAP/POP3 connections) is Microsoft Entourage.  Sadly, Entourage's support is pretty horrid and it adds a lot of headaches.  I've resorted to publishing Outlook via Citrix to my 40 mac users.  My Apple rep has suggested running Parallels desktop (a "virtual PC" type solution, but MUCH better then VPC) locally and installing Outlook to that XP installation.

Keep in mind that if you do use VPC or Parallels desktop - that *IS* still a PC running in there:  it requires the same type of administration that any Windows XP PC does such as: WIndows Updates, Antivirus updates, a Windows AD Domain (to work well with exchange) and everything else you are now doing to your actual PCs.  I don't look at that as a solution- essentially you are doubling your Admin workload.  You aren't getting rid of PCs, you are just adding Macs (and headaches!!).  35 macs  + 35 PCs = 70 machines to manage.

If you do go with Macs, my one piece of advice is this:  GET ADMIT MAC.  Admit Mac (http://www.thursby.com/products/admitmac-eval.html) is an application that allows you to:

- join your Mac to an AD domain
- allow login to the macs via AD user accounts
- synch user home directories to your windows servers

MOST IMPORTANTLY:
- allow access to all of your Windows file shares *WITHOUT* using Microsoft's terrible "services for macintosh" (SFM).  Mac clients access the shares via CIFS/SMB just like your windows PCs

Good Luck!
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by:netcomp
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NYtechGuy,

Thanks you very much for you input and time. I look forward to some more pro Windows advice.  
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