My involvement with the Mac community is about to hit double digits. One of the reasons why I love the community is it indeed feels like a community. Individuals are getting together to support one another knowing that the IT department for specific companies is a single individual or a collection of individuals. No matter the size of the team or the skillset of the person, the community is always willing to try to offer the best solution in which the team can use manager here in now. Still leaving room for people to grow. The same community is also there as a sounding board when it feels like everything is going wrong. Lastly, when it is time for a change the community is there to help support that change. While I have been primarily involved with the community via Macbrained and speaking at Mac conferences, I have noticed over the last few years a difference with chatting at times with the community. Endpoint management and ideologies around how to manage the Apple ecosystem are abundant.
A trend with Mac the administration is if your organization has enough resources Jamf Pro was the tool, but depending on your needs it could require custom code to effectively manage your fleet. If a company was requiring IT be scrappy,(my favorite IT term by management) Jamf Pro usually wasn’t an option therefore Munki is the tool of choice. Lastly, for those companies who had a team of Endpoint engineers usually deployed tools like Puppet or Chef. All of the previously listed tools are great options depending on the make and composition of your team and company. While the Mac management tools may not be as old as Active Directory, the tools at all of our disposals are more than capable of managing our fleets. Depending on the size on an administrators company a Mac administrator may have to manage Windows. The choice is usually not to manage Windows or barely support Windows, due to a lack of experience or a claim of Windows isn’t better. This is always a matter of opinion but, one that I would like to address.
Administrators of macOS usually do not work on Windows or Windows Administration. I say usually as some do not care and for those admins this is not for you, I think. A comment I’ve heard before is “Windows administrators just don’t get it. Mac is different.” While this rings true on the surface, if you start to dig deeper into the last statement, I know it does not ring true. At it’s core Windows and Mac environments are endpoints. Both operating systems have management tools which perform modifications to ensure a device is compliant based on a companies requirements. Both platforms have advantages depending on an individuals role and responsibility. We all know the finance loves Windows. But many Mac administrators either refuse or are not comfortable or willing enough to take the leap into Windows management. They are not interested with Windows management because they do not know the environment or unsure of who, what, where, and why of Windows management. Well I am here to say Mac Endpoint Engineers, need to come out of the dark and learn how to manage Windows on a miminal level.
Part of evolving and becoming a better administrator is taking on new and challenging tasks or projects. Learning Windows administration will frustrate, challenge, enlighten, prove some similarities in managing both operating systems. Managing Windows is very challenging as the amount of ways to apply a setting are vast. The amount of Windows logging alone is overwhelming. Even though Windows management does require a different skill set, managing the endpoint keeps the same philosophy as Mac management. Over my next few posts, I will begin to show how managing Windows is eerily similar to managing Macs. I hope to provide guidance to Mac administrators who have to manage windows or Mac admins who want to embrace Windows in their environment. It’s time for evolution of the Mac admin.