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Mac Thread, Cost of implementing 20 photography Macs into Active Directory in Technical; Originally Posted by sonofsanta EDIT: In terms of managing the Apples, I've got SCCM2012 running here, which should be able ...
  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post

    EDIT: In terms of managing the Apples, I've got SCCM2012 running here, which should be able to manage them I believe (albeit not to the same extent as Windows machines)
    To manage OS X using SCCM, you need SCCM 2012 SP1. To manage Mountain Lion, you need 2012 SP1 CU1. Macs are treated as mobile devices so you need an HTTPS enabled farm, your DPs and MPs will need certificates if they don't have them already. Even with all of that, I've found the Microsoft SCCM Mac client to be less than reliable.

    If you can afford it, the Parallels agent is a much better product. Plus the next version is going to support OSD so the need for a OS X Server and ARD will be completely eliminated.

    Anyway, even taking all of that into account I still agree that having Macs solely for Creative Suite is pointless. One of our Art teachers demanded Macbooks for that purpose and it's been... interesting. The only department here that can really justify their use is the Media Studies department who use Final Cut Studio.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    I have had rumblings from one of my technicians who has used Macs at another school that students had to save locally - can iMacs not be configured to use the network storage? (Server 2012 file servers running NTFS) The mention of external storage above reminded me.
    We use a magic triangle setup, so connected to Active Directory to authenticate and to an apple Open Directory (on a Mac Mini server) to pull down the settings and user profile. It is also possible to extend active directory to manage the settings, but that involves looking into third party solutions (If your an RM school their third party solution is called RM Orbit).

    For our configuration the users home directory was mounted automatically and we also setup some of the shared areas. This puts a shortcut on the dock bar at the bottom of the screen and a shortcut on the desktop, so getting to files and opening them is fairly easy. The issue was that the default save location remained as the local drive and it's not obvious how to get to network locations to save, it isn't hard when you know where to look but a lot of users now have to keep using the same computer because of files saved on the local profile. It's entirely possible that with the right configuration this could be resolved but as I mentioned before we've decided to move to a stand alone setup as we only have a few macs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    I have had rumblings from one of my technicians who has used Macs at another school that students had to save locally - can iMacs not be configured to use the network storage? (Server 2012 file servers running NTFS) The mention of external storage above reminded me.
    This depends on what exactly they're using the Macs for I think. All of our Macs are connected to the domain but the media students use local logins because you can't edit video over a network, especially over a network that 16 students are trying to use at once. The Art students (AFAIK, I've only ever seen them being used a couple of times) save stuff to their network areas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norphy View Post
    To manage OS X using SCCM, you need SCCM 2012 SP1. To manage Mountain Lion, you need 2012 SP1 CU1. Macs are treated as mobile devices so you need an HTTPS enabled farm, your DPs and MPs will need certificates if they don't have them already. Even with all of that, I've found the Microsoft SCCM Mac client to be less than reliable.

    If you can afford it, the Parallels agent is a much better product. Plus the next version is going to support OSD so the need for a OS X Server and ARD will be completely eliminated.

    Anyway, even taking all of that into account I still agree that having Macs solely for Creative Suite is pointless. One of our Art teachers demanded Macbooks for that purpose and it's been... interesting. The only department here that can really justify their use is the Media Studies department who use Final Cut Studio.
    I've got SCCM2012 running in HTTPS mode already, I'd just need to do the upgrade to SP1 which I'd be happy to do. How much is Parallels, roughly speaking? It may be that for the sake of 20 Macs, it's not worth the cost and it would be cheaper to go round each Mac and configure them one by one.

    Media here are about to start using Sony Movie Studio on Windows for their AS coursework. If we have a Windows based room for Photography, then Media could take advantage of those more powerful computers as well. Not that Art will be delighted to hear that one of the advantages of Windows PCs will be that another department can make use of them

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    I'm in the same situation; forth coming Sixth form and two departments want Apple Macs. I've been trying to explain that Graphics don't need Macs as everything they need to be able to 'do' can be done on a PC for a fraction of the cost. The Music department do have a more compelling argument but I am still struggling a bit as I believe these departments should look at what they are trying to achieve rather than just wanting a platform. Problem is, certain strong characters are making it difficult to get these viewpoints across.

    I too want to add the extra knowledge to my skillset but just don't believe I'm going to get the time or money to do things correctly. I'm frustrated at their arguments of 'it's the industry standard' and the cost of it all horrifies me as it not just the hardware, but its the extra for the extra infrastructure, storage and security of these devices.

    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    How much is Parallels, roughly speaking? It may be that for the sake of 20 Macs, it's not worth the cost and it would be cheaper to go round each Mac and configure them one by one.
    When we bought it, it was £30/Mac so for 20 Macs, £600. That said, we bought it for 80 Macs so it may be a little bit more for you. I'll send you a PM with contact details for them if you want.

    Still less than an OS X server and imo worth the cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norphy View Post
    When we bought it, it was £30/Mac so for 20 Macs, £600. That said, we bought it for 80 Macs so it may be a little bit more for you. I'll send you a PM with contact details for them if you want.

    Still less than an OS X server and imo worth the cost.
    So Parallels isn't just a better way of SCCM, it replaces the Mac mini AD integration side of things entirely? In which case £600 would probably be about the same as the Mac mini server, and be easier to backup if Parallels just installs onto the SCCM server.

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    A Mac can join to an Active Directory domain natively without any outside help. What an OS X server does for you is give you the ability to push down settings and policies etc and with a little help from Deploy Studio, push out operating system images.

    Installing the Parallels client for SCCM gives you the ability to install software, deploy settings and policies and the next version due in August will deploy operating system images too, all from the ConfigMgr console. Everything that you would use OS X server for is now (or will be shortly) in SCCM.

    I've made some blog posts about my experiences with the Parallels and Microsoft Mac clients if you want a read.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norphy View Post
    A Mac can join to an Active Directory domain natively without any outside help. What an OS X server does for you is give you the ability to push down settings and policies etc and with a little help from Deploy Studio, push out operating system images.

    Installing the Parallels client for SCCM gives you the ability to install software, deploy settings and policies and the next version due in August will deploy operating system images too, all from the ConfigMgr console. Everything that you would use OS X server for is now (or will be shortly) in SCCM.

    I've made some blog posts about my experiences with the Parallels and Microsoft Mac clients if you want a read.
    Brilliant - thanks for that. I'd +rep if the system would bloody let me (seriously, it's completely daft that I thank someone for help, then when I want to +rep for continued assistance I'm told to "spread it around a bit"... even unthanking to +rep is failing me today).

    Looks like the Parallels stuff would be the way to go for us, then. We'll see how the conversation will go and if I need to, I'll be poring over those blog posts!

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    You're welcome.

    If someone does try to strongarm you into using Macs for no good reason, these screenshots may be useful to you:

    photoshop max.jpg
    Photoshop CS5 on a Mac

    photoshop pc.png
    Photoshop CS5 on a Windows PC

    Apart from minor OS related UI differences, they're exactly the fracking same. Wave those at whoever says "But Macs are better for Photoshop"
    Last edited by Norphy; 28th June 2013 at 12:55 PM.

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    We put 15 Macs into Music, joined to our AD and an Xserver in the golden triangle. Generally works ok with preferences etc. We've had a few issues but mainly with specific Mac software (which is no different to the problems we can have with Windows software)

    We find the Macs require little attention, but again our Windows 7 Suites don't either! Based on cost I would simply buy Windows PCs as all the software we use on the Macs has a direct Windows equivalent.

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    A couple of things that seem to be forgotten with this whole anti-Mac thread going here is that a great many graphics departments and companies in the "real" world will be using Macs and there actually is such a thing as Mac-specific graphics software, plugins, and workflow customisations. That is, software that is only available for the mac or workflows that have only been created with Macs and Mac software in mind. Forget this "there is a PC equivalent for everything Mac" business because you would shoot down anyone saying that there was a Mac equivalent for everything PC - because there isn't. If you think Photoshop or CS Suite is the whole of the design software universe - you're mistaken.

    While it might not be the reason the Departments want the Macs, there is actually a good reason to use them in graphics, design, and art classes in preference to PCs - because if the students continue in a career in those fields there is a high probability they will end up using Macs (which they may have never used before). It is a good thing for them to be exposed to them now, don't you think. Alternatively, in IT courses I would be trying to expose students to a variety of platforms - including UNIX, Linux, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android - because they may end up having to support or develop for any mix of them.

    So let's stop the hating and start the thinking...this doesn't have to be an either/or thing.
    Last edited by seawolf; 25th July 2013 at 01:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    While it might not be the reason the Departments want the Macs, there is actually a good reason to use them in graphics, design, and art classes in preference to PCs - because if the students continue in a career in those fields there is a high probability they will end up using Macs (which they may have never used before). It is a good thing for them to be exposed to them now, don't you think. Alternatively, in IT courses I would be trying to expose students to a variety of platforms - including UNIX, Linux, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android - because they may end up having to support or develop for any mix of them.
    IMO students should be taught the concepts involved in image editing using vector and pixel based packages but specific software is not important - in-fact specific software should be discouraged. The real aim should be that students can pick up any image editing package and feel confident that they can use it to do basic operations with minimal familiarisation because they know the basic concepts and they know that those don't change between systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    IMO students should be taught the concepts involved in image editing using vector and pixel based packages but specific software is not important - in-fact specific software should be discouraged. The real aim should be that students can pick up any image editing package and feel confident that they can use it to do basic operations with minimal familiarisation because they know the basic concepts and they know that those don't change between systems.
    As long as it's done with a PC right?

    Sorry, I disagree. You can't teach a student how to build an iOS app with a PC and a Nexus 7, you do it with a Mac and iOS (and vice versa). You don't teach a student to play the drums by teaching them how to read music and giving them piano lessons.

    This idea that we only have to teach generic, one-size fits all skills philosophy is a crock in the actual real world we live in. Teaching real skills and not just concepts is what students crave and need. Teaching them "concepts" is what makes too many students disinterested, unfulfilled, aimless and without ambition for learning. Real learning motivates students for further learning, teaching concepts is dull and boring.

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    I did say in the opening post that this wasn't intended as a Mac vs. PC debate.

    I am aware of the "familiarity" argument and am all for it; the question is whether that one point outweighs the problems with integration, the added security, the added cost, the training requirements...

    I have also not heard any concrete argument of "we need a Mac because of workflow X or application Y", I have only heard "because it's industry standard" without ever getting an answer to "why?". If there is a valid point made I will happily concede it; my job role is to fulfil the wishes of others, after all. The difficulty is in balancing requirements to meet the optimal set of wishes given a limited budget.

    (FWIW, current plan is that the 16 machines we were looking at initially will be PCs, in a general teaching room, shared by Media. The Art room that was going to have the machines in will now be a wet room, with benching & cabling at one end so that machines - potentially Macs - can be added at a later date, behind boards to segregate them from wet work*)

    (*as in paint, not murder)

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