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Mac Thread, Cost of implementing 20 photography Macs into Active Directory in Technical; I have been given the nod and the wink by our site manager that the Art department are going to ...
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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Question Cost of implementing 20 photography Macs into Active Directory

    I have been given the nod and the wink by our site manager that the Art department are going to be campaigning for Macs in their new Art block when it's built next year.

    I am against this, on a number of grounds:
    * Cost of equipment
    * Training, for us and staff & students
    * Likelihood of theft - local thieves have a strong track record of targeting Macs
    * Difficulty of & limits to integration with the existing network (as I understand it)
    * I can't see the bloody point, CS5 runs perfectly fine on Win7 x64 and no better on x86-based Macs (to the best of my knowledge)

    I would, however, like some actual numbers to back me up. Can anyone give me some idea on what work needs to be done to integrate Macs (and how well this integration actualy works), what cost this comes at and how much it costs for technician training? I can cost up the iMacs themselves (just had a look, good lord). I only need ballpark figures to make an argument - should SMT want a full investigation I'll get more detailed prices from a reseller.

    I just want these figures for now, not a discussion on the benefits of Macs in a school.

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    ICTDirect_Dave's Avatar
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    Well there's the security spect to start with. You'll need them locked down. How many macs do they want? I'll give you a ballpark figure of what it'll cost to keep them from leaving the room

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    We have around a dozen iMac's in our Music department and I personally wouldn't recommend them.

    We have had 2 theft's since they went in both targeting the apple equipment, so make sure to keep them in a secure area and security marked. There isn't anyway of cable tieing the mouse and keyboard so keep an eye on those as well.

    Staff and students have gotten that frustrated with how they behave on the network that we're now planning to set them up as stand alone workstations. Software installs and updates are particularly problematic as it's all done though the App Store using an apple account on the local PC. The other major issue was making it easy to save into student areas and restricting access to the local computer.

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    Integration? £349.99 for a base model mac mini, 13.99 for the Server.app, £71/55 for 3yrs AppleCare/3rd party support contract equivalent.

    Plus a bit of fiddling.

    YGPM (in a minute, when I've written it)

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    Are you setting it up yourself? You just need a mac server, they now sell mac minis with osx server installed, says they're £850 on apple store website.

    We have the magic triangle set up here. It works, but i wouldnt recommend it. The only reason we've got it is for logic. Staff will expect them to work the same as your PC's....... they dont.

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    robjduk's Avatar
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    £800 ish for a basic imac with a little more if you get applecare (£70 ish).
    £800 ish for a mac mini server
    £70 for copy of remote desktop for mac server
    All iMacs have a slot for Kensington lock so say £30 per lock
    Training wise, I went on a course but didn't teach me anything that a week along with the hardware and bing couldn't tell me and it integrates perfectly with AD
    Don't forget additional costs for Photoshop as don't think modern ones are cross platform.
    You may want to factor some external storage as allowing them to save locally to the machines is a pain over time when they loose stuff and its not backed up. I got a £400 Thunderbolt 4TB thing along with the students standard storage (talks easily).

    for 20 your looking at a getting, a figure of £18,000 ish minus Art software (talk to a vendor like stone but use apple store for guide)

    Also... cant resist but to tip fuel on the situation but to point out for the cost of 3-4 iMacs, you can pay for a site licence of Serif
    Last edited by robjduk; 27th June 2013 at 09:22 PM.

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    The big cost for us is time. If you have lots of it, you can probably make your selves a nice enough setup, but it would be alot quicker to go with PCs if you already have a good windows based network.

    There are various tools available to configure and deploy macs, some don't cost much or anything. Deploy studio, munki and reposado are all free. Haven't found a good way of managing preferences yet. I can't for the life of me get our new mac server to hand out preferences properly, so I wouldn't recommend that. It wouldn't be so bad, but the default profile is awful. This all seemed to work (just) until 10.7/10.8, then apple decided to break it all.

    The lead time on new macs is quite long as well. Most of our suppliers don't seem to keep them in stock, and just order them in when they have to. This is a bit of a problem if they all get stolen mid-term like ours did this year. Can your students cope several weeks without equipment? Much less of an issue if they use PCs. Most security methods won't stop the determined thieves that are going round school at the moment. They took ours out of a 1st floor window, down a ladder. 15 macs, and not a trace of evidence.

    You should factor in some decent CCTV to cover the rooms, inside and out. Generally you want to make the room into a prison. That's going to cost a lot on its own.

    If you do go for them, I can recommend your local mac store (or at least our local one). They couldn't help us enough.

    To be honest, unless you are running mac only software, just don't bother, 'cos the biggest cost is your sanity...

    You may also find problems with the integration if your windows domain ends in '.local'.

    I've yet to hear a technical reason or requirement that justifies putting a mac in a school.

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    robjduk's Avatar
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    I don't mean to contradict (really really don't want to) but a mac mini server can manage preferences with ease. Just ensure they run the enrolment profile and then you can add them to groups all day long and the last iMacs I ordered from Stone took 2 days. Don't get me wrong, I don't support iMacs at all but if you have to do it, its really not very hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    I have been given the nod and the wink by our site manager that the Art department are going to be campaigning for Macs in their new Art block when it's built next year.

    I am against this, on a number of grounds:
    * Cost of equipment
    * Training, for us and staff & students
    * Likelihood of theft - local thieves have a strong track record of targeting Macs
    * Difficulty of & limits to integration with the existing network (as I understand it)
    * I can't see the bloody point, CS5 runs perfectly fine on Win7 x64 and no better on x86-based Macs (to the best of my knowledge)

    I would, however, like some actual numbers to back me up. Can anyone give me some idea on what work needs to be done to integrate Macs (and how well this integration actualy works), what cost this comes at and how much it costs for technician training? I can cost up the iMacs themselves (just had a look, good lord). I only need ballpark figures to make an argument - should SMT want a full investigation I'll get more detailed prices from a reseller.

    I just want these figures for now, not a discussion on the benefits of Macs in a school.
    1. Yes, Macs on average cost a bit more for an equivalent spec'd machine, but not that much more if you're really comparing like for like (the one case where you can't say "Apples with Apples" ). The build quality is also much higher than most PCs built today (unfortunately), and they hold their value very well in the secondhand market. I've found they also tend to last a bit longer (useful life) than the equivalent PC (I'd say 25% longer).

    2. Training - do you really want your skills to become old and irrelevant with the march of time? Take this as an opportunity to increase your knowledge and become the rarely found sysadmin who is competent with both Windows and Mac (I have been an admin for Linux and Solaris systems as well as Windows and Mac in the past 15 years) Windows Server 2012 and Win 8 are different enough from their predecessors that some training is going to be required, whether that's time spent in trial and error and self study or a course.

    3. They are a bigger target for theft than a black box PC, which should tell you something in itself (demand is high for them), so use a cable lock on them (Kensington, Tryten, etc,). And you can cable tie the mouse and keyboards in contrast to a previous comment. Just cable tie the mouse to the keyboard cable and the keyboard cable to the cutout in the base where the cables go through. We do this and haven't had a single mouse or keyboard go bye bye in 3 years. The kids can't swap the keys around on the keyboards either like they enjoy doing on the Dells and we only have had one damaged where a student tried this before realising they were just breaking the keyboard.

    4. You'll need an entry level Mac Mini to use as a server, or even any good condition used x86 Mac compatible with Mountain Lion to act as a server for Configuration Profiles. In other words, it won't cost much to manage them. There is no need to bind to OD if you use Profiles, only your AD domain.

    5. If you have a .local Windows domain performance won't be nearly what it could be, but it will still work. Here we have about a 60/40 split of Mac/Windows and the Macs login faster to the AD domain than the Windows clients (we don't use a .local domain, but used to and it's like night and day). Our Macs are fully integrated and far easier to image, manage, and migrate than the Windows 7 clients.

    6. CS5 might run equally well on either platform, but there is a whole gamut of useful graphics design and sound recording software out there that only runs on the Mac. Final Cut and Logic Pro being a couple of examples. Pixelmator, Acorn, and iDraw being a few others.

    And finally, if you look at the current trajectory of OSX and Windows, then I would rather hitch my wagon to OSX than Windows. I don't like the direction MS is going at all with Win8, whereas I see Apple heading more and more in the right direction with OSX with each and every release, particularly with the upcoming Maverics release.

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    chazzy2501's Avatar
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    MACs can join a windows domain! Well my old ones do. Don't need a mac server now do you? get an imac they'll be £800 with edu discount, bulk purchase and no VAT. (get the edu version without the wired keyboard n' mouse) The cost of a decent PC with a calibrated IPS screen would be £600ish anyway. So the premium isn't that bad. Like I said I'm sure you can join a mac directly to a windows domain.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Thanks chaps - much appreciated. Didn't know about the Mac mini as a server thing, last discussion I had with anyone about this you could still get the Xserve to do that job.

    For reference, I'd been planning on putting in Core i5 machines with 8/16GB RAM and SSDs, alongside 27" 2560x1440 monitors. I'm estimating about £600 for the PC including five year warranty, based on the £400 cost of i3/8GB/SSD PCs we bought last summer, and £400 for the monitor. A quick glance at Insight shows that the nearest iMac - 27", i5 - is £1400, and doesn't have the SSD. We happily run computers for five years here, and this summer I am choosing not to replace some C2D HP's because they're still fine (putting an SSD in instead to perk them up). Build quality on Stone/Novatech kit has always been more than good enough for our environment.

    We already have CS5 and I believe we are licensed for both architectures - they sent us both sets of discs at the time, anyway. There's no specific use case been mooted that requires Macs; it seems to be a manifestation of the common Art department paranoia that if they're not doing it on Macs, they're not doing it right.

    Our domain is .internal, fortunately, so there wouldn't be issues there at least.

    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.

    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)
    Last edited by sonofsanta; 28th June 2013 at 08:37 AM.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    What a pointless exercise. It's time to slap the people petitioning for that with a wet fish, and a Misco (or insert supplier of choice) catalogue with some bookmarks in the high gammut monitor section. Why do people insist on spending money because they see shiney shiney!

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    What a pointless exercise. It's time to slap the people petitioning for that with a wet fish, and a Misco (or insert supplier of choice) catalogue with some bookmarks in the high gammut monitor section. Why do people insist on spending money because they see shiney shiney!
    I am trying to maintain an impartial, open mind about this, but you can probably sense a thread of agreement running through my posts. You can get some gorgeous 27" monitors, we have the screen calibration hardware, and I will get Photoshop running like a dream on an x64 install.

    On a personal level, of course I would like to know more about Macs, and add that line to my CV - but it isn't about me. It's about what's best for the school and the best use of money.

    I will even buy them white monitors if it makes them happy. On a related note, does anyone have an Apple logo stencil and a can of grey spray paint in the right shade?

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    We got loads of apple stickers with our iPads. I've been tempted to go roud sticking them on the PCs.

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    We have 60 macs here, and they are fine. 30 of them are "wasted" in my opinion, being used for stuff any machine can do. The other 30 are being used for Garage Band, iMovie etc, they are all integrated into the network. The network here is .local though, and they are frankly garbage at logging in, it takes ages, and they have to be rebooted between logins for some reason. All stuff to look at for me during the summer.

    They do share the network storage though with no problems, they are controlled centrally as well, including the profiles etc without any problems, yes the Apple updates regularly break a few things, but usually this is easily fixed, Microsoft/ Windows does the same after all.

    Security issues, well most of our school has bars on the windows, the mac rooms have bars and then internal shutters, but in the past at a different work, we would put huge bolts through the base and the desk to make them extremely difficult to steal. Keyboards and mice are a problem, so the students can't change keys easily, well that means they just break the keys instead... we go through about 15 keyboards a year, and probably a similar amount of mice, this might be due to classroom management though? They are high demand items because they are shiny, nothing else.

    A mac holding it's value is hardly relevant to most schools, as we don't resell them anyway.

    On a personal note, I don't think they are worth the money at all, if it was a Windows PC versus a Mac at very similar costs, then sure but otherwise I don't think the premium is worth it unless you are going to make use of the Mac only software.

    Also remember Mac work on a shorter life cycle for software, usually you can get 3 OS upgrades then your hardware is no longer supported.

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