I know a lot of administrators who would like to keep Macs off their network. However, that’s often impossible, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes Macs are required for multimedia or graphics design work. Other times there is an executive who prefers Macs and lobbies for them as an alternative. Whatever the case may be, IT pros are often forced to deal with Macs and make them play nice on a Windows network.

Back in the late 90’s, I had to deal with a handful of Macs on a Windows network — the business owner was a big Mac fan and wanted to use the Macs for digital photography and a few other desktop publishing tasks. The best way I found to deal with them was with a handy little piece of software called DAVE that allowed the Macs to essentially look like Windows machines. DAVE gave the Macs NetBIOS functionality and allowed them to join a Windows domain. Another great thing about DAVE was that it allowed me to turn off AppleTalk (an overly chatty protocol) on the Macs and rely solely on TCP/IP for networking. With OS X, DAVE isn’t really necessary since OS X has Samba built in.

Today, I work for a bigger company but I still see the Mac issue popping up every once in a while. Some managers or departments occasionally decide that they want to use Macs, and you can hear the collective groan of the IT department every time it happens because there have been a couple a Mac deployments that have not worked out very well. I’m interested to hear whether TechRepublic members have Macs on their networks (and why) and I’d like to hear their experiences in integrating those Macs.

This week’s TechRepublic poll asks “Does your network include any Macs?” If you haven’t taken the poll yet, you can go to the TechRepublic home page and scroll to the bottom to take it. Then you can join the companion discussion to comment on how you integrate Macs on your network.