Moving Mac support into the EnterpriseLocked
I manage the client part of our IT enviornment (desktops, laptops, printers, handhelds, etc…), and we have a very tightly managed enviornment allowing us to support around 1000 PCs with a pretty small staff. We also have 15 Macs. Until recently, it worked OK (not great, but OK) to allow the Macs to fairly well manage themselves. I’d provide basic scheduled hardware replacements, rudimentary break fix support, called in a vendor for more advanced break fixes, and let the users pretty well do what they wanted from there. They never had a need to share data or anything else with the Windows users, so it worked out.
Now we are seeing the need to better manage the Macs, as the lines between the Mac network and the Windows network are blurring to the point of being irrelevant. We have no Mac servers, but I really see the need to implement one soon. Simply put, we now need to fully manage the Mac enviornment the same way we manage the PC enviornment.
On the PCs, we allow only Power User rights, manage all software rollouts, remote control, Asset Management and other tasks through ZENWorks, manage patching through PatchLink, etc. I also have a person (Client Architect) full time devoted to developing and managing strategies around the PC environment. As much as possible, I would like to offer that sort of strategic development, planning, management and support of the Macs.
What have others done in similar situations? Considering the almost 70 to 1 PC to Mac ratio, it’s difficult to cost justify a dedicated Mac admin, but it’s looking more and more like I need someone to perform a function similar to my Client architect. Internal resources have little Mac experience, and really no experience in managing Macs as enterprise systems. No Mac server experience. Seeing as how we need someone to truly understand the entire corporate infrastructure, can we get by with an outsource solution? I’m thinking no, but others out there may have experiences that say otherwise.
I’m thinking we could use a dedicated Mac server/client administrator; but justifying the cost for just 15 clients is problematic. At the same time, is it worth it to develop Mac admin expertise from within, or is it better to find someone with existing appropriate experience? I’d love to hear what others have to say about their experience in staffing for enterprise-level Mac management in a primarily Windows environment.