This week’s MacSysAdmin 2012 Conference in Sweden kicks off a line of Mac/iOS conferences and training opportunities for IT professionals.
While many Apple fans and IT professionals that support iOS devices in the workplace are eagerly awaiting tomorrow’s Apple announcement, a group of Apple in the enterprise experts are meeting at MacSysAdmin 2012 – a conference for European IT professionals tasked with managing Macs and iOS devices in business, education, and other workplace settings. The annual conference traditionally posts videos of its sessions online for free (as does the Penn State MacAdmins Conference that was held in the U.S. this spring).
That isn’t the only major conference for Mac and iOS IT professionals, however. October brings two other major events (one of them free) and there are a number of excellent smaller events scheduled throughout the fall.
Registration is available for this fall’s MacTech Conference 2012.
Registration is now open for MacTech Conference 2012. The annual conference, which is a great learning and networking experience for IT professionals and developers, will be held October 17 – 19 in Los Angeles. A pre-registration discount is available for anyone who registers by the end of August.
The conference is sponsored by MacTech magazine and was launched in 2010, the year that Apple chose to focus its annual Worldwide Developers Conference solely on iOS. Since then, the conference has grown into a major event for IT professionals that need to support Macs and/or iOS devices in business, enterprise, and education environments. The conference has also become a serious event for Mac and iOS developers.
The enterprise integration vendors of the Enterprise Device Alliance have announced universal support for Mountain Lion.
The member companies that make up the Enterprise Device Alliance announced earlier this week that all of their products have either been updated already with support for Mountain Lion or will be within a few weeks.
The Enterprise Device alliance is a consortium of companies focused on integration Apple technologies in the business and enterprise environments. The solutions offered by those member companies include Active Directory integration, Mac and iOS device management, advanced file and print integration options, mobile backup, Windows virtualization, and help desk operations.
Mountain Lion Server’s Profile Manager illustrates the future of Mac and iOS management.
Since the release of Snow Leopard Server three years ago, Apple has been steering its server platform away from large enterprise deployments. Instead Apple has redesigned OS X Server to meet the needs of the small to mid-size business market as well as the needs of Apple-centric departments or workgroups in larger organizations. That focus is very clear if you download and install Mountain Lion Server or look through the Mountain Lion Server documentation from Apple.
One of the transitions that Apple began in Lion and Lion Server, which were released last summer, was a move away from the traditional Mac management architecture that Apple has provided in OS X Server since it launched the platform more than a decade ago. In its place, Apple has built a management system for Macs that is very similar to the mobile management features available in iOS.
Apple continues to update Apple Remote Desktop without issuing a major new feature-laden upgrade.
Apple released a range of updates to the its Mac applications last week along with the release of Mountain Lion on Wednesday. Most of those updates were to integrate new Mountain Lion technologies and provide general compatibility with the new OS.
Among them were updates for Apple Remote Desktop, Apple’s extremely powerful and flexible remote management solution for Mac systems. In addition to offering support for Mountain Lion, the update also added a couple new features focused around some of Apple’s latest hardware, but no major changes. In fact, one has to wonder why this amazing Mac IT solution has gotten so few updates over the past few years.
Workgroup Manager and Managed Preferences are alive and kicking in Mountain Lion Server.
In addition to launching Mountain Lion Server last week, Apple rather quietly released a Mountain Lion Server version of Workgroup Manager – the traditional Mac management tool included in previous releases of OS X Server. The move was unexpected after Apple released the Advanced Administration guide for Mountain Lion Server, which implied that administrators would need to begin an almost-immediate shift to Mountain Lion Server’s Profile Manager.
The move is good news for many organizations that have an existing investment in OS X Server and Mac clients. Although Mountain Lion Server’s Profile Manager is arguably a more modern and enterprise-friendly solution, it only supports Macs running Lion and Mountain Lion. Any schools or businesses with clients still on Leopard or Snow Leopard would be out of luck if Profile Manager were the only available option.
Some Mac security and Mac management tools already support Mountain Lion, but there are many that haven’t gotten their yet.
Many Mountain Lion apps will function normally under Mountain Lion, but many won’t. Of particuar concern are the various utilities that help keep Mac systems secure, scan for viruses and malware, integrate with enterprise systems in businesses and schools, and dianose and repair problems.
These tools often require much deeper integration with OS X than other apps. That means that developers need to ensure they function as intended and don’t damage any documents, files, OS X system components, or other apps. That can sometimes delay releases of key utilities.
Here’s a list of Mac utilities and enterprise tools that have confirmed Mountain Lion Compatibility
Deploying Mountain Lion across dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of Mac can be easy and efficient if you do it the right way.
Among Mountain Lion’s more than 200 new features are many that have distinct appeal for business users. AirPlay Mirroring, the ability to share items with colleagues, secure and unified messaging across Macs and iOS devices, one-step encryption of hard drives and flash drives, Reminders, Notification Center, VIP prioritization in Mail, and dictation are just handful of the Mountain Lion features that are poised to become great business and education tools.
With so many great features, IT departments big and small are likely to hear requests for Mountain Lion from employees, managers, educators, and even students. While Mountain Lion may be an easy and painless upgrade for consumers, any major OS upgrade poses challenges and concerns for technology professionals and Mountain Lion is no different. In this guide, we’ll show you how to prepare for Mountain Lion, test it for compatibility issues, and plan a successful roll out.
Mountain Lion’s consumer security and cloud features conflict in schools and workplaces.
In putting together the various features of Mountain Lion, Apple may end up encouraging business and enterprise customers to actually make their Macs less secure instead of ratcheting up security as some key Mountain Lion capabilities are intended to do.
There are a handful of technologies involved, but they center around iCloud and Apple’s requirement that apps sold in the Mac App Store support Apple’s application sandboxing technique.
Appearances can be deceiving. Mountain Lion Server still has solid enterprise capabilities.
Apple has released two documents about Mountain Lion Server ahead of this month’s Mountain Lion (and Mountain Lion Server) launch. The first, a 25 page product guide, offered a some insights into the changes and new features that Apple wants to highlight for customers. The second is Apple’s Advanced Administration guide, an in-depth document that would be nearly 400 pages is it were printed or packaged as a PDF. This guide is the full documentation for Mountain Lion Server and it offers a lot of information about all the changes that Apple has made since Lion Server shipped last summer.
On the surface, these two guides are enough to make longtime OS X Server administrators nervous at Apple’s removal of the advanced admin tools and features that have been in nearly every previous OS X Server release. It’s very easy to look at the contents of the Advanced Administration guide and assume Apple is completing the consumerization of its server platform.
Digging a bit deeper, however, reveals that Apple may actually have a winning strategy in the way that it continues to integrate iOS and Mac management into a single workflow and that not all of the capabilities from previous iterations of OS X Server have been scrapped.