Does Microsoft Rule School Servers?



There’s so much buzz around Apple and education in the U.S. these days, you’d be forgiven if you assumed there was a “One iPad Per Child” program officially in effect.

Case in point, a school said to have “shunned” Macs in favor of PCs makes news.

Then you read the story, and it turns out that Adam Gerson, tech director for Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in New York City, is a lifelong Apple fan who opted for Microsoft servers after slogging through a decade of trying times while trying to keep a network of Apple servers running smoothly.

So now the school relies on Microsoft servers. However, Apple computers still “reign supreme” on the desks. There are 450 Apple machines now humming along happily with Microsoft servers – with better uptime and performance than the previous all-Apple network.

The all-Apple network “crashed frequently,” Gerson said. “I couldn’t sleep well at night worrying about crashes.” He was also concerned about Apple discontinuing the rack-mountable hardware the school used. Now, despite having to rely on third-party VMware software, everything “works great.”

The iPhone and iPad are “great consumer devices,” says Gerson, but he remains doubtful about how iPads can be managed easily in the enterprise right now.

Via Network World

  • freerange

    I’m sorry. The purpose of this article is what? Apple has gotten out of the server business. And the last statement by this guy is just total nonsense  – “but he remains doubtful about how iPads can be managed easily in the enterprise right now.” Especially since hundreds of thousands, if not millions, are already being managed on servers. This one person’s credentials are what again?

  • Andrew John

    I’ve been working with OSX servers for a while and crashes were not one of their common problems. Either the network setup or software compatibility will be the first things I’d be looking at. UNIX servers don’t just crash without some major problems. The cost of running Microsoft servers are far more expensive (IT companies thrive on them). An Xserve with all software – $5000-$6000. Microsoft server once all admin software is purchased, $20,000-$25,000. Apple dropped out of the pro server market early this year, but once you have one, it should last a long time and is upgradable. Mac Pros and Mac Minis can pick up the slack, and for a school setup, a couple of Mac Pros will do just fine. The school budget will be eaten up by expensive software updates and lots of IT time running anti virus and defrag programs. If he was so concerned, use a Linux server.

  • Will Waters

    We are having the same problem at my school (in the UK, we have the biggest network of macs in europe) however we do not have so many crashes, in fact we have only had 1 so far in 2011, with an all mac network 

  • eve techme

    well I like microsoft better, it’s user friendly for me..

  • Guest

    I am an Apple Certified System Administrator who has been working with Mac servers on the enterprise level for over ten years. From my perspective Apple still sells server products that they claim are powerful enough to meet enterprise class needs, but in real world applications they can not handle the load. Supporting network home directories combined with AFP on Mac OS X Server is not stable with a large number of concurrent connections. (75+ in my experience). It crashed every few weeks for us under that load (and has for years across multiple versions of the OS, on many iterations of hardware, and after clean installs and Apple recommended tweaks). Colleagues I have spoken to echo these same problems. I have also found Open Directory to become corrupted and cranky periodically over the years. As far as iPad management, there is ubiquitous agreement in the community of IT Managers that Apple has designed them as consumer oriented devices. Apple’s tools, as well as what they make possible for 3rd parties to accomplish, are very limited in terms of bulk management and deployment. I love the Mac OS and my iDevices, and we are very happy with the client side of our Mac deployment, but Apple needs to provide reliable tools for backend enterprise management of their products. If you are looking for directory authentication, network homes with AFP, and pushing out managed preferences, Windows is the best choice for supporting large deployments of Mac clients at this time.

  • agerson

    I did not intend to post as “Guest” – that is my comment above that starts “I am an Apple Certified System Administrator…”

  • djrobsd

    So true, Apple has just turned a blind eye to trying to capture the server market… Which is why they will never dominate in corporate america.  Corporations run on Microsoft, and while they may adopt iPads and iPhones for their employees to use, there is a very slim chance they will ever get rid of their PC’s when the servers on the back end are running Windows.

  • djrobsd

    It’s true.  A company can lock down your PC and prohibit you from installing software, but the same can not be true with the iPad.  

  • BlueJay667

    They can be managed easily, but have to be replaced every year ;)

  • Christopher Jr Lucas Riley

    Actually, they can. Just set up Parental Controls, tick off “Installing Apps”. Boom! App Store disappears.

  • Edith Harrigan

    I really don’t know but I like both brands..

    microsoft and apple