I work for the Department of Education in Victoria, Australia. My position is sub-contracted out to private companies and we fulfil government tenders for schools. I am currently engaged at higher learning campuses where my role is to look after the network.It was budget time and after we determined what we want we got to the topic of IT department computers. We had a hodgepodge setup of Acer desktops and other devices which were aged and not performing for our daily tasks. I personally had a Lenovo R61. We initially looked at other desktops but decided a laptop would suit. Enter the 2011 Macbook Pro 13 inch laptop. Sleek, pretty and functional. UNIX-based and appeals to my sense of logic. No blue screens with my USB to Serial and most devices just work! My initial unboxing was an experience. I feel it is something that Apple strive for is the user experience. The smell, the well-thought out packaging and everything else right down to considerate protective wraps and cable layout.
Network Engineer requirements
Having used MacBooks in the education sector for a while, I know my way around the basics and the user administrative side. For me to make the move I had to set up a terminal server ahead of ordering and confirm the applications I needed to run my network (Administrative snap ins for 2008R2) would be fine. That and the SQL database stuffs.
My requirements of work at the following
- Remote Desktop
Once I was happy with that I went and sought out a better remote desktop program. The Remote desktop connection program that comes with Office 2011 is terrible. Crashes harder and more often than Mark Webber seems too. CoRD was my program that replaced RDC. It is fantastic. Allows to have multiple connections and save a list of favourites including the profiles, settings and what you want to connect. First item success.
Second was onto terminal. There are many versions out there. OSX comes with Terminal built in. It can screen console cables to terminal, ssh, telnet and create coffee. Well maybe not the last. But fantastic nonetheless. Oh it also has tabs. For me, Tabs are a must. Kinda started that bad habit a long time ago. Another success.
One thing that Microsoft has kept on their side is Visio. What a shame. I like Visio. This was almost the sole reason for not moving until I discovered Omnigraffle. Thanks to the Packet Pushers and the blogs on there for bringing it to my attention. This is mac’s equivalent for Visio. Works well with only a few minor moments where I had been lost. Rather excited about the fact that this ticks another off the lift.
Email is dealt with the built in mail app. Works well. Exchange plays nicely. PDF reading is also done natively. That sums up my simple requirements. Nice and easy migration really. Hardware pretty standard feedback amongst what is already well known. Solid battery life, decent processor and enough ram. HDD capacity is fine. I am not wanting to carry all my gigamegabits in the same place.
There are some great blog posts from Ivan Pepelnjak or young Tom over at Networking Nerd both have done great articles on converting to the Darkside. In my role I really only need a handful of applications to do my job. We can perform this on OSX/Linux/Windows and we will fulfil our job requirements. I feel it does come down to personal preference. What else is required by the enterprise you work for? What is needed for BAU? If you need a platform specific app that is critical then lean towards that. I, for one feel that there is nothing wrong with what ever you pick. I have had no qualms or major grievance using OSX. Heck, on the plus side iPhoto/Aperture are kinda neat.