The Hottest Mac Tools For The New-Age IT Manager
Handling IT needs, integrating your workspace and managing your Macs can be a breeze with the help of these essential tools.
Need to track all the Mac computers on your system? No problem! Just install the MACtracker and let it do your job. It aggregates information on a variety of accessory units such as your mouse, printer, Wi-Fi cards, even scanners, while keeping track of technical specifications of your mac systems. Without it, it’s safe to say that most IT managers would be at a loss on how to best upgrade or utilize their machines.
Apple’s Disk Utility Tool and Software Restore
When it comes to monolithic cloning, the Apple Disk Utility Tool and ASR (software restore, accessible only from the command line) is the way to go. It offers a choice between both GUI and Diskutil tools (with command lines), to help clone systems for easy configuration of multiple computers on the same network, while allowing system administration as well. Both of these tools can be improved upon with the use of accessory tools such as Carbon Copy Cloner or Blast Image Config (for image capture, deployment, and ASR session setups).
Property List Editor
Property list editors such as PlistEdit Pro for Mac are an essential tool for network admins on any IT panel, particularly for situations that demanding editing system or application preferences. The GUI tool that allows editing of XMP .plist preference files is available for both Mac and Windows servers. However, if you would prefer doing these modifications from within an app and then transferring the .plist files resulting from it, you could choose a Preference Setter for Mac-like application, geared towards viewing or editing preference files on OS X platforms.
NetInstall and NetRestore
These features of the Mac OS X Server were conceptualized on the basis of a “NetBoot” system, with allowance for servers to host boot volumes and direct booting from networks. NetInstall, configured as a utility and admin tool for booting OS X installers, can perform pre- as well as post-installation tasks (binding, installation, partitioning, etc). On the other hand, NetInstall works a little like the ASR to deploy specific images/offer image selections from available database. By the way, AutoCasperNBI is a great tool which can help you automate the process of creating NetBoot images.
This inexpensive tool by Adrian Granados functions as a wireless network scanning tool, helping diagnose or troubleshoot connectivity/performance related issues. Not only can it detect channel conflicts, but also take care of configurational or signal overlap problems. WiFi Explorer, with its clean and simplistic UI, can be a great tool to have in the arsenal for sorting out any network related issues on your systems. For additional help in the network department, you could also install the Angry IP Scanner which can resolve IP address hostnames, determine MAC addresses, scan ports, and report back on existing subnet IP connections.
Config. files are a headache for most IT managers, so is it any wonder that there are some amazing tools to take care of these for you? TextWrangler, for example, is a great free application that highlights the lines relevant to you. It also integrates a search option for Find and Replace features. Whether you need to make changes to UNIX configuration files on the Mac, or have corrupted processing files that your systems can no longer read, TextWrangler is the one-stop solution for simplifying tasks that traditionally take a very long time and a lot of patience.
Apple Remote Desktop
The remote desktop option from Apple can be a little pricey (at a single-license $299 package), but it’s a worthy investment for IT admins. It has the capability to report on, identify or virtually track minute details including application usage, hardware inventories, and user access. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the most essential tools on the list of must-haves in this category. With the ability to monitor the use of remote Mac computer including overall status, have access to troubleshooting shares, remote (and completely hidden) control of systems, or even global messaging alert systems – it has a great feature set for you to consider. Of course, you could also use other applications such as CorD for remote access, but the ARD is the most stable OS X desktop management system out there – not just for remote assistance, but software distribution and management of systems.
This is a useful tool for administrators looking to procure a fresh clean boot image for OS X. The system works on the basis of taking up an OS X Installer, building a clean system image, and then suitable deployment with the help of additional software like the DeployStudio. All you need is an installer to create an installer package for all the computers under your control, which makes it a useful tool to have for system managers and admins.
Active Directory Suites
OS X comes with a built-in Active Directory client for joining Active Directory domains, allowing single sign-on options. Of course, you can also use a dual-directory setup from Apple, joining the Open and Active directories for secure access to resources. With Apple’s Profile Manager Feature you have the choice of both iOS device management and MAC client management without the hassle of opting for directory services. Apple’s Active Directory tools are good, but not perfect – no client management support beyond basic passwords, no DFS browsing, etc. can be severely crippling.
To expand your access and management of your devices, you might consider other options such as the PowerBroker Identity Services Open-Ed, and Centrify Express, which has the capability of broader authentication and access abilities. If you desire to integrate your client management capabilities without having to go through complex dual directory setups or extensions of schemata, the Direct Control and Enterprise Editions respectively are a good option.
Author: Rahul Sharma
Image Courtesy: KROMKRATHOG, freedigitalphotos.net