In our previous posting, we talked about the specific issues IT administrators face in the education environment. Today, we‘d like you to meet one of these admins, Ian North (Figure 1). Ian is in his mid-thirties and lives with his partner in the county of Hertfordshire near London. He works with great dedication as a system administrator with the Haberdashers‘ Aske´s Federation. This somewhat unwieldy name refers to a foundation that was established by Robert Aske, a haberdasher who died in 1689. The foundation runs an association of educational institutions in the southern London metropolitan area. A more-or-less up-to-date photo of Ian might tell what he likes to do most in his spare time, apart from writing his extremely readable blog (Ian’s Musings) and trying out ambitious experiments in his kitchen:
The hobby-photographer’s youthfulness would lead you to assume that he is blessed with highly enviable genes—or that he has his stress level under control in a similarly enviable way, considering he has a job where he‘s responsible for the wellbeing of more than 2,500 Windows computers and 200 Mac computers, among other things. And anyone who knows how “creatively” students can carry on with their computers will have some idea of what this is about…
We don’t know anything about Ian’s genetic disposition, of course. But we do know all about the stress-relieving measures Ian resorts to every day. He was one of the first IT professionals on the British Isles to learn about an especially effective agent for IT admins in multi-platform operating system environments: Parallels® Mac Management for Microsoft® SCCM.
This plug-in for the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)—which managed the existing Windows systems at Haberdasher—enabled Ian to reduce the Mac administration to a minimum. Until then, it had been overly time- and resource-consuming. Instead of personally making his way to every Mac mini®, iMac®, or MacBook® in need of care (as he would have to do before Parallels Mac Management), Ian can now handle software enrollment, device registration via Apple DEP, all of the hardware and software asset management, patch management, and many more essential tasks from the same console used to manage the Windows systems.
Good for Ian—and good for his complexion, as you can see.