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Windows Vs Osx For The Sysadmin!

#1 User is offline   Jackfrost 

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 06:20 PM

I work in a primarily Windows environment, dealing with everything from desktop to SAN including all the VM's, switches, hosts and physical hardware in between. We have some Linux servers, a couple of sun machines and a load of Cisco/Extreme networking kit.

We need new laptops, ideally something beefy to allow for a number of VM's to be hosted locally, quick and reliable. As light as possible, nice high resolution and reasonable screen estate.

We've looked at the new Dell XPS 15 which we'll likely install Windows 7 over Win 8.1, a Fujitsu Ultrabook (U904) and a Mac Book Pro. The hardware specs are mostly identical (Core i7 2.6ghz, 16GB Ram, 512GB SSD). The Fujitsu is much lighter but loses some RAM, screen estate and a dedicated gfx card. The macbook is the same as the XPS 15 exactly apart from the screen resolution (which is marginally lower at 28801800 compared with 3200 x 1800) and the lack of a touchscreen, which would probably be more of a hindrance.

So spec wise, no real difference.

The question is, what benefits are there (if any) to using a macbook running OSX in my environment? I've never really used OSX and have generally been against the idea, but i'm seeing this as something new to learn and if it brings added features or makes things easier, then even better.

Next question is, how does VMware fusion compare to workstation, is the feature set the same, reading the dertail from VMWare and some whitepapers/release notes it seems to suggest they're pretty much identical, but i could be missing something!


Cheers!

#2 User is offline   Croc 

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:13 AM

Learn linux over MacOS, especially for sys admin purposes. It's free, open, has very few single-dist features and used everywhere.

I develop and run a number of linux vms on win 8 (8.1 actually). I'm not sure why going backwards to win 7 offers anything unless it's for a very specific sys-admin reason.

#3 User is offline   Goatfacekillah 

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:46 AM

View PostCroc, on 31 October 2013 - 08:13 AM, said:

Learn linux over MacOS, especially for sys admin purposes. It's free, open, has very few single-dist features and used everywhere.

I develop and run a number of linux vms on win 8 (8.1 actually). I'm not sure why going backwards to win 7 offers anything unless it's for a very specific sys-admin reason.


I agree with Corc on Linux being much better to learn from over OSx. In terms of getting Linux or OSx to jive with a Windows network, it's pretty much the same set of issues, none of which are difficult. We've got tons of Macs these days though and they're no trouble in our mainly Windows environment. I'd say we have about 20% Macs; good few Ubuntus in there too. I use an i7 Macbook pro myself which I love - but I'm not doing anything where I have to get under the hood too much so having a powerful processor and a nice display were more important to me. If I wanted flexibility I'd be running Ubuntu on an equivalent spec, probably Dell or something like that.

#4 User is offline   Croc 

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:04 AM

The best thing you can do to learn Linux is to partition a big chunk of disk space off and install a Gentoo system. If you can get through that you'll have the foundations nailed down. If you have modern hardware you may struggle to get components to work, as the open source drivers don't always exist or are not very good, but it's definitely worth it.

#5 User is offline   Jackfrost 

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:27 PM

I'm fairly OK with Linux, could probably spend more time using it and will by the looks of things. I keep meaning to spend more time learning Linux but being a mostly Microsoft shop currently i don't really get enough of an opportunity to do so for actual production tasks.

Chris, do you run any local VM's and if so, what do you use? I've looked at VMWare fusion and Parallels for Mac, any idea how feature rich it is and whether configuring entire test labs is possible?

#6 User is offline   Goatfacekillah 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 09:25 AM

I've used Parallels on my Mac and found it feature rich - I like the way you can run Windows programs directly from the Dock. I don't have much reason to use any native Windows software these days so haven't really used it for a year or so, I also don't know how it works when dealing with automated set ups to multiple machines but I'd imagine they've thought of that.

Most of our servers are in AWS so our local VM usage has diminished for both serious and test usage.

If you can run this stuff off Macs then I'd go down that route - as you say, it's something new to learn and they're nice to use and own (if you can spring for retina displays they're great for watching stuff in bed :) )

#7 User is offline   Jackfrost 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:24 AM

This was my thinking. Apple limit their OS deployment (unless you want to hack it on) to run on apple hardware. So the only real way to play with OSX, Linux, Windows on one device is to have a mac.

Looks as if the latest version of VMWare fusion (ver6) has caught up a lot with VMWare workstation so the feature set is getting close to identical.

We ordered them yesterday, my only real concerns are drivers, but I'm sure this will be fine. We opted for max spec 15" probooks. I cant wait to explain to my boss how using an Apple device in a Windows environment is a good idea :coolface:

#8 User is offline   Dev 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 10:17 PM

Since macs started using x86 chips hacking it on is not as daunting as it used to be, google hackintosh.

Goaty, do you have any good links? I have recently become responsible for a mac which is replacing a windows machine. I suspect I may end up with some apps that are windows only so will need to run parrallels but I know sfa about it.

#9 User is offline   Jackfrost 

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:00 AM

They arrived...first hour or so was literally, wtf have we done, this was a totally stupid idea.

Then I figured out the idiosyncrasies and it got better. Once I'd installed the vmware fusion trial and run up a win7 vm and a ubuntu desktop in a vm, i was pretty happy. Unity mode is amazing. You can basically reference apps from you VM's in osx, so you could run windows command prompt or calc straight from osx. Couple that with the Microsoft RDP app and i literally have no concerns now. I've checked driver support for my usb-to-serial converters and ssh on a mac is far nicer anyway.

Dev - get hold of the vmware fusion trial, lasts 30 days, spin up a windows vm and i dont think you'll see any problems. I'm going to have a look for parallels later and see how that compares, but considering i've spent the last 12 years totally avoiding macs and osx i'm pretty happy so far.

#10 User is offline   Goatfacekillah 

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:55 AM

Not really Dev - I just installed Parallels and hacked my way through it. Think I had about three different upgrades but I didn't really use it in a heavy way (played the Nintendo 64 'Doom 64' through it) as well as ran native Windows Apps like Office etc.

Buying Office for Mac pretty much killed my use of Parallels though. But it worked amazingly well to the levels Jack describes.

#11 User is offline   Jackfrost 

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:21 PM

Have to say, really liking the Macbook so far. Still getting used to some differences between OSX and Windows, mostly keyboard shortcuts and just where system files are stored, but its been ok.

The only thing that was slightly annoying was the lack of an ethernet port. You get two USB3's and two Thunderbolts so we opted for a Thunderbolt to GbE adaptor, which works nicely but i'm suprised they've started dropping ethernet ports from more 'Pro' devices.

VMWare Fusion is pretty awesome, especially Unity mode which essentially gives you all your Windows apps accessible directly from OSX.

I still feel like a nob using something with a massive glowy apple on the back though!

This post has been edited by Jackfrost: 05 November 2013 - 08:23 PM


#12 User is offline   DrWu 

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 11:22 PM

Kill me now.

#13 User is offline   Jackfrost 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 07:34 AM

cry more plz failed tech

#14 User is offline   Croc 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 08:13 AM

Two good posts (y)

#15 User is offline   Goatfacekillah 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:08 AM

View PostJackfrost, on 06 November 2013 - 07:34 AM, said:

cry more plz failed tech


Real life lol

#16 User is offline   DrWu 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 09:22 PM

Are those Macbooks wipe clean?

#17 User is offline   Goatfacekillah 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 09:48 PM

View PostDrWu, on 06 November 2013 - 09:22 PM, said:

Are those Macbooks wipe clean?


Only the very latest models!

#18 User is offline   Jackfrost 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:02 PM

:ohyeah:

#19 User is offline   DrWu 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:12 PM

How can you actually justify the extra cost for a macbook in the working environment unless there is a specific thing you need to do on it?

SRS QUESTION.

#20 User is offline   Jackfrost 

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 07:42 AM

The extra cost wasn't actually that much when we looked at comparative specs from other manufacturers. The only option we really had was the Dell XPS, which isn't available for business purchase for another 2 months, meaning no business level support and the build quality isn't that of a business laptop. I didn't find this out until we actually went to place an order. The other options meant we would have dropped performance somewhere.

Couple this with the ability to learn and use OSX in a business capacity means we should be able to support macs a bit better. The company I work for is moving towards Bring Your Own Device, so eventually the question of Macs and OSX will come up. I know for a fact some of our services don't work with OSX currently, so being able to check that stuff out and rectify it will be handy.

I was with with you, justifying using a macbook in a completely non-mac environment is madness, but its not causing a hindrance and having a quick, light and reliable laptop will make things better.

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