Facebookfaces few limitations to Mac integration
Facebook is even more of a mixed Mac and Windows corporate environment than Citrix. IT director Kunal Malik estimates the company is 60 percent Mac and 40 percent Windows. "We found early on that Macs were better at multitasking and a much better environment for coding than Windows," he says.
As the company grew, Macs spread to sales, marketing, and business development, whose users much prefer Apple's Keynote to Microsoft PowerPoint. "Our CRM, ERP, and financial applications are all Web-based and Firefox-compliant, so we have no issues running them on a Mac." But most of their financial users are primarily Windows-based because the latest Mac version of Excel doesn't allow the use of Visual Basic macros.
Like its more Windows-based brethren, the company runs Active Directory, which integrates well with Apple's Open Directory. But integration with Microsoft Exchange is not so smooth. The Mac Exchange client, called Entourage, doesn't support all Exchange functions, but Mac users have managed to get around most of them by relying more heavily on their BlackBerrys and iPhones and using discussion forums to substitute for long e-mail threads.
OrangeCountysheriff misses Dell's level of service
Although many companies have successfully brought Macs into their Windows-oriented infrastructure, not all mixed Mac/PC shops' experiences are rosy.
After using Macs to create training podcasts, the Orange County (Calif.) Sheriff's Department expanded Mac use to its investigative staff and environments with little desk space, such as in a helicopter. "Dell didn't have the form factor we were looking for," says Chris Cao, a technical system specialist. So the agency deployed Mac notebooks running Windows via Apple's Boot Camp technology, which creates a separate partition to boot into Windows.
What IT hadn't planned for, however, was the hard time it would have getting Dell's enterprise level of support from Apple. "Apple won't let us crack open the cases unless we're Apple certified, and replacement parts take a while to get here," says Cao. For confidentiality reasons, investigator laptops simply cannot leave the grounds, but it took a full nine months to convince Apple that on-site service was needed. "Dell would just come out the next day, part in hand," says Cao. (Facebook's Malik points out that it's easy to protect confidential data with encryption and that, unlike Orange County, he hasn't had any problems getting next-day on-site service.)