22 essential Mac tools for IT admins

These (mostly free) open source, donationware, and Apple tools take the pain out of Mac deployment and management

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Apple Remote Desktop is the Swiss Army knife of Mac IT tools. Its robust feature list includes the ability to monitor the use of remote Mac computers (overall status, current application and user, full- or thumbnail-screen viewing), share screens for troubleshooting and user assistance, control a Mac without allowing users to see your actions, send global message alerts, message with users, deploy packages and individual files in the background, send Unix commands in the background, and remote startup/shutdown.

Individual actions can be grouped together as workflows. Additionally, Apple Remote Desktop offers immense reporting capabilities that can be used to identify and track virtually every minute detail of a Mac's operation, including basic hardware inventory, application usage (great for license compliance/reclamation), breakdown of which users access which Macs, and much more.

Although Apple Remote Desktop is pricey at $299 for a single license (there is no per-client license fee), the value it offers is well worth the investment for administrators, help desk agents, and even teacher/trainer workstations in Mac-based classrooms or training facilities. Quite frankly, Apple Remote Desktop is easily the must-have tool of this list.

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This article, "22 essential Mac tools for IT admins," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest news in Apple, OS X, and system administration at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.

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