The Key to Painless Switching

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2009-12-28 Print this article Print


My experience with Apple systems has shown that Mac desktop and notebook systems are still a departmental-rather than an enterprise-concern for IT managers. Macs are deployed primarily to high-value employees who are using advanced content production applications. They are also deployed to senior executives who want a little "wow" prestige when they walk into a meeting. I haven't talked with any IT managers who are making the decision to deploy Mac systems for the general work force.

My 2009 Mac experience also was propelled by the idea that Windows users might consider switching to OS X with the release of Windows 7. I've used a number of tools to make my Mac work more effectively in a Windows-oriented workplace with products created to encourage the "switching" frenzy, including virtualization tools that support Windows virtual machines running on a Mac system.

Using Parallels Desktop Switch to Mac Edition, for example, moving all of my applications and data to a VM on my MacBook Pro was a nearly seamless experience. The several hours of "click to learn" instruction that comes in the Parallels product makes it well worth the price of admission ($99) for new Mac users. In fact, if Parallels Desktop Switch to Mac Edition had been available when I started this journey, my transition would have been far less painful.

The fact that I can run a Windows VM to access my e-mail and calendar with Outlook was critical to my ability to use a Mac at work. (It also helped that I switched from using Microsoft Office to Google Docs as my main word processing environment.)

Given the current crush of cloud computing attention-and the constant drumbeat to decouple hardware from the OS and applications-it will be interesting to watch Apple's further progress. If I've learned anything thus far, it's that the Apple way means a "till-death-do-us-part" marriage of its hardware and OS.

My vow: to continue to test whether and when this marriage makes sense in the workplace.

Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant can be reached at

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant has been with the Labs since 1997, and before that paid his IT management dues at a software publishing firm working with several Fortune 100 companies. Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility, with a focus on Android in the enterprise. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his reviews and analysis are grounded in real-world concern. Cameron is a regular speaker at Ziff-Davis Enterprise online and face-to-face events. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at

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