Free System Management

Written by Ryan Squires on May 15, 2019

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As the world shifts to cross-platform system environments with macOS® and Linux® systems in addition to Windows® machines, a pressing challenge for IT admins is how to manage this heterogeneous system environment. Looking at the problem through a traditional lens, making all of these different types of devices work in harmony would require an expensive set of solutions. Looked at nontraditionally, many IT admins are looking to break the paradigm and explore a free system management solution to fulfill their endpoint management needs.

A Brief History of System Management

Historically, system management was generally much easier. Most of the infrastructure organization’s utilized was Windows-based and on-prem, so Microsoft® solutions such as Active Directory® (AD) and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) were very useful solutions. IT admins could use these tools to manage user access and the system itself by setting security policies (GPOs), configuring, installing and updating software, and connecting users to their printers and shared drives. While that functionality continues to be there for Windows systems, we know that Windows systems no longer maintain the dominance they once enjoyed. The introduction of non-Microsoft endpoints has greatly impacted the usefulness of tools like AD and SCCM in the greater computing environment.

Non-Windows Systems

With more macOS and Linux machines entering IT environments the world over, the traditional tools that were so good at managing Windows users and devices struggled mightily to manage these assets. After all, Microsoft did not create Active Directory or SCCM to manage non-Windows systems. It was, of course, in Microsoft’s best interest to create a virtuous cycle in which Windows machines were managed by Windows-based tools. So, IT admins had to look elsewhere to manage non-Windows systems.

Of course, IT pros could purchase purpose-built Apple® and Linux solutions. But, the challenges that surround this gathering of solutions can be more trouble than they are worth. With three solutions in house, you also need a full team to manage all of them. You’d then be incurring the costs of purchasing and maintaining your cadre of solutions. And, if you were seeking an all-in-one console to manage your heterogeneous fleet from, you’d be out of luck.

Free, Platform-Neutral System Management

With these challenges in tow, IT admins have been wondering if there is a free system management solution that can cut across all three major platforms–Windows, macOS, and Linux. The good news for IT admins looking for such a solution is that there is a free system management platform that works across all three major operating systems. It’s called JumpCloud®Directory-as-a-Service® With it, IT admins get the ability to deploy GPO-like policies to all the systems in their fleet either by utilizing pre-determined policies or creating their own commands. And they work for individual users or groups of users, too.

In addition, you get user management across the three platforms along with authentication via LDAP, RADIUS, SAML, and much more. Plus, JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® is free for up to 10 users and their systems. As a cloud-based administrative console, JumpCloud enables you to manage all of your systems from a single browser tab.

Try JumpCloud for Free Today

When you sign up for a JumpCloud account, you get immediate access to the entirety of the Directory-as-a-Service platform—plus we throw in your first 10 users at no cost to you. If your company needs to grow, our pricing page is a great place to see how you can scale with JumpCloud. If you find that you have questions or are in need of any technical information, check out the Knowledge Base or contact a product expert today.

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