By Jon Griffin Posted November 7, 2017
Managing systems has long been the bread-and-butter for IT admins – but it has changed a lot. In the early 2000’s, managing systems was simpler insofar as the infrastructure was virtually all Microsoft Windows and hosted on-prem. There was no need to expose anything to the internet, and there was no incompatibility with systems. Homogenous systems meant homogenous system management. As the world moves away from that model of infrastructure, a new virtual system management platform is taking over.
Old IT and System Management
Let’s step back and talk about what the IT environment was like in the past and how that impacted IT management tools. Historically, IT networks were homogeneous, Windows-based environments. In most cases, the infrastructure was all located in the office, including computers, storage, servers, and the data center all taking up physical space. Because everything was Microsoft-based and located on-prem, the result of this environment was that all of the IT management tools became tailored to fit this Windows environment.
Microsoft, of course, was the provider of these tools. The top two tools that IT organizations adopted were Active Directory® and SMS/SCCM. AD controlled user management and Windows machines, while SCCM focused more on system management. This setup became the norm in IT organizations, and has persisted for over two decades now. It became so ingrained in IT that many applications and new technology in the IT space are designed on top of it. However, as of late, the IT environment is trending away from Microsoft. Mac and Linux machines, cloud applications and servers, remote workers, and more are all non-Microsoft and are quickly rising in popularity.
The New IT Landscape
As the IT landscape started to change to heterogeneous environments, Windows focused tools such as AD and SCCM started to struggle. While Microsoft enabled some interoperability, true user and device management of non-Windows platforms left a great deal to be desired. This was because there was no reason for Microsoft to enable alternative systems to work well with Active Directory. Having the best performance with Microsoft systems motivates IT admins to have their company utilize Microsoft systems. This move was strategic: Microsoft was locking enterprises in. This strategy has worked extremely well throughout the years, but it is quickly beginning to fade.
The numbers say it all. Back in 2000, Microsoft owned 97% of market share of computing devices [Forbes]. This data speaks volumes toward the amount of control Microsoft had over the enterprise. But today, only one in five devices is a Windows machine. IT organizations know that their users are focused on finding and using the best platforms for their work. As a result, Mac and Linux platforms have been in use more and more.
Mixed Platform Management
In the modern IT environment, IT admins face many challenges when managing mixed platform environments because of the lack of great IT management tools. Many admins try their hardest to keep non-Microsoft resources out of their environment just to avoid those difficulties. But the will of the user is too great. Further, many IT organizations are shifting to the cloud, and they want their critical tools to be from the cloud as well.
Fortunately, a new virtual system management solution called Directory-as-a-Service® is emerging on to the scene. Think of Directory-as-a-Service as a modern, SaaS-based user and system management platform that is built for the cross platform environments of modern IT. This means admins can ditch the Microsoft dependencies that have forced them into management challenges and workarounds. Users get to work with the systems they want to, and IT manages them with ease.
With the cloud-based directory, IT admins can execute commands, scripts, and policies on Windows, Mac, and Linux machines remotely. Those tasks can include setting the screensaver lock, disabling USB ports, updating software, and much more. This helps ensure that all of your systems are following the security measures you want, and meeting the compliance standards necessary.
Learn More About Virtual System Management
If you would like to learn more about how virtual system management works, reach out to us. We would be happy to answer any questions you have on the topic, and explain how it could work for you. Alternatively, you can also sign up for a free account of Directory-as-a-Service. Your first 10 users are free forever, with no credit card required, so there’s no reason not to give it a shot. You can test out the cloud-based directory for yourself, and see how it works in your own environment. This way, you get to experience virtual system management firsthand before making any decisions. Sign up for a free account today!