Parallels Mac Management for SCCM...your thoughts?

New Contributor

So I know similar topics have been brought up on JAMF Nation before, but I'd like to start one specifically about this one topic... Parallels Mac Management for SCCM.

We've recently merged with another company and like most mergers it's typical to consolidate environments where overlap exists. On our side of the merger we've been a JAMF customer since 2007 and use the Casper Suite for iOS and Mac management. Going forward we’ll most likely use a different MDM/EMM solution for iOS, so that would only leave OS X. On the other side of the merger they have been using SCCM for both Windows and Mac management. The impression I get based on conversations is that they're not necessarily happy with the native features and functionality of SCCM for Mac and know that it could be better. They are thinking that Parallels Mac Management for SCCM might be the solution to that problem.

The JAMF Nation community has always been a great source for exchanging ideas on any given topic, problem or solution for all things Mac and iOS so I’d like your input. If you currently use or have used Parallels Mac Management for SCCM or SCCM to manage Macs or work in an environment where you use both Casper and SCCM it would be great to hear your take. Specifically on the things which could make OS X management a challenge using Microsoft tools and methodologies, transition or integration experiences, vendor support and end user adoption and perception. In fact even if you don’t have experience with these tools and perhaps had a similar situation, I’d still very much appreciate your input.

Thanks everyone!


Contributor III

SCCM for mac is pretty limited and makes life hard for you as an administrator

Depends on your environment and mac numbers. got 50 macs used by admin users who are pretty tech savvy and don't need much managed? Sure.

Got 1500 Macs in education where you need to image* deploy apps, config settings, scripts, packages, profiles, ect ect
Not so much.

New Contributor III

Don't waste your money! The Parallels SCCM Plugin features are now all supported natively by the latest release of SCCM anyway, and the Management of OS X machines is limited to Config Profiles only.

If you want the Inventory info in SCCM, get the SCCM plugin, but stick with Management through Casper.

Contributor III
The Parallels SCCM Plugin features are now all supported natively by the latest release of SCCM anyway

@Stuey I would beg to differ on that, are you talking 2012 R2? Because I did a rather in-depth poc on SCCM 2012 R2 SP1 earlier this year. The parallels plugin is actually quite good, but very expensive.
have a look at the demo videos for some of the key capabilities

and the Management of OS X machines is limited to Config Profiles only.

No, theres no native support for config profiles at all. You would have to package them up and script the install. No APNS or anything like that SCCM is not a MDM. You have to look at inTune for that

It comes to down to supportability and budget your company has set.

If you have a few macs but a large sccm infrastructure you might get away with the bare basics for mac support, adding in something like deploystudio for OSD and basic scripts/compliance settings or application packages delivered via SCCM

Or if you have more than a few macs, but still want to use SCCM and the cost is not prohibitive then SCCM with parallels plugin might be the way to go for a bit more control, and easier administration (less high level scripting skills required)

But if you have a decent amount of macs AND ios devices then you really should be looking at Casper.

Have a read through the post I linked above, it details some of the gotchas for SCCM, there might be some show stoppers there that will make you discount SCCM straight away.

Parallels do offer demo/trial licences of their plugin so its worth trying out, but again its pretty pricey or atleast it was last time i got a quote for a decent amount of machines.

Contributor III

great resource for sccm and mac stuff is this guy's blog:
he's got some great articles showing parallels sccm plugin and how to use the native sccm tools to manage os x

New Contributor

I'm the program manager for Parallels Mac Management plug-in. Since this is not our product forum, I'm just want to clarify @Stuey post, what he wrote is not correct.

@Stuey - The Parallels SCCM Plugin features are now all supported natively by the latest release of SCCM anyway, and the Management of OS X machines is limited to Config Profiles only.

There are significant differences in the features offered by SCCM native Mac management and Parallels Mac Management. The native Mac management functionality in SCCM only provides support for collecting inventory and offers rudementary support for configuration management and software deployment. In case of Parallels Mac Management we offer complete Mac management solution, which is much more advanced comparing to the SCCM's built-in Mac management capabilities. With the latest release, we even support SCCM task sequence steps.

Yury Averkiev

New Contributor III

@calumhunter Thanks for the info. I'd been advised otherwise around the time we were evaluating the Parallels SCCM Plugin.

@yaverkiev Thanks for clarifying the information. We may have been running an older version when we moved away from Parallels SCCM. What I can say is that our experience with it was not positive.
I daresay the experience would be VERY different for an organisation that has an established setup