Macs, Windows coexist in sheriff's IT infrastructure

Should you consider buying Apple computers for the office even if you plan to continue running a Microsoft Windows environment?

The Orange County Sheriff's Department in California has deployed more than 150 iMacs in a hybrid approach and so far been satisfied with the results. We caught up with Assistant Sheriff Michael James to find out how well the two operating systems coexist.

"We wanted to see how they integrated into our Windows environment," James said in an e-mail message to Government Computer News. He was the department’s chief information officer during the deployment. "We had been doing some small projects with Apple and decided to give it a try. We isolated [the iMacs] to our computer services area, so if there were issues, we could address them right away."

The iMacs are for general office use and training duties. A few are used for multimedia tasks such as video editing and creating podcasts. The sheriff's department, which is one of the largest in the country, uses podcasts for officer training.

One big advantage of the Apple computers is that fact that they are space-efficient. "In our computer training room, we put 35 [because] they were excellent in that environment, and there was nothing on the ground so it made for a nice clean install and look," James said.

He also reported that the integration went smoothly. "It was very easy, and Apple was very helpful in the process. We ran into a few bumps along the way but were able to work through them pretty quickly," James said. "My security folks were a little concerned, but to date, we have not had any issues."

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