MBA 2013 - questions windows administrator

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iframe, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. iframe macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    Hi guys,

    I am a windows administrator and I have been thinking about buying MacBook Air 2013 13" since July 2013. Unfortunately, I am not 100% sure.

    Let me describe what I need to run on it:
    1) Crucial: "microsoft" VPN, Cisco and Fortigace VPN clients, microsoft VPN, SSH client, FTP client
    2) Not crucial, but necessary: watching movies, listening to music, python scripting, c++ programming

    My Mac will not be added to the MS domain, it will serve just like a client for VPN and RDP connections.

    I would like to ask you to answer my questions below.

    1) Is the MacBook Air 2013 13" overheating?
    2) Do you have experience with connecting to the Microsoft VPN, with using CISCO and Fortigate VPN clients? Should I beware of something?
    3) What about Microsoft RDP client? Have you experienced any issue with it while working on a remote MS server/workstation?
    4) And now one of the most controversial topics. Would you recommend me an antivirus or not? Alternatively just a firewall and which one?
    5) I cannot decide which configuration to choose:
    13" Air i5 1,3GHz, 8GB ram, 128GB SSD, EN system
    13" Air i7 1,7GHz, 8GB ram, 128GB SSD, EN system
    What do you think?

    Unfortunately, I have not got a friend or a relative who can help me answer my questions. We all are running MS Windows.

    Thank you for all your anwers.
  2. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    1) I have a 2012, o can't answer the overheating question. Try searching th eforum though.
    2) by Microsoft VPN, do you mean PPTP? If so the builting Mac VPN Client works fine. For CISCO, My company uses CiscoAnyconnet SSL VPN and there is a mac client which works fine, however, your VPN device may need to be configured to distribute and support the Mac version of the client - no extra cost for this, just that your admin has to configure it. For Cisco IPSEC VPN, the built-in client works fine. I've never heard of Fortigate, but it is probably either PPTP, IPSEC or SSL. You should check their website to see if they have a specific Mac client.
    3) the Mac version of the MS RDP client works great for what it does. IT has two specific features that are missing - it does not support an RDGateway (which lets you connect without first opening a VPN tunnel) and it does not support smart card/certificate passthrough. If you don't need those two features you should be fine. I am not sure if it supports multiple monitors or not.
    4) I run ClamXAV on my MBA beause my IT Department requires AV on any connected computer. Clam is free and non-intrusive. OS X has a built in Firewall - no third party is required.
    5) your stated needs are not processor heavy. You don't need an upgraded CPU. If you run the way you have stated, you don't even need the RAM upgrade.

    I use my MBA everyday at work - in a very MS oriented shop. her's what I do:
    1) My MBA is not a member of the corp. domain and I am very careful about moving corporate files onto it.
    2) I run Windows 7 Pro in VMWare Fusion in Unity Mode. I use a windows VM that was configured for me by our IT Department and IS a member of the corp. domain.
    3) I use the WINDOWS version of MS remote desktop to connect to a VM in our data center - all of my actual work is done on that VM, not local to my MBA or even to my Fusion VM.
    4) I can also use the WINDOWS version of any VPN client I need when working from my MBA outside the office.

    I like this setup because it keeps my BYOD MBA 'clean' of corporate info, but allows me to use the excellent Apple trackpad and gestures. I can easily swipe between a desktop containing Mac applications and another virtual desktop with my RDP connection. Sometimes I need to have multiple RDP connections open at the same time and I always put each of them on t's own Virtual desktop (used to be called spaces, but I think they stopped using that).

    If you choose to run Windows in Fusion (or Parallels or VirtualBox), you will definitely want the 8GB RAM upgrade, and the CPU upgrade would be more reasonable as well.

    best of luck!
  3. iframe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    Thank you for your answer! :)

    2) I just wanna specify the VPN protocols that are in use by our companies, most of them use the MS VPN PPTP and L2TP/IPSsec. I suppose it should be fine on Mac OS, right?

    We also have more than two companies that use 2 different VPN clients.
    CISCO VPN - Cisco AnyConnect
    Fortigate firewall - FortiClient SSL VPN

    Both of the mentioned clients exist for Mac OS, but I know how it works on MS, especially on W8 - it sucks a lot. I just need to be sure before I buy a new MBA.

    3) I have just found out that Mac version of the MS RDP is not intended for use with Mac OS X 10.7 or later. I hope the new version is being developed.

    Can you advise an opensource RDP client that is running smoothly on Mac?

    I wanna avoid virtualizing Windows 7/8 on my MBA just for VPN and RDP purposes, otherwise I can buy Windows ultrabook which I do not want to buy.

    I think MBA is pretty awesome machine, thin, light, aluminium skeleton. :)

    Thank you once more.
  4. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2.1.1 is the current version and runs fine on Mountain Lion (10.8). Not sure why MS lists "not for 10.7 or later". It's included with Office Mac 2011 which has no such notice.

    There's an open source client called, I think, rdesktop. It's intended for Linux, but pretty much any *nix app will run under OS X (which is based on BSD). Look up macports for more information. I tried to get this set up for about 15 minutes before deciding it wasn't worth the effort. That was a couple of years ago, so it may have improved. YMMV.

    Virtualization lets you get the benefits of both worlds, but to each their own.

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