World-leading digital animator Pixar's move to Mac OS X shows how cost-effective it can be to make the switch.

The company – which has 500 Macs – has only recently completed its migration to OS X, as it chose to wait until all its key applications could run on the platform, so the system admins could cease OS 9 support, according to MacCentral's David Read.

The company aimed to automate as much as possible and build on the existing Mac OS X and Unix maintenance infrastructure, instead of using third-party enterprise applications. They created a selection of tools to achieve this, many of which are available online.

To begin the migration, the first thing Pixar's technicians did was create a custom Mac OS X image that they could use to install not only Mac OS X on all of their machines but also all the applications that every person at Pixar uses and Pixar's specific network and machine configurations.

They learned that many automation options exist in the OS, and worked out ways to automatically configure Macs for work at Pixar that reduced set-up time to just 15 minutes.