Although not prolific in Law Enforcement or Government Agencies, we are seeing an increase in the use of Macs in fraud analysis space. The sheer firepower of the M1/M2 chipset is hard to ignore and more Analysts are being given the choice of Mac or PC. We are not going to open the can of worms of discussing which is best, this blog will address the issue of how to get i2 to run on a Mac. This blog will concentrate on Mac’s with Apple Silicon (M1/M2)
i2 and Macs
Natively i2 is not compatible with a Mac operating system, in fact, it’s only compatible with a Windows desktop machine. I2’s visualisation product, Analyst’s Notebook, is considered the standard for charting data. For this reason, Mac users must find a way of getting it to run on their Mac. I2’s widely used analysis datastore, iBase, is also Windows-based and is designed to be run on a Windows server with SQL Server installed.
UTM is virtualisation tool that allows virtual machines (VMs) to be run on the Mac operating system. It’s open source (free), lightweight and quick to set up. You will need to purchase an appropriate Windows license.
it is a separate environment with little interaction with the Mac OS. Setting up a cloud drive (OneDrive or Google Drive for example) helped but it always felt removed. It’s also a pain remembering where supporting tools (like Excel) are installed.
Parallels is like UTM but with more interaction between Windows and the Operating System. It’s possible to add Windows applications like i2 onto the Mac dock, so it opens as if it is installed on the Mac. We also found that dealing with files is far more intuitive.
There is a cost to Parallels, on top of the Windows operating system cost. However, if you use applications like i2 or PowerBI daily then the additional cost may be worth it.
We are fortunate enough to be able to install tools like the above on our machines and trial them. Some IT departments will not want the additional cost or time of supporting additional tools like the above.
If this sounds like your organisation there is another option. S-branch has partnered with Bytes and Amazon Web Services to offer pre-configured cloud environments for users of i2. These hosted environments come loaded with the latest versions of the i2 software suite and the necessary tools for an analyst to do their magic.
Each environment is dedicated and licensed to one client, meaning your data is secure, encrypted and only accessed by you and your team. Being cloud-based, these environments can be available all the time, be leased on a monthly basis or even ‘rested’ when not required.
The main benefit is that i2 can be accessed through your Mac, on a Windows machine, on a tablet, even through a browser.
We’ve been part of the i2 journey since 2006, either as trainers, technical consultants or marketers. Through these roles, we’ve worked with several police forces both in the UK and abroad, charities, insurance firms, law firms, government agencies, and commercial clients.
If you’re an i2 user and require technical expertise, please feel free to contact us