Being the most proficient Mac user in our small IT Team, it typically falls to me whenever there’s a mac issue or an issue concerning macs that I want to somehow improve. Improving the management of our macs – while there are only 30 or so, is still quite a headache and I hate the way we do it currently.
At present – and as long as I can remember, we’ve had a policy in place to use a window of about 2 weeks to go through sometime during the summer break – and re-image all the machines – desktops and laptops – if we have enough time. We also currently have student workers who have access to a local administrative password so they can apply updates and install other software as necessary. This gets to be a management nightmare. While the system kind of works we run in to the following sorts of problems:
- Configuration settings changes
- Updates not applied consistently
- Installing major new versions of software
- Printer installation and management
- Inconsistent update of laptop images/packages
- Sharing of local admin credentials with standard users
There are other issues as well, most which require a knee-jerk response on my part. Some issue needs to be fixed “right now” and I have to spin my wheels a bit to get on top of it – mostly by going ring-side and dukeing it out with the machine.
Finally – after getting some strategic pieces in place – over several years, we finally have an OSX server, dwarfed by all the Windows servers in the server room, but it holds it’s own in it’s satin-colored armor. It’s setup with OSX Server 10.6 including Apple Remote Desktop with an unlimited number of clients.
I recall the days of Bombich and all the phenomenal work he did and published for folks to see and use in getting OSX clients to work in a mostly Windows environment. The biggest issues for us were always:
- Getting AD managed clients to authenticate to the domain from their OSX machines
- Having the ability to manage print ques and printers for those OSX machines
- Being able to track print jobs for per user print auditing purposes.
- Being able to push out new updates and patches
- Being able to update images automatically
Through OSX’s evolution we’ve actually been able to tackle the first three. The last two have been a constant struggle – even with some of OSX Server’s built in tools.
Enter Deploy Studio.
I’ve just begun working with Deploy Studio and it’s taken me a while to get my brain wrapped around the process, esp. with how to get the client machines to look for the netboot server on other subnets. I hope to document how things are progressing here, so I can figure this all out later.