Does Mac OS X have active directory?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by dunnoguit, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. dunnoguit macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2014
    As a microsoft windows user, I've been in windows' world for a long time, including windows server and desktop systems. So I'm familiar with active directory and exchange server etc. Just wondering if OS X has the same thing, because one day the thought crossed my mind that how those design companies full of MAC do the computer management and employment. :)
  2. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    OS X has built-in Active Directory support, i.e. the user can login to the Mac using his/her AD credentials.
    Once the Mac is bound to AD (done in System Pres - Users & Groups - Login Options - Network Account Server), the AD- username & password and SMB home directory can be used. On the Mac you can decide what to do with the home directory.

    Problem is that Active Directory cannot manage typical OS X - stuff. AD "knows" Windows clients, but doesn't "understand" OS X clients.
    If you want manage more of the Mac (Safari, Dock, Printers, OS X System settings) you either must use 3rd party products that helps AD "understand" OS X clients (like ADmitMac) or use a Mac server (OS X which has the option to host an Open Directory (Apple's LDAP).
    The two can be used together: use AD for the user credentials and home directory location, and use Open Directory for OS X client specific management.
  3. dunnoguit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2014
    Thanks for the info. I'm asking a whole solution package from Apple like Active Directory which costs thousands of dollars. Had a quick look at os server, seems to be functional, but as it's priced $24.99, I'm not sure that's the one.
  4. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    The standard, more or less, for all Mac environments is to use Open Directory & Configuration Profiles to manage Mac users. It's not identical to Active Directory, but more or less the same ideas.

    The server app enables the management functionality. All modern Macs already have the necessary client side architecture in place for management in this fashion.

    Mixed environments will often rely on a Windows Active Directory server or a mix of Active Directory & Open Directory, which is often referred to as the golden triangle. For instance, I admin close to 200 Macs in an office of almost 500 users, the other 300~ being Windows machines. Active Directory is used for user management across the board but I use Open Directory (on a dedicated Mac Pro server) for some Apple specific management options for the Mac users. As such our Macs (in house at least, deployed staff are a different story) are first bound to Open Directory, then to Active Directory. When the end user first logs in they create a mobile account using their AD credentials. Around this same time the Mac Server should see their login and push out whatever settings are assigned to them.

    Hopefully that helps shed some light for you.

    I absolutely get the low price of Server making you question it's functionality. It's not "as" robust as AD but it should be more than enough for most Mac centric offices.

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3 March 14, 2015