First Mac Network Admin job - Any advice?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by admingirl, May 22, 2015.

  1. admingirl macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2015
    Hi All,
    thanks so much in advance to anyone who responds. I have always been a Windoze sys admin and on Monday I will finally be taking over a medium sized network almost exclusively Mac 10.10 (around 150 clients) and with an OSX Server. I will be IT employee 001 and so must implement things such as asset management, support system, remote desktop, reporting etc.

    I'm a Mac user but this will be my first time administering a network of Macs and OSX server. Does anyone have any advice? Is Apple Remote Desktop a worthwhile investment?

  2. Riot_Mac macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2003
    I would get Apple Remote Desktop. Check out Munki for software deployment and DeployStudio for image deployment, both are free. Consider getting the ACSP and ACTC Apple certs too. Some good forums/listservs are JAMFNation and MacEnterprise. Congrats on the new gig!

  3. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Investment? 150 clients should already have ARD available, it is a necessity IMHO for anything more than 10 clients.

    Congratulations and good luck!
  4. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    Yes it is. Sorry but how did you get this job if you don't know this?
  5. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    Apple Remote Desktop will make your life a whole lot easier.
  6. gjarold macrumors regular

    Nov 14, 2007
    I highly recommend if you need offsite, or "cloud" backups.

    Remember, those mac systems you're admin'ing are UNIX systems. You can do cool expert stuff like backups over rsync, etc.
  7. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    With that many clients, get familiar with the network first. Make sure you have a list of all clients and definitely pick up ARD if you haven't already.

    From there, take it day by day and find out what problems are most common and fix it from there.

    Then start working towards those goals of asset management, etc..
  8. danjames99 macrumors member


    Oct 10, 2006
    I work in an Educational enterprise with hundreds of Mac clients without ARD. The reason? Apple charges for it. You can say it's "insane," but the institution won't spend $75 a pop on it. It happens.
  9. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    do you use casper or what?

    hell, just buy the damn thing yourself...I had to do it at my previous roles. as long as adding systems from various subnets doesnt cause a ruckus with network security should be good. :)
  10. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    ARD is a given, very inexpensive and interfaces with other third party products like Deep Freeze, and I have always like Web Help Desk which needs little in the way of server power and is a snap to set up.
    But I wanted to touch on a few things not mentioned... With 25 years in the IT biz I've noticed that the gear is easily handled, it's the people you need to concentrate on. Building good will is the most important thing, never promise more than you KNOW you can give, treat everyone equally and explain your prioritization up front so there's no trouble down the road. When people know you care they're more willing to wait. Also, know your boss. You work for them, and never, ever, under any circumstances "kiss and tell". Your new position is about trust and security. People need to know they can talk to you without fear of it leaking. It's sometimes hard, but the longer you do it the easier it is. Trust me on this... once you go down that rabbit hole you will never emerge.
  11. danjames99 macrumors member


    Oct 10, 2006
    Actually, I do make use of IBM Endpoint Manager [BigFix] which is a very nice, cross-platform product in my opinion.

    Like a lot of institutions, mine will live and die with WSUS and WDS, and maintaining a separate system for Macs is easy to cross out when it's proposed.

    The Windows System Admins revolted against SCCM, though, and BigFix is a nice cross-platform compromise. At least routine terminal commands and software packages can be packaged and distributed this way.
  12. Silencio macrumors 68020


    Jul 18, 2002
    ARD is definitely step one. It's had its periods of extreme flakiness, but I've been pretty satisfied with it again since 3.8 was released.

    Next, look into Munki and all the supporting tools that go with it. Some of these are MunkiAdmin, autopkg, AutoPkgr, munkiimport, and munkireport. Lots of great, free tools to help you build the update management workflow you want. There's a bit of a learning curve, but you'll save yourself loads of time down the road.

    WebHelpDesk is a free help desk database (free if you only have one "tech" user). The interface feels a bit 1990s, but it does the job.

    DeployStudio is another lifesaver. Used in conjunction with the NetBoot functionality in OS X Server, it makes imaging systems fast and easy. Well, as fast as your network can manage.

    What hardware are you using for OS X Server? Are you using Directory Services on it? You could run all these services on one physical server, though an older Mac mini might have a hard time keeping up, especially when DeployStudio is in action.

    unplugme71's advice is very sound. Get to know your switches, routers/gateways/firewalls, wireless access points, any resources that are assigned static IP addresses, &c.
  13. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    ouch, i feel bad - we used bigfix for a while but alot of the logistics and inventory and keeping up with apple updates and deployments it just couldnt handle it and made our job increasingly complex - casper integrates well with SCCM if you got the right person to just patch it through...which is what we did and it worked wonderfully. Admins could see the macs and still manage their windows environments.

    but i love self service, thin imaging and no touch deployments .... maybe im a little spoiled :cool:
  14. durruti macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2004
    No advice.

    Just cool.

    I did IT helpdesk Windowside, always wanted to get familiar with OS X Server and clients and how they worked.

    Any networking things?

    Was studying for Cisco certs...until I was fired/let go after one year...

    Not a lot of Mac OS enterprise...yep.
  15. kaltsasa macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2002
    Kellogg IA
  16. bernuli macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2011
    Is rsync able to backup files that are open? I was under the impression that it choked and might even screw up the original file. I've limited my use of rsync to single user applications because of this.

Share This Page