Mac OS 10.5 vs. Mac OS Server 10.5

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by biobot, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. biobot macrumors newbie

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    Nov 18, 2008
    #1
    Hi there,

    I am in need of some basic networking advice. I work for an educational institution that has over 100 Macs in my department for which I am responsible. I am new to Macs and computer technician work in general, so forgive my ignorance.

    I would like to upgrade a whole bunch of computers we have to the Leopard OS (they are currently running Tiger). They all meet the basic requirements and I think this would be a good improvement. However, I see that not only can I purchase a license for the Leopard OS, but also the server OS, which comes with 10 or more client licenses.

    I am trying to figure out which one of these avenues I should pursue. I do have a Mac server, but none of the client macs actually access the server, except for 2 or 3. However, I would like to use the server to help me create disk images for our computer labs so I can quickly restore them when I want to. Also, I like being able to control the computers remotely (currently using Apple Remote Desktop to do this).

    Are there any suggestions about what the advantage of using the networking version of the software vs. the individual OS licenses is?

    Thanks!
     
  2. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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  3. biobot thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 18, 2008
  4. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2008
    #4
    What..why would you need the Leopard Server to create images? All you need are blank externals, FW800/400, and CarbonCopyCloner/SuperDuper. Also Apple Remote Desktop works without Leopard Server..unless you use Task Server.
     
  5. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #5
    It does not come with client licenses. You would still need to buy 10 copies of Mac OS X Leopard for the 10 client computers. It just means you can use the server to serve 10 machines. The other version means you can serve an unlimited number of machines. You still need a legal copy of OS X for each of them though (sold separately).
     
  6. biobot thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 18, 2008
    #6
    Thank you, Cromulent...this is part of the information I was looking for. It sounded to me like if I bought the OS X Server application with the client licenses, it was possible that it included Leopard in it. I'm glad to know that it doesn't because that makes it a priority for me to get the computers updated as I originally intended.

    dr. shdw, please bear with me, as I mentioned I am new to all this. I am aware that there is a program by Mike Bombich that would help me with creating and deploying disk images (although I think they are recommending using NetRestore instead of CCC for my purposes), but it looks to me like the Leopard version of the server software does this too. It would be nice to have all the tools right at my fingertips and self-contained in the system software rather than having to download extra utilities from other locations, if I don't have to.

    I am also aware that ARD works without Leopard, but I want to utilize the Bootcamp/Windows ability of the Leopard OS on the computers I wish to update. Again, I realize there are third party software apps out there that do this, but I'd like to keep it simple if I can.

    My question was more relating to whether it was worth my while to upgrade my server from OS 10.4 to OS 10.5 in order to make some of the administrative tasks easier. If the server software doesn't come with what I need to update the client computers, it probably doesn't behoove me to do so. Maybe I'd be better off just getting licensing for an upgrade of the operating system of the client machines, but not the server.
     
  7. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #7
    You can't host 10.5 images on 10.4 server. However, you don't need 10.5 Server to make images. You can download the server tools to any 10.5 client. As mentioned, there are other free options available that don't need 10.5 Server. I use 10.5 server for NetInstall images.
     
  8. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2008
    #8
    I also work for an EDU, my dept. has over 100+ macs as well. Bootcamp is a pain in the ass, so look into Parallels/Fusion, probably better. Also imaging is great, but I don't think you'll be able to push out images like that since there's a lot of user data you'd have to dig through.

    Also I'd try and get all the macs you're updating to have at least 2gb of RAM as it helps a lot.

    ARD needs Leopard/Tiger, just not the server version..

    Also I think you should be able to get a discount on volume licensing..talk to Apple's High Ed unit, or your local rep.

    What school is this?
     
  9. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #9
    Welcome to Macintosh Administration in Education.


    Take a look at BootPicker.
     
  10. biobot thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 18, 2008
    #10
    Hi Dr. Shdw,

    Why is this the case? I set up one computer using the bootcamp utility and it seemed to work fine. Is there something I'm missing?

    Forgive my ignorance because I'm new at this. What does this mean, exactly? What user data would I have to dig through? My users don't log in with a bunch of separate ID's, just some generic ones that are local to the computer itself (i.e., they don't access a server).

    Thanks.
     
  11. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Well, I've just had a lot of issues with bootcamp and the installer crashing, etc. But that's just me. It just seems easier to run Windows in a self-contained image.

    I maybe mistaken, are you running a lab of 100+ macs or individual staff computers? Wouldn't re-imaging without backing up destroy that data?
     
  12. biobot thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 18, 2008
    #12
    We have individual staff computers, but I'm talking about a lab of about 25 or so computers. I want to be able to set one computer up exactly how they are all to look, then image that one computer and deploy the image out to all the other computers in the lab. Any data on the computers would not need to be saved. If there is anything out there not in the original image, it isn't really supposed to be there anyway.

    Here is a for instance... we have a lot of problems running Safari for web sites the students visit frequently in their lab. I would prefer that they use Firefox all the time. But, it's really painful to have to go around to each computer to do this installation - even with ARD it's painful.

    I'd sure like to set the thing up right on only one, then take a snapshot and send it out. I'm hoping this will work also using Bootcamp/Windows. Because then I can just have the drives automatically partitioned and so forth. I did not experience any installation issues using Bootcamp - it worked for me exactly as it was supposed to. But, I have a couple of people using it as a sort of Beta, to see if they encounter any issues with it before I deploy it out to a lab.

    I mentioned the 100+ computers relating to licensing. I don't want to have to worry all the time about running out of licenses, and now that I have my 'beta' windows machines running, I'm finding that more people want that feature on their staff computers as well. I'm in talks now with a sales person who is getting me a bulk price. But, it seems you still have to buy a certain number of licenses - they don't do it on an unlimited basis...
     
  13. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    No there isn't an unlimited license. Also are all the staff computers running Intel machines? In the case of the lab, you're correct, pushing images from the server would indeed be much easier, though even ethernet is very slow. Possibly look into Deep Freeze http://www.faronics.com/html/deepfreeze.asp

    What are the specs of the machines in your dept?
     
  14. biobot thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 18, 2008
    #14
    They vary. I have some really old clamshell type laptops in one lab and they go on up from there. Most of them are Intel machines though, so the option to run Windows would definitely be possible.

    The lab computers I am most interested in upgrading at this time are Intels with 2GB Ram already in them. We are running a very old copy of Parallels on them, and it is starting to be problematic. I have the option of upgrading Parallels or upgrading to Leopard and using the built-in system feature. I have a tendency to want to upgrade the system rather than upgrading Parallels. I can't do both, so I have to choose.
     
  15. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I'd do both and upgrade the ram to 4gb, DDR2 is fairly cheap these days.
     
  16. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    Alabama
    #16
    Hmmm.... Being responsible for 1,200 Macs in varying configurations including 25+ Xserves running mostly Leopard with a few "old" Tigers in there, I have a bit of experience... so here's my two cents. This is in no particular order of importance.
    1. Make one good machine with what you want on it. Make sure ALL the settings you want are done, and all the apps are installed and registered.
    2. Add a Boot Camp partition and add your windows OS. I played with Fusion AND Parallels, and trust me on this: they are GREAT tools, just not so great in a large deployment. Lots of permission issues. LOTS. Set up sysprep. Google it, but know it's easy to do. Now you have one good machine with OS X and XP. Use WinClone for the Win partition. Google it... it's fantastic.
    3. On the Windows side I suggest Deep Freeze (Enterprise so it has a thaw space) AND limited accounts. That way the users have ALMOST full control and a reboot makes them pretty again.
    4. Get NetRestore and NetRestore Helper. They MAY not be available now, but try to find it. On www.bombich.com web site he speaks of another great netrestore tool who's name escapes me.
    5. Set up a Leopard machine to do netboot restores for both Tiger and Leopard. Also very easy to do. Just the other day I pulled an 11GB Leopard partition to a lab of 30 computers and it took less than 20 minutes. While you're at it, set that same server up to do software updates. Talk about a time saver!
    6. For the the Leopard server, get the unlimited. THAT way you'll be ready IF you want to use Open Directory in the future. This will allow network homes. It will also allow you to set up shares for all users on the servers if you desire. Using WorkGroup Manager for the Mac side is IDEAL. You can have machine groups which will allow full control of the user experience down to what shows up on their dock. Know though you need a DNS server.
    7. Oh, just remembered, it's Deploy Studio. It's free at http://www.deploystudio.com/Home.html
    8. LOVE ARD. It's perhaps the greatest Mac network tool invented. I can transfer Firefox to hundreds of machines at the same time in minutes. It can install packages as well, along with 100 other things I couldn't live without.
    9. Forget BootPicker. Actually just as easy to hold the Option key at startup, and I always say the less overhead the better.
    10. Leopard server is the way to go. Best to have the server at the top of the food chain and not any given workstation. Things won't work right.
    11. There is an ART to setting up the perfect machine, and a lot of times it takes a few "go's". Things like setting the Safari/Quicktime cache to "never" to all the various plugins for Firefox to throwing out the various Office 2004 components that REALLY need to be taken out took me years to perfect. Do it, then leave it for a day or two then come back to it. Have someone else LOOK at but not touch.

    Good luck. IM me if you want.
     
  17. biobot thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 18, 2008
    #17
    Thanks for all the information.

    I'm still trying to figure out what the best move is to make here. Although I might be better off buying the latest and greatest in every sense of the word, the fact is, I am at a public institution that is perpetually low on money. So, I have to figure out the least expensive way to go about doing what I want to do. :eek:

    That said, I'm thinking that since so few people use the server as an actual file sharing server, maybe I'd be better off not upgrading the server system software at this time. Instead, maybe I could administer my lab computers from my own office computer.

    From those of you who are used to dealing with making disk images and deploying them out to a bunch of computers, am I bound to using a server for such a task (ala Windows computers that require Microsoft Server to do so)? Or can I just create the disk images, save them somewhere that has room to hold them, and utilize my regular networked Mac to deploy them when necessary?
     
  18. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2008
    #18
    You can just deploy when necessary, however images get out of date quickly so you'll need to keep it up to date.
     
  19. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    Apr 26, 2002
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    Alabama
    #19
    There's "out of date" then there is "too old to be usable". I still use images a few years old for certain tasks becasue they work perfectly for that. Making a 10.5.5 disk image with all the right components could last years. But even then making a new image out of that image takes about 1/2 hour. No biggee there.
     
  20. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    Alabama
    #20
    Trying to find the right combination of tools and funding for them is certainly a struggle sometimes, just don't forget the productivity increases if chosen well. A few items cost me a lot but save so many hours a week it's well worth it.
     
  21. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2008
    #21
    Oh definitely, updating the image is not a problem at all.
     
  22. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

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    #22
    Are they Power or Intel? Since Apple hasn't stated explicitly how long they are going to support Power you may want to weigh that as part of your decision to do this. I know Snow Leopard is going to be Intel only but I haven't heard any details on how long Apple is going provide updates to Power/Leopard users.
     

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