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macOS Server Updated for Sierra With New Setup Assistant Options and More

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Apple today updated its macOS Server Mac app with a collection of new features in Version 5.2 that bring integration with Apple School Manager, various streamlining updates to the Setup Assistant of some apps, and security restrictions for new macOS features like auto-unlock with Apple Watch.

Specifically, macOS Server users can now choose to skip the new Siri Setup Assistant in Sierra, as well as the setup panes in iOS 10 for iMessage and FaceTime.


Previously dubbed "OS X Server," the app introduces "even more power to your business, home office, or school," by turning any Mac into a powerful server. macOS Server can make it easier to share files, synchronize contacts, host a website, configure iOS devices, remotely access your home network, and more.
What's New in Version 5.2
Profile Manager
o Integration with Apple School Manager to get Managed Apple ID and class information
o Skip the iMessage & FaceTime Setup Assistant pane in iOS 10
o Skip the Siri Setup Assistant pane in macOS Sierra version 10.12
o Choose default app for audio calls for Contacts, Exchange, and Google accounts
o Set Bluetooth Modification restriction on supervised devices
o Set Apple Music; iCloud Keychain Sync; and Sharing to Notes, Reminders, or LinkedIn restrictions for macOS Sierra version 10.12
o Set new IKEv2 authentication method option or specify IPSec disconnect on idle timeout for VPN
o Restrict Cisco fast lane Quality of Service marking or disable captive network detection for Wi-Fi networks
o Restrict unlocking a Mac using Apple Watch
o Configure IP firewall

Caching Server
o Enhanced control over peer replication

SMB
o To improve security, SMB connections now require signing by default.

NFS
o AES is now a supported encryption type for Kerberized NFS

Xsan 5
o macOS Sierra and Server 5.2 include support for the Xsan 5 file system. Xsan 5 is compatible with the Quantum StorNext 5.3 file system.
o See Xsan Compatibility information before upgrading to Xsan 5.
Anyone interested can download macOS Server from the Mac App Store for $19.99. [Direct Link]

Article Link: macOS Server Updated for Sierra With New Setup Assistant Options and More
 
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redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
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I'm happy to know for sure that it's a free update because I just purchased version 5.1 for El Capitan two days ago. Successfully updated to 5.2 on my Mac Pro running El Capitan.
 
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UhFive

macrumors regular
Sep 17, 2013
167
129
Texas
Would this be useful to use if I am just using my Mac Mini as a Plex and iTunes Server? I am always looking for ways to minimize the OS footprint and optimize the performance.
 
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stukdog

macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2004
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Would this be useful to use if I am just using my Mac Mini as a Plex and iTunes Server? I am always looking for ways to minimize the OS footprint and optimize the performance.
If nothing else, you should look at installing as a caching server. It's very simple to setup and can really help on big update days like today.
 
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redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,663
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Would this be useful to use if I am just using my Mac Mini as a Plex and iTunes Server? I am always looking for ways to minimize the OS footprint and optimize the performance.
Not really. Server is mainly useful for Time Machine, hosting a web site/email server, and some more advanced options over the built-in OS X File Sharing. Plex and iTunes sharing would be handled by those specific apps.
[doublepost=1474398387][/doublepost]
If nothing else, you should look at installing as a caching server. It's very simple to setup and can really help on big update days like today.
That is something I need to set up, should help with having multiple Macs.
 
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kometen

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adamjackson

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Jul 9, 2008
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I'm pretty surprised Apple still releases a server product but I was waiting to see what the big changes were. On the fence about getting a bigger Synology for my Plex library or simply getting a Mac Mini with a bunch of USB3 hard drives.
 
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UhFive

macrumors regular
Sep 17, 2013
167
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Texas
If nothing else, you should look at installing as a caching server. It's very simple to setup and can really help on big update days like today.

Thanks for idea. I only have 5 devices though (Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, 2 iPhones, and an Apple TV), so I'm not sure this will be too useful in saving bandwidth for me.
[doublepost=1474399768][/doublepost]
I still wish one of the servers they offered was a host-your-own iCloud server.

Why has this not happened yet?
[doublepost=1474399880][/doublepost]
Not really. Server is mainly useful for Time Machine, hosting a web site/email server, and some more advanced options over the built-in OS X File Sharing. Plex and iTunes sharing would be handled by those specific apps.

I do also have my external drive connected to this mac mini and I back up my macbook to it
 
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profets

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Mar 18, 2009
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I still wish one of the servers they offered was a host-your-own iCloud server.

Why has this not happened yet?

I like this idea, but it would probably such a small fraction of people who would actually make use of it that they probably don't want to put any energy into developing it. Probably so many apps and services that hook into iCloud that just testing all the different use cases would be a nightmare.
 
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adam9c1

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May 2, 2012
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When you install Server for Mac OS, it configures the resources to give higher priority to services vs apps.
 
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SavinienCyrano

macrumors newbie
Sep 16, 2012
27
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Munich, Germany
Unfortunately, this article mixes up the macOS server package on the one hand and one of its services - though the most exciting one, i.e. Apple's MDM solution 'Profile Manager' - on the other.

In case you want to run macOS server in the cloud (especially to manage your mobile devices), this tutorial will help a lot:
https://medium.com/@JoshuaAJung/man...ud-using-apples-own-mdm-solution-8a588d9724b6

By also activating the calendar, contacts and messaging services, you can build a pretty complete iCloud replacement.
 
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redheeler

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Oct 17, 2014
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I do also have my external drive connected to this mac mini and I back up my macbook to it
Time Machine server would allow you to back up over the network without having to physically connect the drive to the MacBook. Might be worth it for the convenience factor, but it's up to you. For a $19.99 app Server does provide quite a nice set of other features as well.
 
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oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
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I like this idea, but it would probably such a small fraction of people who would actually make use of it that they probably don't want to put any energy into developing it. Probably so many apps and services that hook into iCloud that just testing all the different use cases would be a nightmare.

I think the appeal is broader than you say. Sure, for individuals, paying the monthly icloud fee is the best way to go for a number of reasons. However, think about all the professionals that like to use iOS devices, but are obligated by various laws or regulations to protect data extra carefully.

Lawyers owe a duty to their clients to keep client data confidential. Doctors and other health-care professionals have to comply with various HIPAA data storage regulations. Anyone doing business with Europeans have to take extra care of personal data per various treaties.

In some of these cases, not knowing exactly where your data is physically stored could be seen as a per se violation. I think it would be quite a good solution to some small businesses, which are too small for a huge IBM or Cisco enterprise software, to just be able to host their own icloud server, and let all their docs, spreadsheets, pictures, and app data live there. They can choose to implement a security policy as strict or as relaxed as they deem appropriate, with some policies that Apple doesn't support in their own icloud (e.g., I would configure my icloud server to only respond to known whitelist of MAC addresses).

I would pay $500+ for a version of OS X Server that had this. Surely many other small businesses that are required to take their data seriously but also like using iOS devices would too.

Notably, there is a good market for this. Netgear's ReadyNAS, Western Digital's MyCloud, Synology, etc. They all offer pretty good hardware/software that does what I described. But none of their solutions integrate with iOS as well as iCloud does. If a business that loves iOS is willing to spend $5000 on a good Synology setup, surely they would spend $1000 to buy OS X Server that includes iCloud server.
 
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UhFive

macrumors regular
Sep 17, 2013
167
129
Texas
Time Machine server would allow you to back up over the network without having to physically connect the drive to the MacBook. Might be worth it for the convenience factor, but it's up to you. For a $19.99 app Server does provide quite a nice set of other features as well.

Right now I simply share the drive across my network and have the time machine pointed to that drive to back up.
 
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mcgurme

macrumors newbie
May 13, 2016
5
5
I still wish one of the servers they offered was a host-your-own iCloud server.

Actually, you can do this right now with the free ownCloud: https://owncloud.org

Though they claim to not support the server side for OS X, I have an install that's been running on a mac mini server for two months, working flawlessly.

Their client software is available for OS X, and is very similar to dropbox, but with more controls over file sharing. They also have a basic iphone/ipad app, and you can access the shares via webdav, so you can use it to e.g. sync a Devonthink database, or with other iPhone apps that support webdav.

I installed the native version on OS X El Cap Server. However, a possibly faster way is to use their built in "Appliance" where it's pre-installed on a Linux virtual machine that runs on the (free) VirtualBox software on OSX/Server.

(It's going to take me a while to start writing "macOS" rather than "OS X")

It's pretty awesome having a self-hosted cloud like this :)


Addendum: One reason my install was so easy is that I used AMPPS and Softaculious (http://www.ampps.com) for the pre-packaged ownCloud install. It was basically just a few clicks to get up and running on my local test machine. Then, after I was satisfied with testing, I deployed the install to a custom site under the "Sites" folder on one of my OS X Server boxes. Actually, the hardest part of the whole thing was getting a free SSL certificate set up correctly using https://letsencrypt.org - that took a good half a day. The rest was under an hour.
 
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loby

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2010
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I like this idea, but it would probably such a small fraction of people who would actually make use of it that they probably don't want to put any energy into developing it. Probably so many apps and services that hook into iCloud that just testing all the different use cases would be a nightmare.

Apple does not want you to have a private iCloud. They want you to use theirs and mine your data.
 
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