Need Help Setting Up Network Home Directories

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by DoHBoY, May 11, 2009.

  1. DoHBoY macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2009
    Alright so, I am sure the answer to my question exists but I have no idea what i am looking for as far as syntax is concerned. I have taken over as tech at a full mac School and have not touched a mac before in my life. I will try my best to give a detailed description without an entire life story.

    My school has 10.4 on laptops which we run a script on to bind to a directory allowing them to access accounts created on our server. That part works fine. The problem we are having is syncing or saving any files/changes to these networked accounts. The accounts seem to have home directories created, i went through workgroup manager and set up login/out and background syncs, and nothing seems to work(Copy/save). This year it would have been nice to have the syncing feature since all student/teacher laptops would go back and forth from home and work. However next year will change a bit since we will keep all student laptops here and the teachers will still take them home. We also have desktops of course which do not move and will be accessed by the students.

    I need to find a way for students to log into the server to access their account and have it automatically pop up displaying their own files/folder on any machine they access since they wont always be at the same machine. considering there will be upwards of 100 students accessing each machine, local syncing for this would not be a good idea. My best guess would be setting up network home directories so they can log into and work directly from the server and have nothing but the original OS installed on their local machine.

    As far as the teachers go, Since they have one laptop the entire year and take them home the syncing method would be the best. That way they can come here, turn on their laptop, automatically sync as they log in, and save everything when they log out (or every so many minutes since some of them close it and just run home). I tried doing this with a student account but could not get it to work. My other problem with this is that the teacher laptops are 10.5 and I have no clue how to bind them to the directory since I was not the one who created the original script which is something i would like to reverse engineer to my standards since it has some nice little things in it I just wish to tweak.

    A short recap of what i need:
    1) Network based accounts with network home directories, nothing locally saved
    2) Network Based accounts with Portable Home Directories, Syncing between local and server files
    3) Bind 10.5 machines to server
    4) Program to read and edit a script.

    I somewhat know the terminology for PHDs and MHDs and have read a bit about those but still cannot get them to work, but I am extremely frustrated with my lack of terminology for NHDs (If that is what they would even be called) and have had a hard time finding any information on how to set them up. The only thing i found was stating that if the server goes down, so do the accounts. Which isnt a problem since we have multiple servers as well as last ditch local accounts for students to just access the computers.

    As far as i know, our servers are running LDAPv3 w/ OD, maybe even not with OD, I really don't know. If anyone can give me any help with this it would be much appreciated. If you need any additional information let me know and I will try my best to get it to you. I may even be willing to wipe everything and start fresh if it is required since these havent been used much in over 2 years, only for drive mounting storage.
  2. andrewag macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2005
    In the "home" tab of Workgroup manager you can point the student user to the server home directory. That's it, bind to the open directory on the client and the accounts will connect to the network share and work live off it.

    To setup the portable home directories it's pretty much the same thing but you will need to manage the "Mobility" preference on the open directory side. You use Directory Utility to bind the computer to the directory system.

    It will be pretty hard to make a fallback for the network home directories as any interruption to the network connection will have the clients beach balling. I would suggest having a login script to redirect ~/Library/Cache to /tmp/ or something to alleviate some of the network demand (and space being used) on the server hosting the home directories.
  3. DoHBoY thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2009
    They are all already set to a home directory via Workgroup Manager and have been before I arrived here. For some reason it still does not work. There are old folders for students that appear to have worked in the past though. I will try to start fresh and see if I can get it to work again.. Do you by chance know where I can get a semi step by step guide for binding them to the server?

    As far as the log in script goes, how would i go about doing that and where would i put it? I am assuming that creates a temp folder on the local computer itself to store any temporary information for the current session VS using network bandwidth for it?

    Anyways, I will try to rebind a computer and create a new account with a home directory and see if it works. Thanks again for the help, at least i now know what direction to go.
  4. DoHBoY thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2009
    So i rebound a laptop to the server via Directory Access, created a new account using Workgroup Manager, set the Home Point in WGM for the Account to a specified folder on the server's raid and no luck.

    The account authenticates with the server, but it saves everything locally and ignores the NHD. Anyone with any ideas?
  5. DoHBoY thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2009
    I went and installed 10.3 on our 4th server that was just rotting in our tech room and surprisingly enough, the accounts authenticate and store any local files live onto the servers drive. Now what would be causing my 10.4 server to NOT do this? It was seriously the easiest set up I have ever done, I dont see what could be done wrong to break the 10.4.

    Also considering we will have upwards for 500 students logged in at any one time, would it be suggested to run three seperate servers? Or what could I do to ensure it runs seemlessly? I was thinking 3 servers, one for each grade level, 6th/7th/8th and when 8th goes to 9th redo that server for incoming 6th. That way students accounts stay on the same server for their entire 3 years here. Any thoughts?

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