Network users log on to a local machine (what resources are used?)

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Jeanp, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. Jeanp macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2014

    Hope someone can shed some light on my query.

    I have set up a small office (8machines) to a mac mini with OSX 10 Mavericks.
    Open Directory is configured and all users have been set up to use the local home folder with a limit of 50GB.

    All users have an iMac and are only using the network account to login.

    My question is the following:
    If i log on with a network user, what resources are being used? Server or local iMac?
    If they store files in the documents folder on their local iMac, and log on to a different machine with their sam network account, can they see the files that are stored locally? or is this a separate profile that is being created?

    Is it possible to use a common storage that is transparent to the user?

    Hope this makes sense.

    Any help will be appreciated.


  2. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    It depends on how you have the users set up. It sounds like you currently have your users setup with mobile home directories. The setting for this is set in either Profile Manager or in Workgroup Manager depending on how you've chosen to manage things. When this is on you can specify a location for the users' local home directories when they login to a machine. You can also set it so that the user can specify the local drive they want their home directory created on the first time they login on a given machine.

    What is interesting about this is that they can create their home directory on a mobile drive and any Mac they attach the drive to they can use to access their account. So they can physically move their data with them. This solution is good if you have users using a lot of different workstations. The down side to this is that most external drives, like a USB flash drive, are slower than an internal HDD or SSD, and it might not be a good fit if users are constantly needing to read/write a lot of large files/documents.

    With mobile home directories you can also setup an automated sync at login/log off, which will sync the user's information with their home directory on the server. For this to work the user must have a network home directory set in Open Directory. On 10.9 it is easiest to set this in the Server app, but it can also be configured in Workgroup Manager. In order to assign network home directories, you must also have one or more shared folders configured as a destination for home directories. This is probably the more complicated solution to setup, but I find it to be the best for disk performance, day to day user experience, security and reliability. It works well if your users consistently use the same 1 or 2 workstations. If they move around more than that, they're going to spend too much time syncing files whenever they login/out.

    Last option is to turn off mobile home directories entirely and use network home directories exclusively. All user data would be actively pushed and stored across the network. It is a good option for portability, but unless you have fast storage on your server and a solid network infrastructure, it is not the way I would go for more than 3-4 users.
  3. bathurstguy macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2009
    Choose the best option for how your users are going to operate.

    If they are only working on the one machine, set it up with network login with local home folder. Authentication happens across the network, then they have all their files and settings on the local iMac.

    If you require the users to be able to take the Mac off the network and still work on their files, the above works or so does mobile home directories.

    If they are frequently moving computers, use network home folders (called Roaming Profiles in Microsoft land).

    I've utilised this method in a school environment on MacBooks over Wi-Fi for over 500 students and the network and server coped very well.

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