osx server sierra and osx server Mojave

cdodsworth

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 28, 2010
17
4
Bit of a tricky one, hopefully someone can help me out. Have an older mac mini running Sierra with OSX Server . Ran very well with support for Open Directory on a small network of connected macs, giving basic file sharing etc. The beauty of this version of OSX Server was that , in the Open Directory network users could be classed as Services only which meant they did not get a home folder. Fine with me as all they saw was the file share when connecting.

Now a newer mac mini has arrived together with OSx Mojave which whilst it allows the use of OSX Server, following on from Apple's depreciation of OSX Server and what it can do ( as in they have given up on OSX Server and moved just about everything to the core OS ), I have quite a few issues that need resolving.


  1. No Open Directory so no way of creating network users. Every user not only appears as a LOCAL user on the mac mini but they also see, when mounting the share, the Mac HD and their home folder which is a real pain
  2. No way of making the users Services only
  3. No caching services that I can see

My plan was make the older server a master OSX server with the Open Directory and then on the new server just connect to that to provide user accounts, saving on creating them as local users on the OS but every time I try to connect to the old server it says it cant as it is running an old OSX. grrrr


I have tried trashing the install of OSX server and start afresh but it still wont play ball.

My second option was to format the new 2018 mac mini and just install Sierra but then found out you can't ...man Apple like to muck around when things are not broken !! So I guess that route is blocked as well

So would my only remaining option be to run Sierra but in a virtual environment like Parallels ?

Cheers for any help you guys can provide
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2015
984
266
on the land line mr. smith.
Bit of a tricky one, hopefully someone can help me out. Have an older mac mini running Sierra with OSX Server . Ran very well with support for Open Directory on a small network of connected macs, giving basic file sharing etc. The beauty of this version of OSX Server was that , in the Open Directory network users could be classed as Services only which meant they did not get a home folder. Fine with me as all they saw was the file share when connecting.

Now a newer mac mini has arrived together with OSx Mojave which whilst it allows the use of OSX Server, following on from Apple's depreciation of OSX Server and what it can do ( as in they have given up on OSX Server and moved just about everything to the core OS ), I have quite a few issues that need resolving.


  1. No Open Directory so no way of creating network users. Every user not only appears as a LOCAL user on the mac mini but they also see, when mounting the share, the Mac HD and their home folder which is a real pain
  2. No way of making the users Services only
  3. No caching services that I can see

My plan was make the older server a master OSX server with the Open Directory and then on the new server just connect to that to provide user accounts, saving on creating them as local users on the OS but every time I try to connect to the old server it says it cant as it is running an old OSX. grrrr


I have tried trashing the install of OSX server and start afresh but it still wont play ball.

My second option was to format the new 2018 mac mini and just install Sierra but then found out you can't ...man Apple like to muck around when things are not broken !! So I guess that route is blocked as well

So would my only remaining option be to run Sierra but in a virtual environment like Parallels ?

Cheers for any help you guys can provide
Hey. Can't help, but you should check this out to consider what you are up against.
 

cdodsworth

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 28, 2010
17
4
Hey. Can't help, but you should check this out to consider what you are up against.
Thank you for the reply, I get where you are coming from.


Little update : as trying everything to get it working like the old Sierra OS running OSX server , I finally had to admit defeat.

My last attempt was Parallels running OSX Sierra (as that version allowed the old file sharing under OSX Server) and whilst it installed and setup correctly, boy was it slow !! No amount of tinkering with resources made it any quicker and then the final insult was the sharing volume/folder in the virtual environment kept flagging up incorrect ACL issues. It reported that the volume was not setup for ACL which is rubbish as ACL has been turned on by default from tiger or leopard . No amount of Tinkertool would fix the issue so , thanks Apple, but you have successfully ruined a great product.


So whilst the new Mac Mini running OSX 10.14 is working perfectly, we just have to live with the annoying home folder issue and multiple local users on the mac mini...sooooooo annoying but what can you do.


Thanks to everyone who gave helpful suggestions and I guess in the future we shall look to maybe a windows server as much as it pains me to say that...
 
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guzhogi

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
2,947
812
Wherever my feet take me…
The Server app in Mojave can be used for Profile Manager & OD. You should be able to create network users in it. You'll have to set up File Sharing by doing Systems Preferences → Sharing, though.
 

DJLC

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2005
761
143
North Carolina
Based on your use case, I'd advise a NAS of some flavor. That'll give you a file share w/ accounts managed on the NAS for file sharing only. I wouldn't trust macOS as a file server anymore personally.

Caching is in macOS Mojave — System Preferences -> Sharing -> Content Caching.

With OD being completely deprecated, I'd move away now before Apple forces your hand. macOS Mojave may still be able to bind to an OD Master, but it wouldn't shock me if Apple took that away in the future.
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2015
984
266
on the land line mr. smith.
Agreed. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Synology offers everything I want for a Mac server, and more:

  • Robust file system:BTRFS
  • File sharing via: AFP, SMB, WebDAV, HTTPS, SFTP, multiple file syncing options
  • Redundant HD options
  • Redundant power supply options
  • Redundant NIC options
  • 10G NIC options
  • RAID options, including their own SHR that can be enlarged on the fly
  • Rack mount options
  • Automatic versioned snap shots
  • Backup destination options
  • Directory Server options

...And much more.

QNAP looks promising too, but I have not run a modern one.

Even if Mac Server still had it's former functionality, it would not be my first choice just based on very limited hardware choices.
 
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Geeky Chimp

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2015
130
59
Within (the very slimmed down) Server.app in macOS Mojave you can create a users without a home directory, but its fiddly.
Once you have Open Directory configured (to show Open Directory on the sidebar, go to View - Open Directory), you can create Local Network Users. However, you cannot, at creation, specify the Home Folder.
Once the user is created, you can click Advanced Options, and set the Home Directory to /dev/null and then remove the users home folder inside /Users .
If you can, for now, setup a VM with Sierra (the older, yet fully functional Server App).
 

cdodsworth

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 28, 2010
17
4
Within (the very slimmed down) Server.app in macOS Mojave you can create a users without a home directory, but its fiddly.
Once you have Open Directory configured (to show Open Directory on the sidebar, go to View - Open Directory), you can create Local Network Users. However, you cannot, at creation, specify the Home Folder.
Once the user is created, you can click Advanced Options, and set the Home Directory to /dev/null and then remove the users home folder inside /Users .
If you can, for now, setup a VM with Sierra (the older, yet fully functional Server App).
top man, never knew that. Will try that handy trick

many thanks
 
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DJLC

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2005
761
143
North Carolina
Where did you hear this? I haven't seen any Apple documents that says that Apple has deprecated OD.
My apologies — you're right; it hasn't been deprecated yet. But it has certainly become far less useful in recent years. At this point, it seems to me it only really exists as a means to put user accounts into Profile Manager. In my experience, it's a flaky mess anyway. I certainly wouldn't bet my farm on OD — not today, not yesterday, and definitely not tomorrow. I would bet my farm on Apple continuing to strip things out until Server.app is no more.

My favorite Mac OS X Server story — I come in to work one day, and our OD master on 10.6 decided to corrupt itself overnight for no reason. Nearly 200 users couldn't log in to their Macs at all. A day of downtime for everyone and countless Terminal commands later, I'd managed to restore OD from a backup. We also had to recreate all our ACLs on the file shares. That was the day I decided we were switching to Active Directory; I've certainly seen AD problems before, but I've never seen a functional AD completely destroy itself overnight without a hardware failure. Fast forwarding to today, I'm hopeful we can dump Active Directory and the on-prem server completely and use GSuite as our IdP for everything. Our MDM provider apparently has a solution coming soon... Besides centralizing Mac login credentials, our on-prem servers don't do anything anymore. We've moved everything to Google.

In any case, I wouldn't advise moving forward with macOS Server for anything. It's mediocre all around. Find alternatives before Apple forces you.
 

guzhogi

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
2,947
812
Wherever my feet take me…
My apologies — you're right; it hasn't been deprecated yet. But it has certainly become far less useful in recent years. At this point, it seems to me it only really exists as a means to put user accounts into Profile Manager. In my experience, it's a flaky mess anyway. I certainly wouldn't bet my farm on OD — not today, not yesterday, and definitely not tomorrow. I would bet my farm on Apple continuing to strip things out until Server.app is no more.

My favorite Mac OS X Server story — I come in to work one day, and our OD master on 10.6 decided to corrupt itself overnight for no reason. Nearly 200 users couldn't log in to their Macs at all. A day of downtime for everyone and countless Terminal commands later, I'd managed to restore OD from a backup. We also had to recreate all our ACLs on the file shares. That was the day I decided we were switching to Active Directory; I've certainly seen AD problems before, but I've never seen a functional AD completely destroy itself overnight without a hardware failure. Fast forwarding to today, I'm hopeful we can dump Active Directory and the on-prem server completely and use GSuite as our IdP for everything. Our MDM provider apparently has a solution coming soon... Besides centralizing Mac login credentials, our on-prem servers don't do anything anymore. We've moved everything to Google.

In any case, I wouldn't advise moving forward with macOS Server for anything. It's mediocre all around. Find alternatives before Apple forces you.
Thanks. I sometimes miss these things, so I wasn't sure. Unfortunately, I'm not the person who makes the decisions on what we use. Kinda wish we had one system that could handle the reds for all the services we use, but I don't know if that's possible.