Re-thinking Mac Deployment

By Tim Rycroft

Changes present challenges.

 
Hosted services are becoming more widespread and the need to keep software up to date is more important than ever. As a result of this shifting landscape, some big changes are coming to macOS Server. In Autumn 2018 Apple will stop bundling open-source services such as Calendar Server, Contacts Server, the Mail Server, DNS, DHCP, VPN Server, Netinstall/NetBoot and Websites with macOS Server. These same services can and will be available directly from open-source providers.

These changes will ensure that users can install the most secure and up-to-date services as soon as they are available. These substantial changes to macOS Server, including the rollout of APFS (Apple's new file system), present a need to re-think deployment methods and practices for fleets of Mac devices. Traditional deployment methods, including Systematic Imaging, will be more challenging due to APFS. The removal of Workgroup Manager a number of years ago also presents a challenge in terms of creating and applying policies to new devices. Deploystudio, a popular deployment tool, is also becoming outdated due to the changes.

The Solution

FileWave is a powerful software designed to eliminate the challenges described above. FileWave is a feature-rich solution that exhibits robust institution models and configurations that support app and profile deployment, data protection, resetting passwords, inventory reporting and remote wipe via secure settings.

Key features include:

Odoo • Image and Text

File and application deployment

Files and Applications are deployed using FileWave’s patented file-level deployment which, unlike traditional package deployment methods, gives IT teams granular control of content distribution. Applications can be mandated and installed automatically or posted to the Kiosk for the end-user to install. 

Rollback with zero network impact - When updates or new versions of software cause unforeseen problems, the FileWave Rollback feature allows an administrator to revert the software to the previous version in just a few minutes. 

Resuming interrupted deployments - The FileWave client resumes interrupted downloads that can be caused by loss of power, network disruptions, or laptop lids being closed. As soon as the system becomes available again Filewave continues from where it left off. 

Snapshot application creation - Easily create complex applications e.g. Sibelius, Adobe Suite, Office, using Filewave’s fast and easy snapshot creation tool.

Software updates

FileWave enables you to automatically find and deploy system updates for both Mac and Windows clients. The client will automatically report to the server which updates are needed and an administrator may then create Filesets from the updates and deploy them to clients who are requesting the update. An administrator can also manually associate updates as needed or automate the process. If there is a need to deploy an update quickly, you can instruct FileWave to automatically do so to all requesting clients. When clients that need the update check-in with the FileWave Server, the update will begin to download immediately.

License management

FileWave Inventory allows you to input all of your software and hardware purchasing information and can automatically scan across all inventory reports to give you up-to-date reports about current software usage. You can even monitor usage of different versions, suites or components.

DEP Mac Deployment

The Apple Device Enrolment Programme (DEP) allows for the configuration of new devices prior to unboxing. Upon setup, DEP pupils down all device settings from Filewave including filesets, restrictions, software updates, Active Directory binding and bespoke configurations making the set up of new devices much quicker and easier, whilst also providing enhanced granular, and ongoing control.

In summary, Filewave enables IT Teams to re-think and streamline the process of deploying Mac devices in-line with the upcoming changes to macOS Server. Filewave is a simple solution which can reduce workload, save time and provide ongoing up-to-date security.

If you would like to request a free demo of Filewave, get in touch and our tech team will be happy to help you.


About Tim Rycroft
Tim is the Technical Director at JTRS. His team of Apple engineers deployed over 18,000 Apple devices into Education, from Primary Schools to Higher Education Institutions.