Hello Mac fans!
Continuing my series of blogs reporting back from what’s new in the training world of Amsys, last week I delivered our first Advanced Deployment 10.9 course at our South London Apple training centre.
For those of you not already familiar with our OS X Advanced Deployment course, this course is designed for OS X System Administrators who need to know how to streamline the process of installing and configuring a large number of computers running OS X.
This course was created by myself to fill the gap left by Apple’s decision to retire their ACSA Deployment certification, which ended with Mac OS X 10.6.
I designed this course to provide plenty of hands on labs and to cover a wide range of real-world scenarios faced by Mac techs when asked to deploy Macs in a business or education environment.
As with all our courses, the first day kicked off with an introduction to the course and facilities.
As this is an advanced course, students should already have a good understanding of OS X and OS X server or have attended the OS X Support Essentials v10.9 and OS X Server Essentials v10.9 courses.
Experience using the command-line interface with OS X is also very useful as we spend a good while in the command-line.
The first section of the course gets the students to look into Deployment Planning.
You can never stress enough how important planning is when rolling out a new deployment. So we spend some time discussing comprehensive planning of a new deployment of Macs, providing students with a better awareness of how to develop a stable deployment strategy.
Deploying Individual Items and Containers is up next, where we look into how to install individual files, folders, Apps or compressed items.
With Mavericks, Apple has made App deployment more flexible so, in this section we explain all the options available to you when you are installing Mac App Store apps on multiple machines. We also look at how to manage the ownership of the apps. There is also a good discussion about Apple IDs.
Students always find this section useful as they try to get to grips with how best to install, remove and manage apps on Mac devices.
We wrap up day one with Installation Packages. We look at how Apple’s installer technology works for software distribution, including how to create custom installation packages using GUI tools and the command line.
There is also a dedicated appendix covering two alternative installation solutions, the open-source project Munki and the commercial Casper Suite.
Creating Entire System Images is a key area for Mac deployment and so day two is dedicated to creating and deploying system images.
Last week my students were keen to know how to create full system images for a complete deployment of OS X Mavericks. So, they were more than pleased to learn how to completely customise system images with automated tasks such as user account creation, Directory service binding and MDM auto enrollment.
We finish day two with a look at how to Deploy System Images, the students are tasked with the job of setting up Apple’s NetInstall service and creating and managing NetBoot, NetRestore and NetInstall System Images.
By the end of the day, students will be able to create and mass deploy customised system images, making deployment much easier than manually configuring one machine at a time!
The final day is designed to tackle the issues of all those settings and software that you can’t deploy within your system image, therefore, this day explains Post Imaging Deployment Considerations and System Maintenance.
There are various techniques available to apply post installation configuration, such as setting the Firmware password, modifying preferences and Post Imaging Serialization. MDM solutions such as Apple’s Profile Manager are an option, as is scripting post deployment settings.
In today’s mobile world, keeping all company devices up-to-date and secure can be a big task. Consequently, this stage in the course invites students to discuss their own company’s environment needs and learn how to manage, track and monitor company computers, tablets and smartphones and how Apple’s solution, as well as the leading third party solutions, can handle this.
As well as management and security, updating software can sometimes be a difficult task to maintain.
We take a look into the Apple Software Update Service and Caching Service, as well as third party software update solutions, to see how updating Macs can be managed and simplified.
Additionally, a range of features available through Apple Remote Desktop are discussed.
The final day is largely dedicated to Deploying Macs with DeployStudio. So we take a look at the DeployStudio deployment package for additional Deployment features which work perfectly with Apple’s NetInstall service.
Through a collection of hands on labs, the students are able to configure pre and post imaging scripts to perform common tasks such as naming computers, binding to active directory and configuring other computer specific settings.
By the end of day three, last week, all my students had successfully progressed from understanding how to configure a Mac manually, to how to fully automate an installation, configuration and management of an OS X Mavericks computer.
The benefits of understanding Mac Deployment:
Students who have successfully completed our Advanced Deployment course feel that it provides them with the key knowledge required to start customising the deployment and management of Macs.
Many will go on to attend one of our other bespoke Apple courses, specialising in a particular area of interest, such as our Directory Service or Advanced Server courses.
If you found this story interesting and would like to improve your Mac knowledge, please feel free to contact one of our helpful and friendly training team or take a look at our collection of Mavericks Training courses on our website.