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Organizations frequently have another party write iOS apps for them. When doing so, the organization typically wants to sign the .ipa (how iOS apps are deployed) prior to deploying the app to users. To do so, you would sign the .ipa with your provisioning profile. To make doing so easier, here’s ipasign, a python script that does most of the work for ya’:

September 27th, 2016

Posted In: iPhone, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server

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Profile Manager first appeared in OS X Lion Server as the Apple-provided tool for managing Apple devices, including Mobile Device Management (MDM) for iOS based devices as well as Profile management for OS X based computers, including MacBooks, MacBook Airs, Mac Minis, Mac Pros and iMacs running Mac OS X 10.7 and up. Profile Manager has seen a few more updates over the years, primarily in integrating new MDM options provided by Apple and keeping up with the rapidly changing MDM landscape. Apple has added DEP functionality, content distribution, VPP, and other features over the years. In El Capitan Server, there are plenty of new options, including the ability to deploy VPP apps to devices rather than Apple IDs.

In this article we’ll get Profile Manager setup and perform some basic tasks.

Preparing For Profile Manager

Before we get started, let’s prep the system for the service. This starts with configuring a static IP address and properly configuring a host name for the server. In this example, the hostname will be osxserver.krypted.com. We’ll also be using a self-signed certificate, although it’s easy enough to generate a CSR and install it ahead of time. For the purposes of this example, we have installed Server from the App Store (and done nothing else with Server except open it the first time so it downloads all of its components from the web) and configured the static IP address using the Network System Preferences. Next, we’ll set the hostname to odr using the scutil tool.

sudo scutil --set HostName odr.krypted.com

Then the ComputerName:

sudo scutil --set ComputerName odr.krypted.com

And finally, the LocalHostName:

sudo scutil --set LocalHostName our

Now check changeip:

sudo changeip -checkhostname

The changeip command should output something similar to the following:

Primary address = 192.168.210.201


Current HostName = odr.krypted.com


DNS HostName = odr.krypted.com


The names match. There is nothing to change.
dirserv:success = "success"

If you don’t see the success and that the names match, you might have some DNS work to do next, according to whether you will be hosting DNS on this server as well. If you will be hosting your own DNS on the Profile Manager server, then the server’s DNS setting should be set to the IP address of the Server. To manage DNS, start the DNS service and configure as shown previously:

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Provided your DNS is configured properly then changeip should work. If you’re hosting DNS on an Active Directory integrated DNS server or some other box then just make sure you have a forward and reverse record for the hostname/IP in question.

Profile Manager is built atop the web service, APNS and Open Directory. Next, click on the Web service and just hit start. While not required for Profile Manager to function, it can be helpful. We’re not going to configure anything else with this service in this article so as not to accidentally break Profile Manager. Do not click on anything while waiting for the service to start. While the indicator light can go away early, note that the Web service isn’t fully started until the path to the default websites is shown (the correct entry, as seen here, should be /Library/Server/Web/Data/Sites/Default) and a View Server Website link is shown at the bottom of the screen. If you touch anything too early then you’re gonna’ mess something up, so while I know it’s difficult to do so, be patient (honestly, it takes less than a minute, wait for it, wait for it, there!).

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Once the Web service is started and good, click on the View Server Web Site link at the bottom and verify that the Welcome to OS X Server page loads.

Setting Up Profile Manager

Provided the Welcome to OS X Server page loads, click on the Profile Manager service. Here, click on the Configure button.

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At the first screen of the Configure Device Management assistant, click on Next.

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Assuming the computer is not yet an Open Directory master or Replica, and assuming you wish to setup a new Open Directory Master, click on Create a new Open Directory domain at the Configure Network Users and Groups screen.

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Then click on Next. At the Directory Administrator screen, provide the username and password you’d like the Open Directory administrative account to have (note, this is going to be an Open Directory Master, so this example diradmin account will be used to authenticate to various Apple tools if we want to make changes to the Open Directory users, groups, computers or computer groups from there). Once you’re done entering the correct information, click Next.

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At the Organization Information screen, enter your information (e.g. name of Organization and administrator’s email address). Keep in mind that this information will be in your certificate (and your CSR if you submit that for a non-self-signed certificate) that is used to protect both Profile Manager and Open Directory communications. Click Next.

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At the Confirm Settings screen, make sure the information that will be used to configure Open Directory is setup correctly. Then click Set Up (as I’ve put a nifty red circle next to – although it probably doesn’t help you find it if it’s the only button, right?).

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The Open Directory master is then created. At the Organization Information screen, enter the name of the contact information for an administrator and click on the Next button. Even if you’re tying this thing into something like Active Directory, this is going to be a necessary step (unless of course you’re already running Open Directory on the system). Once Open Directory is setup you will be prompted to provide the information for an SSL Certificate.

At the Organization Information screen, enter your information and click Next.

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At the Configure an SSL Certificate screen, choose a certificate and click Next.

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This can be the certificate provided when Open Directory is initially configured, which is self-signed, or you can select a certificate that you have installed using a CSR from a 3rd party provider. At this point, if you’re using a 3rd party Code Signing certificate you will want to have installed it as well. Choose a certificate from the Certificate: drop-down list and then click on Next.

If using a self-signed certificate you will be prompted that the certificate isn’t signed by a 3rd party. Click Next if this is satisfactory.

If you do not already have a push certificate installed for the system, you will then be prompted to enter the credentials for an Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) certificate. This can be any valid AppleID. It is best to use an institutional AppleID (e.g. push@krypted.com) rather than a private one (e.g. charles@krypted.com). Once you have entered a valid AppleID username and password, click Next.

Provided everything is working, you’ll then be prompted that the system meets the Profile Manager requirements. Click on the Finish button to complete the assistant.

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When the assistant closes, you will be back at the Profile Manager screen in the Server application. Here, check the box for Sign Configuration Profiles.

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The Code Signing Certificate screen then appears. Here, choose the certificate from the Certificate field.

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Unless you’re using a 3rd party certificate there should only be one certificate in the list. Choose it and then click on OK. If you are using a 3rd party certificate then you can import it here, using the Import… selection. Then click OK to save your settings. Back at the Profile Manager screen, you will see a field for the Default Configuration Profile. If you host all of your services on the one server (Mail, Calendars, VPN, etc) then leave the box checked for Include configuration for services; otherwise uncheck it.

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Profile Manager has the ability to distribute apps and content from the App Store Volume Purchase Program or Apple School Manager through Profile Manager. To use this option, first sign up on the VPP site. Once done, you will receive a token file. Using the token file, check the box in Profile Manager for Volume Purchase Program” or “Apple School Manager” and then use the Configure… button to select the token file.

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Now that everything you need is in place, click on the ON button to start the service and wait for it to finish starting (happens pretty quickly).

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The process is the same for adding a DEP token. If you’re just using Profile Manager to create profiles that you’ll import into other tools (Casper, Deploy Studio, Apple Configurator, etc) you can skip adding these tokens as they’re likely to cause more problems than they help with.

Once you’ve got everything configured, start the service. Once started, click on the Open Safari link for Profile Manager and the login page opens. Administrators can login to Profile Manager to setup profiles and manage devices.

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The URL for this (for odr.krypted.com) is https://odr.krypted.com/profilemanager. Use the Everyone profile to automatically configure profiles for services installed on the server if you want them deployed to all users. Use custom created profiles for everything else. Also, under the Restrictions section for the everyone group, you can choose what to allow all users to do, or whether to restrict access to certain Profile Manager features to certain users. These include access to My Devices (where users enroll in the system), device lock (so users can lock their own devices if they loose them) and device wipe. You can also allow users to automatically enroll via DEP and Configurator using this screen.

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Enrolling Into Profile Manager

To enroll devices for management, use the URL https://odr.krypted.com/MyDevices (replacing the hostname with your own). Click on the Profiles tab to bring up a list of profiles that can be installed manually.

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From Profiles, click or tap the Enroll button. The profile is downloaded and when prompted to install the profile, click Continue.

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Then click Install if installing using a certificate not already trusted.

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Once enrolled, click on the Profile in the Profiles System Preference pane to see the settings being deployed.

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You can then wipe or lock the device from the My Devices portal. Management profiles from the MDM server are then used. Devices can opt out from management at any time. If you’re looking for more information on moving Managed Preferences (MCX) from Open Directory to a profile-based policy management environment, review this article and note that there are new options in dscl for removing all managed preferences and working with profiles in Mavericks (10.9), Yosemite (10.10), and El Capitan (10.11).

If there are any problems when you’re first getting started, an option is always to run the wipeDB.sh script that resets the Profile Manager (aka, devicemgr) database. This can be done by running the following command:

sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/share/devicemgr/backend/wipeDB.sh

Automating Enrollment & Random Management Tips

The two profiles needed to setup a client on the server are accessible from the web interface of the Server app. Saving these two profiles to a macOS computer then allows you to automatically enroll devices into Profile Manager using Apple Configurator, as shown in this previous article.
When setting up profiles, note that the username and other objects that are dynamically populated can be replaced through a form of variable expansion using payload variables in Profile Manager. For more on doing so, see this article.

Note: As the database hasn’t really changed, see this article for more information on backing up and reindexing the Profile Manager database.

Device Management

Once you’ve got devices enrolled, those devices can easily be managed from a central location. The first thing we’re going to do is force a passcode on a device. Click on Devices in the Profile Manager sidebar.

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Click on a device in Profile Manager’s admin portal, located at https:///profilemanager (in this case https://odr.krypted.com/profilemanager). Here, you can see:

  • General Information: the type of computer, capacity of the drive, version of OS X, build version, serial number of the system and the currently logged in user.
  • Details: UDID, Ethernet MAC, Wi-Fi MAC, Model, Last Checkin Time, Available disk space, whether Do Not Disturb is enabled and whether the Personal Hotspot is enabled.
  • Security information: If FileVault is enabled, whether a Personal Recovery is set and whether an Institutional Recovery Key has been installed.
  • Restrictions, whether any restrictions have been deployed to the device from Profile Manager.
  • Installed Apps: A list of all the apps installed (packages, App Store, Drivers, via MDM, etc).
  • In Device Groups: What groups are running on the system.
  • Certificates: A list of each certificate installed on the computer.

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The device screen is where much of the management of each device is handled, such as machine-specific settings or using the cog-wheel icon, wiping, locking, etc. From the device (or user, group, user group or device group objects), click on the Settings tab and then click on the Edit button.

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Here, you can configure a number of settings on devices. There are sections for iOS specific devices, macOS specific settings and those applicable to both platforms. Let’s configure a passcode requirement for an iPad.

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Click on Passcode, then click on Configure.

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At the Passcode settings, let’s check the box for Allow simple value and then set the Minimum Passcode Length to 4. I find that with iOS, 4 characters is usually enough as it’ll wipe far before someone can brute force that. However, if a fingerprint can unlock your devices then more characters is fine as it’s quick to enter them. Click OK to commit the changes.

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Once configured, click Save. At the “Save Changes?” screen, click Save. The device then prompts you to set a passcode a few moments later. The next thing we’re going to do is push an app. To do so, first find an app in your library that you want to push out. Right-click (or control-click) on the app and click on Show in Finder. You can install an Enterprise App from your library or browse to it using the VPP program if the app is on the store. Before you start configuring apps, click on the Apps entry in the Profile Manager sidebar.

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At the Apps screen, use the Enterprise App entry to select an app or use the Volume Purchase Program button to open the VPP and purchase an app. Then, from the https:///profilemanager portal, click on an object to manage and at the bottom of the About screen, click Enable VPP Managed Distribution Services.

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Click on the Apps tab.

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From the Apps tab, click on the plus sign icon (“+”). At the Add Apps screen, choose the app added earlier and then authenticate if needed, ultimately selecting the app. The app is then uploaded and displayed in the list. Click Add to add to the selected group. Then, click on Done. Then click on Save… and an App Installation dialog will appear on the iOS device you’re pushing the app to.

At the App Installation screen on the iPad, click on the Install button (unless you’re using Device-based VPP) and the app will instantly be copied to the last screen of apps on the device. Tap on the app to open it and verify it works. Assuming it does open then it’s safe to assume that you’ve run the App Store app logged in as a user who happens to own the app. You can sign out of the App Store and the app will still open. However, you won’t be able to update the app as can be seen here.

Note: If you push an app to a device and the user taps on the app and the screen goes black then make sure the app is owned by the AppleID signed into the device. If it is, have the user open App Store and update any other app and see if the app then opens.

Finally, let’s wipe a device. From the Profile Manager web interface, click on a device and then from the cog wheel icon at the bottom of the screen, select wipe.

At the Wipe screen, click on the device and then click Wipe. When prompted, click on the Wipe button again, entering a passcode to be used to unlock the device if possible. The iPad then says Resetting iPad and just like that, the technical walkthrough is over.

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Note: For fun, you can use the MyDevices portal to wipe your iPad from the iPad itself.

Conclusion

To quote Apple’s Profile Manager page:

Profile Manager simplifies deploying, configuring, and managing them all. It’s one place where you control everything: You can create profiles to set up user accounts for mail, calendar, contacts, and messages; configure system settings; enforce restrictions; set PIN and password policies; and more. Because it’s integrated with the Apple Push Notification service, Profile Manager can send out updated configurations over the air, automatically. And it includes web-based administration, so you can manage your server from any modern web browser. Profile Manager even gives users access to a self-service web portal where they can download and install new configuration profiles, as well as clear passcodes and remotely lock or wipe their Mac, iPhone, or iPad if it’s lost or stolen.

For the money, Profile Manager is an awesome tool. Apps such as Casper, AirWatch, Zenprise, MaaS360, etc all have far more options, but aren’t as easy to install (well, Bushel is… 😉 and nor do they come at such a low price point. Profile Manager is a great option if all of the tasks you need to perform are available within the tool. If not, then it’s worth a look, if only as a means to learn more about the third party tools and to export profiles you’ll use in other solutions.

September 27th, 2016

Posted In: iPhone, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server

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I wrote about using the smbutil for DFS in Lion awhile back. I haven’t needed to write anything else as it hadn’t changed since. The statshares option has an -m option to look at a mount path for showing the path to the mount (e.g. if the mount is called krypted this should be something like /Volumes/krypted):

smbutil statshares -m /Volumes/krypted

When run, you see a list of all the attributes OS X tracks for that mount path, including the name of the server, the user ID (octal), how SMB negotiated an authentication, what version of SMB is running (e.g. SMB_1), the type of share and whether signing, extended security, Unix and large files are supported.

Additionally, if you’d like to see the attributes for all shares, use the -a option after statshares:

smbutil statshares -a

Overall, this is a nice health check type of verb to the smbutil command that can be added to any monitoring or troubleshooting workflow.

September 26th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server

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The first thing you’ll want to do on any server is get all software updates installed on the server (done using the App Store app). Then setup the networking for the computer so you’re not changing IP addresses and stuff like that, once the server is installed. To do so, open System Preferences (aka the Settings app, some day) and click on the Network System Preference pane. You will almost always want to use a wired Ethernet connection on a server, but in this case we’ll be using Wi-Fi. Here, click on the Wi-Fi interface and then click on the Advanced… button.

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At the setup screen for the interface, provide a good static IP address. Your network administrator can provide this fairly easily. Here, make sure you have an IP address and a subnet mask. Since we need to install the Server app from the Mac App Store, and that’s on the Internet, you’ll also need to include a gateway, which provides access to the Internet and using the DNS tab, the name servers for your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

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Once you have provided a static IP address, verify that you can route to the Internet (e.g. open Safari and visit a website). Provided you can, the first step to installing OS X Server is to download the Server app from the Mac App Store. Open the App Store app and search for Server. In the available apps, you’ll see the Server app from Apple. Here, click on Buy and/or Get (if you already own the Server app) and then let the app download. That was pretty easy, right. Well, the fun has just gotten started. Next, open the app.

When you first open the Server app, you’ll see the OS X Server screen. Here, you can click on the following options:

  • This Mac: Installs the server on the Mac you’re using.
  • Other Mac: Shows a list of Macs with the Server app that can be remotely configured. Choosing another system does not complete the setup process on the system you’re working on at the moment.
  • Cancel: Stops the Server app setup assistant and closes the Server App.
  • Continue: Continues installing the Server app on the computer you are using.
  • Help: Brings up the OS X Server manual.

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Click Continue to setup OS X Server on the machine you’re currently using. You’ll then be prompted for the licensing agreement from Apple. Here, check the box to “Use Apple services to determine this server’s Internet reachability” and click on Agree (assuming of course that you agree to Apple’s terms in the license agreement).

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Installing OS X Server must be done with elevated privileges. At the prompt, enter the credentials for an account with administrative access and click on the Allow button.

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The services are then configured as needed and the command line tools are made accessible. This can take some time, so be patient.

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When the app is finished with the automation portion of the configuration, you will be placed into the Server app for the first time. Your first order of business is to make sure that the host names are good on the computer. Here, first check the Host Name. If the name doesn’t resolve properly (forward and reverse) then you will likely have problems with the server at some point. Therefore, go ahead and click on Edit Host Name… Here, enter the fully qualified address that the server should have. In the DNS article, we’ll look at configuring a good DNS server, but for now, keep in mind that you’ll want your DNS record that points to the server to match what you enter here. And users will use this address to access your server, so use something that is easy to communicate verbally, when needed.

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At the Change Host Name screen, click Next. At the “Accessing your Server” screen, click on Internet and then click on the Next button.

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At the “Connecting to your Server” screen, provide the Computer Name and the Host Name. The Computer Name is what you will see when you connect to the server over Bonjour and what will be listed in the Sharing System Preference pane. The Host Name is the fully qualified host name (fqdn) of the computer. I usually like to take the computer name and put it in front of the domain name. For example, in the following screen, I have osxserver as the name of the computer and osxserver.krypted.com as the host name.

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Once you have entered the names, click on the Finish button. You are then prompted to Change Host Name. Click on Change Host Name at this screen.

Next, let’s open Terminal and run changeip with the -checkhostname option, to verify that the IP and hostname match:

sudo changeip -checkhostname

Provided that the IP address and hostname match, you’ll see the following response.

sudirserv:success = “success”

If the IP address and hostname do not match, then you might want to consider enabling the DNS server and configuring a record for the server. But at this point, you’ve finished setting up the initial server and are ready to start configuring whatever options you will need on the server.

September 26th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

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By default, the Software Update Service, long a part of OS X Server, is hidden. This indicates the service is not likely to be long for this world. However, many an organization still likes to leverage cooling off periods for their Mac fleet. To see the service, once you’ve installed the Server app, open the Server app and then from the View menu, select Software Update.

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You’ll then see the Software Update service. If you click off of the service and close the app, it will be hidden again. If you enable the service, you will then see it each time you open the Server app. We’ll get into enabling the Software Update service in a bit.

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Enjoy.

September 25th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

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The Caching Server in OS X Server 5.2 (for Sierra) does content, apps, and software updates. The Software Update service is hidden by default indicating it will likely be removed from the Server app in a future update, although when is kinda’ up in the air. The Software Update service can still be enabled for now, which we’ll look at later. The Caching service on the Server app works like a proxy. When 10 of your users download that latest Nicholas Sparks book and movie, you only sacrifice your WAN pipe to download it once, and the other 9 people piggy-back off that. And when 10.12.1 ships, you only need to download it over the WAN once, and the other local users will pull off that spiffy Caching server sitting in your office. Pretty sweet, right?

So, how do you use this ultra-complicated service? It looks and feels kinda’ like an iPad app. Which is to say that as far as server stuffs go, this thing is pretty darn easy to use. To get started, open the Server app and then click on the Caching service in the sidebar of the Server app.

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Here, click on the ON button. OMG, so hard. But wait, there’s more! Click on that Change Location button and you can select a larger volume for your updates that are cached. You’ll likely wanna’ do this because the entire series of the HBO drama OZ is kinda’ big (and yes, creepy, but really well written)…

If you do change the location, you’ll see a window to change the volume you’re caching to. That’s pretty much it. Other than the waiting for the updates to move. By default, the Caching service allows for unlimited space. Use the spiffy slider to reduce the total amount of space that the service can occupy on the hard drive. This can be a good thing if it happens to be your boot volume and there are other more mission critical services hosted on that thing.

Overall, this all seems pretty straight forward. So what else might you need to know. In case you get a corrupt asset, or in case your volume fills up, there’s a Reset button, to reset the cache.

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The service can be controlled from the command line as well. To start it, use the serveradmin command along with the start verb and the service name (oddly, that’s caching).

sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/sbin/serveradmin start caching

To stop the service, use the stop verb along with the service name:

sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/sbin/serveradmin stop caching

To see a list of settings, use the settings verb with the service name:

sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/sbin/serveradmin settings caching

The settings are as follows, mostly available in the Server app:

caching:ReservedVolumeSpace = 25000000000
caching:CacheLimit = 350000000000
caching:ServerRoot = "/Library/Server"
caching:ServerGUID = "DEE63BBB-9F32-428B-B717-E3941F82E2DC"
caching:DataPath = "/Library/Server/Caching/Data"
caching:LocalSubnetsOnly = yes
caching:Port = 0

One setting you might choose to change is the reserved volume space, as this can keep you from getting the service started on smaller volumes. In the above example, the setting is 250 gigs. To change that to 100 gigs:

sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/sbin/serveradmin settings caching:ReservedVolumeSpace = 10000000000

A new setting in Server 5.2 for macOS Sierra is defining other servers that can access your Caching server. This is like providing a proxy for a proxy. Basically if your devices can cache updates onto the server from other servers then the updates are caching much faster than if your server caches the updates from Apple. This is called Peering Permissions. To define Peering Permissions, click on the Edit Peering Permissions… button.

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At the Caching screen, click on Only Local Subnets if you want to let the server identify which subnets are local, or Only Some Networks to define which ranges of addresses have servers that can cache content and update from your server.

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Click on the plus sign to add a network and then click on “Create a new network”

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At the Create A New Network screen, provide a name and then the first and last IP

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Click Create and then add all of the appropriate subnets. Click OK when you’re done. Restart the service and viola, you’re finished.

September 24th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

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Fixed an error that was causing downloads not to run. Enjoy.

September 23rd, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server

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My latest post is up over on Huffington Post. It starts a little like this:

You work hard, you work harder, and then you get a montage. The montage starts when you get hit in the face with a pizza by the other engineers on your team. Then you get a little better as Bon Jovi or Tina Turner belt out a power ballad just for you. Then things start to click. You catch the bugs before you compile, you close all the tickets in your queue, and finally you get carried out of the office door on the shoulders of your coworkers, given the key to the city, and promoted to Grand Puba. It’s awesome.

Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-edge/signs-youve-hit-your-stri_b_12107664.html.

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September 22nd, 2016

Posted In: Articles and Books

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A nifty little feature of nvram is the ability to delete all of the firmware variables you’ve created. This can get helpful if you’ve got a bunch of things that you’ve done to a system and want to remove them all. If you run nvkram followed by a -p option you’ll see all of the configured firmware variables:

nvram -p

If you run it with a -d you’ll delete the given variables that you define (e.g. boot-args):

nvram -d boot-args

But, if you run the -c you’ll wipe them all:

nvram -c

September 21st, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server

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Ever wonder why repetitive pings fail after a little while in OS X (e.g. those sent via the -f flag)? By default, OS X has an ICMP rate limit of 250 set. You can increase this or disable, using sysctl. To disable, set the value of net.inet.icmp.icmplim

sudo sysctl -w net.inet.icmp.icmplim=0

Happy icmp flooding!

September 20th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac Security

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