15 Changes in Snow Leopard Server

Now that Mac OS X Server 10.6 has been out for a little while and the new features have able to sink in a bit, it seems like a good time to lay out what those new features are. While on the outside Mac OS X Server 10.6 has been described as a minor update outside of the whole 64-bit thing, it’s worth noting that it sports about as many new features as every version of Mac OS X Server that it follows. These include:
  1. NetRestore has been integrated with System Image Utility to facilitate easier creation of NetRestore NetBoot sets, allowing for asr-based restores (asr has not been given a GUI though)
  2. There’s now an option to enable and disable directory services binding discovery on servers
  3. Wide Area Bonjour support in the DNS service
  4. Mobile Access service has been added which allows you to proxy incoming connections for all the included groupware services through the server
  5. Push Notification service has been added to enhance iPhone integration with Mac OS X Server
  6. The mail server now uses Dovecot, which now has a GUI option in Server Admin and Server Preferences for relaying outgoing mail through a separate SMTP server
  7. Podcast Producer got a pretty big overhaul in Podcast Producer 2, making workflows easier to be created and managed with an assistant and making the server itself much easier to set up with another assistant
  8. Podcast Producer has been integrated ever-so-slightly with Final Cut Server workflows
  9. New 802.1x features in networksetup
  10. New command, mcxrefresh, used for refreshing managed preferences on clients
  11. Users now have a splash page that allows for a number of fairly self-service options including setting up easy-to-use mail rules
  12. A lot of GUI logic has been added; for example, when you promote to an Open Directory Master Server Admin checks existing bindings and if they are present provides a different prompt; also the toolbar in Directory Utility was cleaned up and DHCP supplied LDAP mysteriously removed
  13. You can use Server Preferences and the Server Admin/Workgroup Manager pseudo-interchangeably rather than switching between Standard, Workgroup and Advanced (that whole idea died with 10.5)
  14. GUI iChat Server federation to allow for multiple iChat servers for an organization
  15. Client & Server updates most likely to impact Server admins more than users:
  • You can now move journaling to a dedicated drive (ie – SSD) to offload potential IO performance bottlenecks
  • Directory Utility was moved to CoreServices and can now be accessed through the Accounts System Preference pane
  • Hard drive spaces now reported more accurately, changing the game in capacity planning for all those Nagios/Zenoss hooha’s
There’s also more, which I’ll write up as I get some of the details sorted out. If there’s a glaring omission please feel free to drop it into a comment!  🙂 Looking at the difference between 10.5 Server and 10.6 it seems this is a similar enhancement in terms of the number of new features. Some are more subtle but will allow for more agile development of features in subsequent releases.