Upgrading to Mountain Lion Server

Now that we’ve looked at what you get and what you don’t get in Mountain Lion Server, let’s take a little while to look at what the upgrade path itself looks like. Before we start, let’s just say that upgrading to Mountain Lion Server is probably one of the fastest, easiest and most boring upgrades you’ll ever get to do. And I say this more to the credit of the engineers that made the process so simple. Apparently there are bonuses to your Server just being an app. There is a catch, some of the services are gone. Another catch, you’re gonna’ need to have a system that meets the following specs:
  • Capable of booting a 64-bit kernel, means a 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo or better
  • The graphics just keep getting better, so you’ll need an Advanced GPU chipset
  • The more memory the better, although 2GB is the bare minimum
  • The more CPU the better, although 8GB of space is required
  • An Internet connection, or a cached Install Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Server app and Server package – much easier to just have a connection to the Internet…
  • You should plan on using an Apple ID, although if you don’t supply it at install time, the server can still run
  • The source computer needs 10.6.8 or 10.7.x
Apple’s official specs are here, outlining the models that Mountain Lion can run on. If Mountain Lion can run, OS X Server can run on it. Next, make a clone of your computer. I use Carbon Copy Cloner, like most sane people, but YMMV with other tools that you may be in love with. Once your clone is done, I personally like to do both an archive and an export of user accounts from Workgroup Manager as a final safety net. You should also have a book. Preferably one of mine, although given that the merging of two such boring topics can create a black hole of boringness (which is similar to turning a bag of holding inside out, btw), you might choose to bring something a bit livelier than either of the two, like some Dostoyevsky or the Chem 111 textbook I used in college. Next, let’s go to the App Store. Search for Mountain Lion or OS X and then click the Install button for the Mountain Lion app. The button will then say Downloading, as follows:
Buy OS X Mountain Lion from the App Store
Buy OS X Mountain Lion from the App Store
Once downloaded, make sure your users won’t chase after you with pitchforks for being down for a couple of hours and then run the installer, following the defaults until the download begins and the system reboots. The installation will take a little while. From the time you start the download to the time that the files are unpacked and replaced on the system can be about an hour or two. This is a good time to grab that book, a bag of Doritos and a Dr. Pepper. Once the Doritos are gone, wash your hands and check the progress of the installation. Read some more. Once that’s done, check the progress again. If you think about a second bag of Doritos, stop – it’s not worth it… A second Dr. Pepper is fine though, I hear it helps you write articles about upgrading to Mountain Lion Server in a way that makes optimal sense. Once the system reboots again, you should be ready to open Server app. Except for the fact that it isn’t there, which is obvious by the fact that it’s got a big annoying white circle over it in the Dock. Remove the Server app (and Workgroup Manager or Server Admin if they’re in there) and then it’s time to install Server itself. Go back to the App Store and search for & buy Mountain Lion Server (or install these from Purchases if you’ve already purchased them). Once installed, Server appears in the Dock. Use the following command to verify that the IP address and hostname match: sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/sbin/changeip -checkhostname Provided that the name of the server checks out clean, click on the Server app in the Dock to be guided through the installation process.
Set Up Your Server Screen When Installing Mountain Lion Server
Set Up Your Server Screen When Installing Mountain Lion Server
At the Setup Your Server screen, click on Continue.
Agree to the Mountain Lion Server Licensing Agreement
Agree to the Mountain Lion Server Licensing Agreement
Agree to the licensing terms (assuming you do agree) by clicking on the Agree button.
Provide Administrative Credentials When Installing Mountain Lion Server
Provide Administrative Credentials When Installing Mountain Lion Server
Provide the administrative username and password to give Server and services permission upon installation and then click on the Allow button.
Configure The AppleID for Push Notifications
Configure The AppleID for Push Notifications
At the Apple Push Notifications screen, provide the Apple ID and password for a valid Apple ID and then click on the Continue button.
Congrats, You're A SysAdmin!
Congrats, You’re A SysAdmin!
After a time, you should see a Congratulations screen. Click on Finish and the Server app should automatically open (or the process fails but Server opens anyway, just without some of the stuff working out of the gate). At this point, you should see the services that were running prior to the upgrade running. Check the logs to verify that there’s nothing out of the ordinary. If you were running a firewall then the rules will be migrated and continue running. To disable if you’re going to move your rules to pf, then use the following command to disable the rules and reboot: sudo mv /etc/ipfilter /etc/ipfilter.OLD You don’t need to disable these immediately, although a lack of control over them might cause you to want to… Next, install Workgroup Manager, available at http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1567. You’ve now got a functional server, provided that the entire process went smoothly. In my experience so far (there hasn’t been a ton of this at this point), the service migration is far smoother than from within the Lion Server point releases (e.g. 10.7.2 to 10.7.3, etc). Profile Manager, for example, worked like a charm on upgrade, as did Calendar and Contacts services, which had been a bit persnickety at times previously. Now, you can get back to that book and instead of a 3rd Dr. Pepper, switch to Jägermeister!

10 thoughts on “Upgrading to Mountain Lion Server”

    1. I’ll try and write that up later this week. It’s the same as Snow Leopard to Lion, just without the bits for features that aren’t there any more (so a little easier).

  1. We have a dozen (x86) XServes, but only 4 could be upgraded to Lion Server. The plan is to migrate at a future date – probably to Minis with the Promise SANLink… Services include OD, AFP (plus Network Homes), SMB, Web, TM.

    I plan to export the configuration data (10.6.8) and then import into the new Mini (10.8.x). Anything I should watch out for?

    Also, I am a bit concerned about all OD servers (we have 1 master and 3 replicas) needing to be on 10.8. Can Mountain Lion Server connect to a 10.6.8 Master via “Connected to a Directory System”?

    Your site is fantastic! Thank you so much!!

    1. Brian,

      Thanks for the kind words. Exporting config data and importing the way you reference should be straight forward for the flat data. THis would include the files in AFP, SBM and Web, provided there’s no back end databases and the mods you use are still available. I’ve had to do a little configuration to get various mods back running, but that’s usually straight forward. OD, I’ve mostly been doing an Archive and Restore. Provided that the schema wasn’t extended that has been pretty straight forward. Homes can be tricky. Provided users have the same paths and the same IDs they should work as with most flat data. But OD replicas I haven’t even bothered to migrate. I’ve just been tearing them down and rebuilding. Way faster, way more stable. 10.6.8 can be a member server to the realm, just not a replica. Anyway, sorry for the delayed response but hope it still gets to you before any upgrades.


  2. Hi Charles

    First, thanks for your articles, they have helped me out many a time.

    I’ve followed your article here to upgrade from Lion Server to OSX Server.

    after the upgrade I got installation failures when enrolloing the client mac, I got past these by creating a new ssl cert server side and then also had to trash OD and start again

    However i’m now getting Remote Certificate verification failed errors in profilemanager.log, yet the profile installed eventually??

    I’m thinking about wiping everything and starting over, but if i wipe the devicemgr, i’ll loose all my enrolled clients will i not? So should I back up the Postgres db first and then restore after I;ve set server from scratch with new apns and ssl certs?

    Many thanks


  3. One thing I learned in my Lion ->ML upgrade: first time I ran a machine through my previously debugged and silky smooth Deploystudio workflow, it failed with message that the PM enrollment failed, referencing “profile manager internalError:1”. I found that I needed to do a fresh export of my Trust and Enrollment Profiles and replace them in my DeployStudio assets, then my automated enrollment to my newly upgraded server would work.

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