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:
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.
At the Setup Your Server screen, click on Continue.
Agree to the licensing terms (assuming you do agree) by clicking on the Agree button.
Provide the administrative username and password to give Server and services permission upon installation and then click on the Allow button.
At the Apple Push Notifications screen, provide the Apple ID and password for a valid Apple ID and then click on the Continue button.
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!