I have talked about many of the features of Mac OS X Server for years now and now I have had a third request (from Windows guys funny enough) to walk through the basic installation of the operating system in one week. So, here we go. This is going to be a bit of a long one as there are a number of screens involved in the installation. Additionally, all of the screens are going to show the VMware console as I’m installing a fresh copy of Mac OS X Server while flying home from Advanced Camp.
So for starters, we’re going to boot to our nifty Mac OS X Server optical media, or if you’re using VMware like me, insert the optical media and create a new VMware image. Here, you’ll choose your boot volume and likely select to do a custom installation, removing the unneeded language and printer files to keep your install pretty lean and mean. I don’t recommend disabling X11 as part of your initial install as it’s a pretty helpful app (and small).
After the initial OS installation, the first screen you’ll see is the good ‘ole welcome screen. Here, click on Continue. The second screen you will see is a Server Configuration screen. Now, this is a far more complicated discussion than I’m ready to have in this post, although I did explain the difference between the modes here. At this screen, you will be able to click on Standard, Workgroup or Advanced. Personally, I will only use Workgroup or Standard in three cases:
- If I want the automated augmented records to be built I will use Workgroup
- If I want to use Time Machine destinations for clients on the server
- If a customer forces me too
No matter what mode you choose to use, you will be able to upgrade to Advanced (which is where you will likely want to be) easily by opening Server Admin and telling it to upgrade. Here we’re going to use Advanced, so click Advanced (or whatever mode you want to use) and click on Continue.
Server Configuration screen
At the Keyboard screen, select your preferred keyboard type and click Continue.
At the Serial Number screen type in your serial number, Registered to and name of your company and click on Continue. Do not try to use the one I typed in here as it won’t work (I didn’t figure Apple would like it if I turned my blog into my own little Serial Surfer).
Serial Number screen
At the Registration Information screen, type in your info and click on Continue.
Registration Information screen
At the A Few More Questions screen, check the boxes appropriate for you and click on Continue.
A Few More Questions screen
At the Administrator Account screen, enter the credentials for your first administrator account. The Name, the Short Name and the password will all be placed into the local directory store and the password will also be used on the root account, which is enabled by default on Mac OS X Server (but not on the client version of the operating system). When you’re happy with your account name, click Continue.
Administrator Account screen
Now you can configure your network settings at the Network Address screen. Here you will ONLY want to use the “Yes, use the information supplied” radio button if you have a DHCP reservation setup for your server. You do not want the IP address of a Mac OS X Server to change unless you run the changeip command. It will cause you to potentially no longer want to use Mac OS X Server, which will make me very, very sad as I think it’s a great platform…
Network Address screen
So click on No, configure network settings manually and then click on Continue. Here, type the relevant IP information for your environment and then click Continue. Unless you use it, consider disabling IPv6 here but make sure to use a DNS server that is authoritative for the domain this server will reside in.
At the Network Names screen, enter the name that you have setup for this server into the Primary DNS Name field. If you have not setup the name that you are giving this server on your DNS servers, do so now (including the PTR record). If this server isn’t destined to become the DNS server then obviously you won’t have a record yet, but enter the IP as it will be when you get around to setting up your DNS. At the Computer Name field enter what would otherwise be the A record in most cases. You can use this
Network Names screen
I’m not sure why the option is located on the Network Names screen, but one of the few services I will sometimes leave enabled at install time is the Enable Remote Management service. Especially if I’m doing a headless installation. If you aren’t using ARD then you likely won’t be using Remote Management but hopefully most of you are. When you’re satisfied with the name of the system then go ahead and click on Continue.
At the Time Zone screen, set your Time Zone by selecting the closest city and then click Edit and set your Network Time Server (NTP). The Network Time Server is important in a Workgroup setup where you will be binding to Active Directory or Open Directory on installation as Kerberos will need the server to be within 5 minutes (by default) of the KDC (Key Distribution Center). If there’s not an existing directory services infrastructure or Network Time Server, then you can create one after installation and leave the server as time.apple.com. When you’re happy with your time settings, click Continue.
Time Zone screen
If you are using Standard Mode then you will not get the Directory Usage screen as it will automatically turn your box into an Open Directory Master. If you’re using Workgroup Mode then you will be required to join a directory service. if you’re using Advanced Mode (and in most cases you should be), just click Continue leaving the directory usage set to Standalone. If the server is to be promoted to an Open Directory master or replica at a later time then still leave it Standalone until you have installed the available software updates.
Directory Usage screen
Now you will be looking at the Confirm Settings screen. Here, review the settings you’ve given the host (yours should not say Network supplied by DHCP as mine does btw) and click on Apply. Once the server reboots login and open the System Preferences and run Software Update, installing all available updates, except maybe Bluetooth, AIrPort or iPod types of updates that will likely not be needed on a server. Reboot after the updates are finished.
Confirm Settings screen
Login again, go to the /Applications/Server folder and open Server Admin (if you’re using Advanced Mode) or Server Preferences (if you’re using Standard or Workgroup Modes). If your DNS isn’t ready yet when you open up Server Admin you’ll get a nastygram telling you that the server cannot be found. Here you can choose to Keep in List or Remove. The thing is that Server Admin allows you to configure your servers and connects to each computer. But you’re not deleting any functionality, etc. when you choose to Remove. This is only a listing, not a big deal…
Server Admin without DNS
I usually remove it and then readd it using 127.0.0.1 when I don’t have DNS yet, or edit my /etc/hosts file to throw my name in there until I’m finished setting up DNS prior to opening Server Admin.
Configure Services Prompt
Once you’re able to connect you’ll get another dialog box, this time asking you if you want to enable any of the services on the server. Go ahead and click on Choose Configured Services. Here we’re going to run through and just check the boxes for services we want to see in the list. We haven’t actually configured any services by checking their box, only made it where we only see relevant servers in the list, making administration easier. Once you’ve checked your boxes, click Save.
Selecting Services to Run
Next, click on Notifications and add some addresses and at a minimum tell your server to notify you when the free space drops dangerously low. User Server Monitor you can then configure the server (if it is an Xserve) to notify you for a wide variety of other items as well.
Setting up Notifications
Now, fire up a Terminal screen and run changeip -checkhostname to see whether your DNS is OK. If, like me you didn’t have DNS before then it will return with an error. If you didn’t have DNS already and will be setting it up as part of your server install, add the service as described early, configure your Zones and then try the changeip. Do not put a server into production without first verifying the hostname.
Anyway, at this point you’re on to configuring the server services, so I’ll let you get to that. Have fun and later (when I’m not a bit jetlagged) I’ll explain how to do the installation using AutoServerSetup.