macOS Server is dead. Long live macOS.

Yes, it’s been a hot topic in the MacAdmin community both on Mac Enterprise list (oh no it’s the end of the world!) and MacAdmins Slack (told you it was coming, don’t be surprised).

My professional opinion is: “Don’t panic!”

My MacDevOps conference is all about supporting MacAdmins who have been writing code as infrastructure to manage Macs. And do it while replacing macOS Server in the server room with Linux and other OS.

Xsan is staying in macOS Server so I am happy and that’s my main use for the Mac Mini and macOS Server.

I have other Mac Minis doing file sharing for small work groups and moving that out of Server.app in the last revision was unfortunate (it is in the standard OS and usable there but less manageable). There’s also Synology and QNAP NAS for small workgroup file sharing and so much more And many enterprise storage vendors for larger setups.

Imaging has been dying a slow death for years and has been replaced with a thin or “no imaging” concept supported by tools such as AutoPkg and Munki.

Profile Manager is a demo version of MDM and should not be used to actually manage Macs.

Wikis, DNS and Mail should be hosted on Linux, in VMs, AWS, GCP or anywhere other than macOS Server so no problem.

Overall it might be disconcerting to some. But change is constant. And especially at Apple change comes fast and often. We have to get used to it.

Reference:

Apple Support article

Apple to Deprecate Many macOS Server Services – TidBITS http://tidbits.com/e/17760

MDOYVR 2018

MacDevOps:YVR 2018 tickets are on sale now. Buy one for everyone in your MacAdmin family.

Seems like just the other day we were hanging out with our friends who came from all over the world to talk Open Source and macOS management, and now we can do it all again!

Tickets are on sale now.

MacDevOps:YVR is the place for Mac Admins interested in integrating DevOps into their IT practise. Developers and IT (Ops) working together to build a better world.

Join us at MacDevOps:YVR 2018, our annual conference, for two days of learning and networking in Vancouver, BC, Canada. With speakers from a diverse group of companies, this year’s conference will be the best place to talk about Open Source projects that matter to the community. Learn from your peers, and connect with fellow Mac Admins.

We will be discussing: munki, imagr, autopkg, chef, puppet and all your favourite Open Source projects. This year we will be discussing MDM and all the changes in macOS. We’re planning another hack night because it was so much fun last year, and if you are interested in a particular workshop topic let us know.

Learn more at https://mdoyvr.com

And because we’re always learning from every conference we’ve organized we’re trying something different this year: tiered pricing for tickets. We want everyone to join us and we want to make it fair for independents, students and others who want to be there. At the same time we want to pay the bills and support a diverse group of speakers and attendees who might not be able to attend due to lack of funds.

We’ve created three tickets: corporate (if your work is paying), independent (if you’re buying you’re own ticket), and education (students and those who work in schools). Last, but not least, the Donation ticket is for those who want to contribute to our financial aid fund. Help those who want to speak and/or attend but need some help.

Ticket sales: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mdoyvr2018-tickets-38821491125

Screen recording and other tricks

QuickTime has a neat little trick that some may not know about, it can record your screen.

QT-ScreenRecord

Use it to record a how-to video how to navigate System Preferences, or how to use Final Cut Pro, or record a MacDevOps:YVR talk.

The first two MacDevOps:YVR conferences needed to be converted to a suitable format for YouTube and using QuickTime screen recording + Soundflower is the way I chose to do it.

Note: Soundflower is needed to redirect the audio to QuickTime. Screenrecording with QuickTime does not capture the audio without Soundflower.

MacDevOps Screen recording steps

  1. Install Soundflower (Soundflower-2.0b2.dmg)

https://github.com/mattingalls/Soundflower/releases/tag/2.0b2

  1. Set audio output to SoundFlower 2chSoundFlower
  2. Set QT screen recording to Soundflower audio QT-ScreenRecord-SoundFlower-2ch
  3. Start screen recording (select screen area)
  4. Play website audio / video (Safari / Other )
  5. Stop both. Edit and trim QT video as needed
  6. Upload to YouTube
  7. Tag video (mdoyvr, yvr, MacDevOps, MacAdmin, MacIT), put in proper playlist
  8. Publish

Addendum:

I own Rogue Amoeba’s excellent Audio Hijack application and have used this app for audio capture (podcast interviews, etc), but I couldn’t get it to work in this case. It might have also required their Rogue Amoeba’s Loopback app which I did not own. Since I’ve used Soundflower previously I used it here in this case.

 

MacDevOps:YVR 2017

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We’ve had incredible feedback from the last two events and it was so much fun we’ve decided to do it again. Join us on June 5-6th in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Early bird tickets are on sale now.

As a conference we like to gather to discuss Open Source solutions to manage Macs in the enterprise and everywhere else. This year we focus on the new APFS filesystem and what that means for all of us. How do we manage macOS if it is becoming more closed and like iOS? They’ll be talks on what is MDM?, Is imaging dead?, managing Macs with various open source tools, and how to leverage the cloud.

Join us for the technical talks by speakers from Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, Square, Uber and many more. Or hang out in the break room and the hallway track. You’ll meet the awesome community members that make up the MacDevOps family. We are all here to share what we know, and to learn from others.

For more information go to our website:

MacDevOps:YVR website

A limited number of early bird tickets are on sale now at Eventbrite:

Get your early bird ticket now!

Thoughts on Documentation: What are we afraid of?

People are afraid of documentation… But mostly people just hate it. They don’t like it. They don’t want it. It shouldn’t exist. Fingers in ears. I can’t hear you.

This is about primal fear. And hate. I hate hate. But these are real emotions. Let’s deal with it. What is the reality? Why is documentation is ignored, abandoned, or resisted at all?

As a Sysadmin perhaps you don’t care about documentation, that is, sharing information with others (co workers / bosses), you want to keep it to yourself. But you care very much about building systems. But there’s perhaps no attempt to explain any of this to anyone else. Who else is there really? No one cares. No one is around that would understand if you explained it.

Lesson # 1 – Document for yourself.

Paranoia makes us set up redundant systems for backups. Layers upon layers. Custom scripts and disparate apps. Where was this explained? Documented? Nowhere. Bin dir. Maybe.

If you could replace all that now with one app that did it all then you would. Time is valuable. Easier to monitor. Easier for someone else to monitor and take over.

Lesson # 2 – document for your replacement (job change, bus hit)

Do it continuously. Automate. Or set up systems that work automatically.

Lesson # 3. DevOps.

Integrate systems. IT systems manage computer but maybe they also built Inventory. Automatically. Alert Systems report continuously. Living systems report on the state of everything. Documentation is easier when it is current and relevant.

Lesson # 4. Sustainability

Commercial vs OpenSource. Support vs excellent team, talent retention and documentation. Pro/Con. If your custom solution is not well documented that can be a big problem. If you code is not shared, peer-reviewed, or supported by anyone that could be an issue. If it makes sense to switch to commercial software that is supported then do it. If an OpenSource project or code is supported by a larger community perhaps that makes sense.

Lesson # 5. Improve. Grow. Get better.

Discovery and Documentation lead to suggestions for improvement. Make changes. Code and disparate systems that struggle to be documented make us think about how to replace them or better balance the risks vs cost.

Lesson # 6. Human problems don’t always tech solutions.

Code doesn’t fix broken workflows. Meetings are with people. Talking through systems helps people understand pain points. Don’t forget people want to do their job, meet deadlines, do stuff.

Let’s make their world and our world better.

Love not hate. Peace.

Documentation-MatX

MacDevOps Manifesto

I was explaining Munki (and autopkg) to some colleagues when I hit on the idea of the MacDevOps manifesto.

Munki and friends (apps used to augment and extend Munki) are helpful automation tools. Setting up automation systems take time and must be maintained and grown but they pay big dividends.  Freeing us to do Dev work or other tasks they automate and iterate and repeat and build our systems in the way we want.

No more 100 machines built in a hundred different ways (unless we want to). But now we can check at a glance in MunkiReport to verify that indeed the latest Adobe Flash patch is installed. That may make our lives better. Especially if we need to satisfy corporate IT or our bosses that we are up to date and patched as required.

The MacDevOps Manifesto Part 1: Munki and friends

Munki is at its core free software created by Greg Neagle at Disney Animation and used worldwide in many different ways but essentially to distribute apps and run scripts on client workstations. There are many ways to customize it and if fits many different workflows. The MacDevOps:YVR conference I ran last June turned out to be a Munki love-in and showed me the many awesome and varied ways organizations are using it.

With AutoPkg, another free Mac open source project, Munki can get the latest updates to any software that it has recipes for and by extension install them on clients immediately. This fits the workflow of having Flash, Java and web browsers (Chrome or FireFox) updated as soon as possible for security patches. Exploits on the Mac are coming from these entry points and if you need to use these apps or plugins then having the latest versions helps. For this feature alone I use Munki. In a few months you will see that Munki with AutoPkg has downloaded dozens of versions of each app and keeping up with this takes time away from other tasks. Automation of simple tasks frees up our time so we can focus on other things. That is MacDevOps.

I also use Munki for installation of any app that is needed everywhere. If I have to download or install one app for one client workstation I put it in Munki and it is ready for installation anywhere with a simple click by the user in a self service portal or automatically by choosing managed installs. Of course if there is an app you don’t want installed (flash or Skype or messenger, etc) add it to Munki and mark it as managed uninstall. Done.

Scripts and files and config Profiles (replacement for mcx, managed preference settings for OS X) can be imported and used to configure workstations to make deployment easy and flexible. Put everything in Munki and then you don’t have to use golden master builds anymore. Buy a new Mac and install the Munki client. Done.

Add to this Munki Report which gives an excellent dashboard for what is installed and a total inventory of your client Macs. Very useful info which will let you know if you 15 different versions of flash or Photoshop or any app you choose to look for.

Last but least I always install Watchman Monitoring which reports to a secure cloud (web portal) to automatically monitor for bad drives, Ram, backups not running etc. It’s a great 50ft overview of all your installs and it can alert you immediately when a machine is having issues that you need to deal with (drives 90% full or Xsan volume not mounted, etc).

I find this combination of Munki and Watchman great for helping me manage my clients and I want to share these ideas about MacDevOps inspired ways of automating systems with everyone. Jump in and get involved with all these projects. You’ll be writing recipes for AutoPkg and sharing cool Munki tips and tricks with all your friends. And maybe like me you will start writing plugins for Watchman to monitor your favourite apps (I’m working on Archiware P5 backup and archive monitoring scripts).

Good luck to everyone and hope to see you at the next MacDevOps:YVR conference in June 2016. If you can’t make it go to your nearest Mac Dev / IT conference or start your own meet up somewhere local.

MacDevOps:YVR

Date: June 19, 2015

http://www.macdevops.ca/

A new kind of conference for Mac IT professionals looking to get into DevOps. You’ll hear some about new automation tools, and get a chance to try new things in the computer lab. Join us! Registration limited to 75.

The cost is $99. Food is included on the day of the conference including a light breakfast and lunch. Register here.

Call for Submissions!

MacDevOpsYVR is seeking presenters from across the Pacific Northwest and beyond to participate in this one-day conference for all things Mac!

If you have an idea for a specific talk, workshop or panel related to deploying Macs in enterprise, corporate or educational environments, we want to hear from you.

> SUBMIT A PROPOSAL <

Deadline for Submissions: March 31, 2015.

Share your experience and join your peers at this one day, all day conference in beautiful Vancouver, BC.

Topics of Interest:

  • Puppet, Chef and other automation from Desktop to Cloud and back
  • Software deployment with Munki and AutoPkg: the app ecosystem surrounding it
  • Cool tools: demo of awesome Mac Admin projects from GitHub
  • DevOps: How to adopt Automation and Best practices in IT operations
  • Dev skills: workshops on Ruby, Git, Python, Javascript for Mac Admins
  • MDM: Profiles and Mac configuration management in the cloud