There are also some third-party tools that perform image-creation and deployment tasks.
These include:
Carbon Copy Cloner (Mike Bombich Software)
NetRestore (Mike Bombich Software)
Radmind (University of Michigan)
With the advantage of these and other deployment software tools, you can build an auto-
mated system that needs very little user interaction to function. This lesson will focus pri-
marily on the NetBoot service provided by Mac OS X Server.
Creating NetBoot images can be a lengthy process, but most of it is just waiting for the
image to be processed. Because this lesson includes creation of two images, you may wish
to split this lesson over a couple days or over a dinner break at either of the two image
creation steps.
Deployment Issues
One significant challenge for Mac OS X administrators today is the deployment of soft-
ware to multiple computers. Whether it is operating system (OS) releases and updates or
commercial applications, installing the software manually is a labor-intensive process. Mac
OS X Server provides services and technologies to aid in this deployment. NetBoot and
Network Install simplify OS rollout and upgrades.
Managing Computers with NetBoot
Think about the ways you boot your computer. Most often, your computer starts up from
system software located on the local hard drive. This local startup provides you with a typical
computer experience of running applications, accessing information, and accomplishing
tasks. Sometimes when you perform OS installations or system upgrades, you need to boot
from a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM disc.
Managing a single standalone computer isn’t much of an inconvenience. However, imagine
managing a lab of computers. Every time you need to upgrade the operating system or
install a clean version of Mac OS X, you would need to boot each computer in the lab from
the installation CD or DVD disc. Even with a set of installation discs for each computer, it
would still be time-consuming to update or refresh the entire lab.
404 Implementing Deployment Solutions
Mac OS X Server provides a service called NetBoot, which simplifies the management of
operating systems on multiple computers. With NetBoot, client computers start up using
system software that they access from a server instead of from the client’s local hard drive.
With NetBoot, the client obtains information from a remote location. With other startup
methods, the client is booting off a local source, such as the internal hard drive, DVD, or
other device.
NetBoot is most effective in situations where there is a high frequency of user turnover and
where a large number of computers are being deployed with a common configuration. The
ability to deploy standard configurations across multiple computers makes NetBoot ideal
for computing environments such as:
Classrooms and computer labs: NetBoot makes it easy to configure multiple identical
desktop systems and repurpose them quickly. With NetBoot, you can reconfigure sys-
tems for a different class simply by restarting from a different image.
Corporate workstations: Using NetBoot to install system software allows you to reim-
age, deploy, and update workstations very quickly by not having to use a DVD to load
each workstation individually. Also, because installation is done over the network, it
Managing Computers with NetBoot 405

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