Chapter 3. Server Management Tools

Management tools can make or break an integrated server product, especially one from Apple. From user creation to the management of share points and services, the maintenance of a server can be quite onerous. Add to that the complexity and breadth of a product like Mac OS X Server—plus its wide feature set and audience, and the diversity of its deployment scenarios—and the outlook only becomes more daunting.

To help surmount this challenge, Apple provides a variety of graphical and command-line tools designed to simplify the deployment and management of Mac OS X Server. This chapter introduces and dissects those tools along with the underlying protocols and technologies that make them possible. Along the way, I’ll discuss best practices, security, logistical approaches appropriate for various deployed environments, and practical tips for day-to-day server management.


A warning about nearly all of Apple’s graphical management tools: most allow users to save the administrator’s password to the Keychain. This is surely convenient, but beware: it also makes the administrator’s machine a valuable target for malicious parties, particularly if that machine happens to be a laptop and if the administrator manages multiple servers. Even though Keychain itself is very secure, adding another link in the security chain necessarily also adds another feasible point of failure. If you do choose to make use of this feature, be sure to protect your Keychain ...

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