When new software appears, Mac admins need test boxes that match their standard configuration in order to verify that the new software doesn’t adversely affect anything in their environment. In the past, this has usually meant that admins needed to either have an available test box, or go find one when they needed to test something.
The advent of good virtualization solutions meant it was easier to build test boxes without needing additional hardware, but getting the VM to match your standard could take some time and effort.
In VMWare Fusion 5.x, VMWare added NetBoot support for virtual machines running Mac OS X. This proved to be an enormous boon to Mac admins who used NetBoot to help set up their machines: They could now build VMs using the exact same processes that were used to build their users’ Macs. They could also leverage tools like createOSXinstallPkg to set up template VMs with either the latest available OS X installer from the Mac App Store or custom builds of OS X that ship with new hardware.
See below the jump for an example of how you can leverage VMWare’s NetBoot support, createOSXinstallPkg and DeployStudio to set up a new Mac VM with a factory-fresh install of OS X Mountain Lion.
As a follow-up to Greg Neagle’s unveiling of createOSXinstallPkg, a installer package-based tool for deploying Mac OS X 10.7.x and 10.8.x, I wanted to do a sequel to my earlier post on installing OS X using DeployStudio. Using packages created by createOSXinstallPkg, you can use DeployStudio to do an automatic clean install of Mac OS X 10.7.x or 10.8.x and correctly create the Recovery HD partition. See below the jump for the procedure.
As previously described, you can use DeployStudio and InstallLion.pkg to clean install Mac OS X 10.7.x on a Mac. For those who need the same capabilities to install Mac OS X Server 10.7.x, you can use the same methodology to build a workflow that installs Mac OS X Server, assuming that you have access to a Mac Mini Server.
If you do have access to a Mini Server, you can download an InstallESD disk image using Apple Internet Recovery using the procedure described here at AFP548.com. The downloaded InstallESD.dmg will include all of the needed packages to install Mac OS X Server. Once you have that all-important disk image, see below the jump for the procedure.
One of the great advantages of using DeployStudio for building Macs is its flexibility. Another element of flexibility was added over the past few days, when the DeployStudio folks released DeployStudio rc132. Among the various entries in the release notes were these two for the DeployStudio Assistant application:
-live package install support in 10.7 NetBoot sets,
-improved support of python in 10.7 NetBoot sets.
If you put those two items together, you have the necessary support to install InstallLion.pkg on an erased or otherwise empty hard drive from a DeployStudio boot set running Mac OS X 10.7.x.
In other words, you can use DeployStudio to do an automatic clean install of Mac OS X 10.7.x and correctly create the Recovery HD partition. See below the jump for the procedure.
Gary Larizza updated his NetSUS appliance write-up earlier today, to include information on how to modify the NetSUS’s /var/www/webadmin/scripts/adminHelper.sh so that it can accommodate DeployStudio’s NetBoot sets.
Gary’s way is elegant and uses vim. Consider this the illustrated version that’s doing the same process the hard way with nano. See below the jump for the details.
Something I’ve personally wanted to be able to do with DeployStudio for a while now is do an OS upgrade. I’ve built a mostly-automated process for 10.5 -> 10.6 upgrades that leverages both NetInstall and DeployStudio, but having to switch between the NetInstall and DeployStudio set involves some manual work that I’ve been wanting to automate but wasn’t sure how.
Enter Greg Neagle’s InstallLionPkg, which allows you to create an installer package that does an unattended install of Mac OS X 10.7.x. As it’s an installer package (albeit a BIG one), you can deploy this with Munki, Casper, Absolute Manage, Apple Remote Desktop, DeployStudio, etc. You can even run it as a standalone installer.
I’ll spare you the delighted gibbering I started doing as soon as I started thinking of all the ways I could leverage this, and focus on how you can use this with DeployStudio. See below the jump for the details.
iLife 11 can be difficult to repackage for use with DeployStudio. There is a great article available here on the OS X Deployment and Management Wiki for how to do this, but you can also use the methodology referenced in this post to repackage iLife 11 for installation by DeployStudio. See below the jump for the procedure.
One of my goals for 10.7 has been to recreate how my 10.6.x workflows work as closely as possible, with images being created with InstaDMG and deployed with DeployStudio. 10.7′s introduction of the Recovery HD partition threw a monkey wrench into that. However, after some research, more testing and an international effort to discover an Apple-supported way to create a Recovery HD partition without actually installing 10.7 on a drive, I was able to come up with a way to do it. See below the jump for details.
One thing I was asked recently was to share how I’m using NetInstall and DeployStudio to (mostly) automate upgrading from 10.5.x to 10.6.x. I’ve written up the procedure I’m using at my own work place (with appropriate sanitization of work-specific details) and posted them here:
Where possible, I’ve posted the scripts on my GitHub repository and linked them to the procedure.
Update – PDF version available here