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Archive for April 23, 2014

CasperCheck – an auto-repair process for Casper agents

April 23, 2014 37 comments

One of the issues that I occasionally run into in my shop is that sometimes the Casper agent on individual Macs stops working properly. They stop checking in with the Casper server, or check in but can’t run policies anymore. I’ve set up smart groups on my Casper server to help me identify these machines, but actually fixing them has not been an automated process.

While at the JAMF Nation User Conference in October 2013, I was fortunate enough to hear Mike Dodge and Ajay Chand talk about the challenges they faced at Facebook with keeping Casper agents working in an environment where users are encouraged to break down any obstacle that gets in their way (sometimes, the obstacles in question were perceived to include the Casper agent.) As part of their talk, they mentioned they had a scripted way to verify that the Casper agent was running properly and automatically fix it if it wasn’t. This was a capability that I wanted to include in my own environment, so I asked them if this was going to be available at some point. They said it would be, so I waited to see what would be released.

At this point, the story fast forwards to March 2014, where the Facebook team was able to release their code to GitHub and I was able to take a look and see what they had done. I saw that I could adapt some of their work, but I would need to do additional work on my end to develop a solution that not only worked in my environment, but would be relatively straightforward to adapt to work in others’.

After a lot of work and testing, I’m happy to announce the release of CasperCheck. This is a script-driven solution that will do the following:

A. Check to see if a Casper-managed Mac’s network connection is live

B. If the network is working, check to see if the machine is on a network where the Mac’s Casper JSS is accessible.

C. If both of the conditions above are true, check to see if the Casper agent on the machine can contact the JSS and run a policy.

D. If the Casper agent on the machine cannot run a policy, the appropriate functions run and repair the Casper agent on the machine.

For more details, see below the jump.

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