Mac admins have a brand new strategy to deploy macOS to their Apple gadgets with the Mac Deploy Stick.
I not too long ago reviewed the Mac Deploy Stick (MDS) after turning into conscious of its existence whereas trying to resolve an unrelated Mac situation that had crossed my desk. After getting in contact with Twocanoes CEO, Tim Perfitt, he supplied the rundown on how MDS fills within the hole left behind after current modifications had been made by Apple to successfully get rid of a tool’s functionality to WebBoot and within the supply mechanism of the firmware updates.
These two crucial keys rendered Mac admins with the power to automate the method used to distribute macOS to gadgets—new and previous. These modifications additionally introduced with them the specter that the one official strategy to deploy Apple gadgets can be by way of Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, a program aimed toward companies of all sizes, nevertheless, solely relevant to new bought instantly from Apple. This cuts out any current gadgets organizations might personal, in addition to these used as a part of a BYOD program.SEE: System replace coverage template obtain (Tech Pro Research)This brings us again to MDS, which “provides a fast way to initially provision a new Mac or wipe and restore an existing Mac with minimal administrator time,” in accordance with Perfitt. Additionally, “MDS uses the standard macOS installer so it installs macOS along with any required firmware updates.”
MDS shares the identical DNA as certainly one of Apple’s earlier mindsets in that, “it just works.” The utility, OS, and any functions and/or scripts you want to embrace in your provisioning workflow are all that is wanted to hit-the-ground-running and deploy your first Mac in minutes.
In this text, we’ll stroll by way of the steps to get the fundamentals arrange, however first, please evaluate the necessities in order that the method can happen as seamless as doable:Apple pc operating macOS 10.4 (or later) to function the executive workstationApple pc to function our take a look at gadgetMac Deploy Stick utility (put in on administrative workstation)macOS Mojave Installer (newest model) downloaded from the Mac App Retailer16GB USB Flash Drive (Optional; however required if creating exterior deployment quantity)File server or Web server (Optional; however required if created network-based deployment quantity)1st/Third-party Apple functions in flat-package (PKG) format (Optional)Bash scripts to configure settings (Optional)Switched Network (Optional; however required if connecting to network-based quantity)Configure MDS for macOS deploymentLaunch the MDS app on the executive workstation (Figure A).Figure A: The administrative workstation.The utility console ought to be freed from any content material, by default. However, clicking the “+” signal permits us to create our first workflow. The first tab, named Description, will present a title to the workflow and a short description of what the workflow accomplishes. Note: MDS permits for the creation of a number of workflows, so be happy to be as concise or granular as you would like (Figure B).Figure B: The Description tab will present a title to the workflow.For the needs of this information, we’ll create a easy workflow that erases the drive on an current Mac, installs macOS Mojave, and creates an admin account for us to handle the gadgets post-MDS.Click on the macOS tab and place a test subsequent to Install macOS. Next, click on the choose installer button to find the native copy of Install macOS Mojave.app. Finally, place a test subsequent to Erase and set up, since for this train we want to fully format the prevailing drive (Figure C).Figure C: Place a test subsequent to Erase and set up.The Resources tab holds three optionally available selections: Package & Apps: Where functions we want to set up will likely be situated; Scripts: Where bash scripts which might be to be run will likely be situated; And Profiles: Where custom-made profiles, .mobileconfig recordsdata with payloads will likely be situated—all for set up post-macOS (Figure D).Figure D: The Resources tab holds three optionally available selections.Note: If using these sources, it’s best to isolate every of those into their very own separate folders beneath a root listing for every class. From expertise, all scripts saved in a single folder will likely be bundled up as soon as MDS processes them and will likely be put in as one pkg file. Since MDS permits us the liberty to be as granular as doable, it’s far easier to check every element in isolation, after which embrace them as a part of an general grasp deployment workflow.Last, is the Options tab. Another optionally available choice, however for my part one which provides a welcome little bit of automation when provisioning a number of gadgets. In this tab, the primary portion titled Create User permits admins to standardize the creation of a consumer account—commonplace or administrator—that will likely be deployed to every gadget. Simply enter the complete and quick names of the account, a password, and the UID. Also, do not forget to test the field subsequent to Allow consumer to manage the pc in the event you want to create a neighborhood admin-level account (Figure E).Figure E: Check the field subsequent to Allow consumer to manage the pc in the event you want to create a neighborhood admin-level account.An further little bit of automation baked proper in is the power to skip the set-up screens upon first booting a newly put in Mac. By checking the containers for the screens you want to turn into hidden, these will get processed after macOS is put in and be skipped altogether throughout arrange (Figure F).Figure F: Check the containers for the screens you want to turn into hidden.Once all the mandatory modifications are made to your first workflow, click on the OK button to return to the primary display screen together with your newly custom-made workflow created. While the method is sort of achieved, the contents of the workflow must be copied to its last vacation spot.If selecting to provision gadgets over a USB drive, insert your USB drive now and click on on the Save to Volume… button. Locate the USB drive you want to use, and MDS will copy the contents to the USB drive. If wishing to deploy over the community, then click on the Save to Disk Image… button and MDS will copy the contents to a compressed DMG file and retailer it on the root of the listing of your selecting after offering the file a reputation and clicking the Save button (Figure G).Figure G: If wishing to deploy over the community, then click on the Save to Disk Image.Provisioning a Mac gadget (USB methodology)1. After the USB Flash Drive is populated with the MDS recordsdata, safely take away the gadget out of your administrative workstation and insert it into your take a look at Mac’s USB port.2. Boot the gadget to the restoration partition by holding down Command+R because it boots.3. After the restoration partition boots, choose Utilities | Terminal from the Toolbar to launch the Terminal utility and enter the next command to launch the MDS app:
/Volumes/mdsresources/run4. This will kick off ,Imagr, the applying used to pick out the workflows from. Make your choice from the drop-down menu, then click on on the Run Workflow button, and the method will execute as your workflow is designed.Provisioning a Mac gadget (Network-based methodology)1. After the Disk Image is created with the MDS recordsdata, it’s possible you’ll preserve the file there if that’s the location that has the right permissions to serve the file. If not, that you must create a shared folder or internet listing with the proper permissions to permit the file to be hosted earlier than continuing.2. On the take a look at Mac, boot the gadget to the restoration partition by holding down Command+R because it boots.3. After the restoration partition boots, choose Utilities | Terminal from the Toolbar to launch the Terminal utility and enter the next instructions to launch the MDS app. First, we’ll create a short lived listing to mount the DMG file to:
mkdir /tmp/mdsNext, we hook up with the server internet hosting our DMG file and mount it to the momentary folder:
smbfs_mount //[email protected]/sharename /tmp/mdsThird, we mount the DMG as a quantity:
hdiutil mount /tmp/mds/name_of_mds_diskimage.dmgLast, we kick off the Imagr app:
/Volumes/mdsresources/run4. Make your choice from the drop-down menu, then click on on the Run Workflow button, and the method will execute as your workflow is designed.Regardless of the deployment methodology chosen, all workflows with the macOS installer part configured will reboot routinely upon completion. Any further packages, scripts, and/or profiles chosen will set up routinely after macOS is put in as a post-install course of.One of the very best issues about MDS is its modular arrange, which permits admins the pliability so as to add (or not add) something to their workflows to get their gadgets prepared for the end-user, or hand it off to a administration suite or MDM to finish the final leg of configuration. At its core, mentioned Perfitt, “MDS works great in environments where you need to quickly set up Macs prior to deployment like labs, one-to-one environments, or have large software packages to install.”
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