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Mavericks OS X Server in Schools

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Mavericks OS X Server in Schools

As new technology like iPad and Mac in the classroom grows, planning the best ways to manage and control it is well worth the time. One solution is for schools to look at using a Mavericks OS X Server.

Mavericks server ticks lots of boxes when considering a server in school, not the least of these being its ease of use and setup as well as its £13.99 price tag. This post is not a complete list of features and services provided by Mavericks server. I’ve just tried to highlight the main features that make it well worth considering in any school large or small.

1. Profile Manager

Top of the list is Profile Manager, improved again in Mavericks, it’s one of those Mac features that “just works”. An excellent and cost effective way of managing your iOS devices, Profile Manager simplifies deploying, configuring and managing Mac computers and iOS devices. It’s one place where you control everything: you can create profiles to set up user accounts for mail, calendar, contacts and messages; configure system settings; enforce restrictions; set PIN and password policies; and more… Profile Manager simplifies the distribution of education-licensed apps and books purchased through the App Store Volume Purchase Programme.

Profile Manager has three parts:

  • Profile Manager web tool
  • User Portal website
  • Mobile Device Management Server

2. Caching Server

Historically in Mac OS X Server the Software Update service has allowed us to selectively enable updates and determine which devices can use the server’s software update service. Caching Server takes this to another level. Caching Server not only supplies traditional software updates but also updates applications downloaded from the App Store and iTunes App Store. Caching these updates allows updates to be downloaded faster, which in turn conserves bandwidth. However, unlike Software Update service, Caching Server has no granular control. You have no control over what applications are stored. There are, however some advanced options available via terminal. Caching Service is still a nascent service and I’m sure that we’ll see updates to the service over the next months and years. For now you have the choice of Caching Server or Software Update.

3. Wiki and Blog services

A wiki is a collaborative web-based tool that allows users and groups to post information, projects or lessons in an easy to use way. Wikis are central to the idea of all users within a given group being able to post, edit, review and discuss material without interference from other groups, classes or departments. OS X Server wikis also keep a detailed history of a group’s posts, so you can retrieve older information if necessary.

Wikis are growing in popularity because they offer an easy, cross-platform method to share information. Wikis have only a few layers of access control. You can administratively control the users and groups you allow to create wikis. Once you create a wiki, you can specify who can read it and who can edit it, all without any intervention from an administrator.

Similar to wikis are blogs. Blogs permit users and groups to catalog their experiences surrounding a project or theme. Whereas wikis are collaborative, blogs tend to be singular in nature and organised in a chronological format; however, with group blogging, shared experiences may be posted together.

4. WebDAV Shares for iOS devices

WebDAV shares allow you to connect to folders from both OS X and iOS apps. Activated using the File Sharing service in the Server app, this is an extension of the file-sharing features in the client version of OS X with the inclusion of WebDAV support. After enabling the File Sharing service, the system creates a number of default share points, all of which can be edited as needed. WebDAV sharing is extremely simple to set-up and use.

Mavericks FIle Sharing

5. NetInstall

NetInstall allows client computers to start up using system software they access from a server instead of from their  local hard disk. Using standard or free 3rd party utilities you can set up standard systems to be deployed or just as the start up version for client computers.

The ability to deploy standard configurations across multiple computers makes NetInstall ideal for Classrooms and computer labs – The NetInstall service makes it easy to configure multiple identical desktop systems and repurpose them quickly. With the NetInstall service, you can reconfigure systems for a different class simply by restarting from a different image.

Netinstall

 

Want to know more about Mavericks?

Contact me Glynis Johnston, Training Manager using the form below, or call me on 0161 605 3838.

 

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