Changes in OS X Server 5.0 that will impact the enterprise

“It seems like only yesterday that we discussed the change log for OS X Server 4.1 (Yosemite) and how it addressed certain issues and fixes,” Jesus Vigo reports for TechRepublic. “And yet, here we are, only a week out from the imminent release of 10.11 — ‘El Capitan’ — that Apple has gifted us with Server 5.0.”

“The latest version, 5.0.4, made available through the Mac App Store, has been released prior to El Capitan as a free upgrade to anyone who purchased the previous version 4.0 (regularly $19.99),” Vigo reports. “But why would Apple release the Server app prior to the OS that it runs on, since it wouldn’t be compatible? ”

Vigo reports, “Read on to find the answer to this question and to look into some of the new features that come with this version of OS X Server.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: What’s New in Version 5.0.4:

• OS X Server 5.0 features a cleaner, more consistent user interface.
• OS X Server 5.0 is now operating system version independent. The same version of Server can be used on Mac computers running OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 and OS X El Capitan 10.11.
• OS X Server can perform network diagnostic tests to verify that your server is accessible from the Internet. New diagnostic tests include the ability to verify when specific websites are no longer reachable and when DNS MX records are incorrectly configured or missing.

Caching Server
• Caching Server can accelerate the download of iCloud data, including documents in iCloud Drive and photos. Enabling iCloud Acceleration reduces the amount of iCloud data that must be downloaded when users have multiple devices on the same network.

File Sharing
• iOS 9 users can easily access and store documents on OS X Server. Once a share point is created, it can be shared to iOS devices and made available using traditional file sharing protocols such as SMB and AFP. This allows users to open, edit and save documents from both iOS 9 and OS X 10.11.

Profile Manager
• Profile Manager supports new MDM commands and queries as well as Configuration Profile payloads and settings introduced in iOS 9 and OS X 10.11.

iOS and OS X
• Device-based Volume Purchase Program (VPP) app assignment: Assign VPP apps to devices instead of a user’s Apple ID. This allows for the installation of VPP apps on iOS devices and Mac computers without configuring an Apple ID or sending an invitation.
• VPP Managed Distribution migration: Migrate apps already installed on a device from assignment to a user’s Apple ID to assignment to that device without deleting the app or user data.
• App installation improvements: App Store apps can be installed even if the App Store is disabled. This includes newly assigned apps and app updates.

iOS 9
• Single Sign-On: Apps configured to use Kerberos will automatically launch per-app VPN when a user logs in to that app.
• Skip steps in Setup Assistant: Devices enrolled in the Device Enrollment Program (DEP) can be configured to remove the new Move from Android option from the Setup pane in Setup Assistant.
• Update to latest iOS: Update DEP-enrolled supervised devices to the latest iOS.
• Network usage rules: Network usage rules allow organizations to specify how managed apps use networks, such as cellular data networks; for example, restricting the app’s ability to connect over cellular or when roaming on other networks. These rules apply only to managed apps.
• New device restrictions: Prevent Mail Drop; prevent trusting new enterprise app authors; prevent the use of AirDrop when the app is managed.
• New restrictions for supervised devices: Prevent changing the wallpaper; prevent changing the device name; prevent enabling iCloud Photo Library; prevent keyboard shortcuts; prevent pairing with Apple Watch; prevent setting a passcode.
• OS X Server accounts can be added in the Mail, Contacts and Calendars section of the Settings application in iOS 9.

OS X El Capitan
• Create a standard account or skip account setup during DEP enrollment: Configure OS X Setup Assistant to create a new standard (non-admin) account or skip account creation entirely during DEP enrollment.
• Hidden administrator account: Automatically create an administrator account during initial system setup. The presence of this account can be hidden from standard users.
• New MDM commands: Install Software Update on DEP-enrolled Mac Computers; Get Active Managed Users.
• New restrictions: Prevent the use of iCloud documents and data; prevent Spotlight suggestions; prevent use of iSight camera; prevent sending diagnostic data to Apple; prevent dictionary lookup.

11 Comments

  1. I forked over 19.99 for OSX server just for a single feature; that being the ability to up date all my families iPhones by downloading the update file just once an using that download for all the iPhones.

    During installation of the server software I set it up to enable that option.

    What a fool I was. It still downloads the software over and over again for each iPhone I try to update. So far it’s been a total waste of $19.99.

      1. So the article that accompanied it on MDN was called ……HOW TO AVOID DOWLOADING APPLE SW UPDATE FILES FOR EACH DEVICE…..

        Or something like that.

        I think you are doing it wrong.

      2. Straight from the horses mouth:

        https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204675
        and
        http://help.apple.com/serverapp/mac/4.0/#/apd74DDE89F-08D2-4E0A-A5CD-155E345EFB83

        What is Caching service?
        The caching server speeds up the download of software distributed by Apple through the Internet. It caches all software updates, App Store purchases, iBook downloads, iTunes U downloads (apps and books purchases only), and Internet Recovery software that local Mac and iOS devices download.

  2. Too bad we didn’t have server grade hardware to run it!! Or allow us to virtualize it on server hardware like everyone else in the industry can! Apple makes no sense here!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more here! The server has to be on Apple (ie non-rack mountable) hardware, it must contain a full GUI even if headless, and doesn’t seem intended for virtualisation.

      With these weird differences, I find it difficult to work out what Apple is trying to achieve with Server.

      OS X server needs a virtualisation mode that has a minimal GUI (like Recovery) that allows for some on-board configuration with the rest of the work being done via Server.app on another Mac. Get this right and you’ll see OS X sitting alongside Windows and Linux in the data centre.

    2. Absolutely true. You have your choice of an underpowered Mac Mini, or a massively overpowered Mac Pro. Neither of them have adequate internal storage options, so you’re going to need a 3rd party RAID too.

      Some time after Snow Leopard, some faction inside Apple decided OS X Server would be a toy.

  3. Server 5.0.xxx is a disaster. I use Mac MIni’s as web servers and the recent upgrade has introduced an Apache proxy service that breaks everything I’ve written in the last 20 years. Log files (that Apple doesn’t rotate) have moved, breaking maintenance scripts. There are no options to avoid the proxy server (which breaks php security functions). The logs are useless as everything is now from 127.0.0.1, so Intrusion Prevention System is broken. Unfortunately, there’s no going back. So I have three bricks deployed. Think I’ll use Virtual Box to set up Ubuntu servers so I can regain control of my hardware. Which I’d known Apple was going to cost me $20K before I upgraded…

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