The Adventures of Systems Boy!

Confessions of a Mac SysAdmin...

Three Platforms, One Server Part 5: Away We Go!

So it's the last week during which students have access to the lab, and that means I can finally implement my plan to unify internal network user authentication. Finally! I'm so jazzed. I've been waiting for months (well, years, really) for the chance to do this, and it's here at last.

The general outline of what I'll be doing over the next few days goes something like this:
  • Backup my current Mac server (for safety)
  • Build my master authentication server
  • Backup a clone of the clean server install
  • Configure the new server with:
    • Users and Groups
    • Home account automounting
    • Home account sharing to SMB (for Windows Roaming Profiles)
    • A skel account for Windows users (to live on the home account server)
    • Other share points
  • Create a replica of the new master server

What I did today:
Well, it's amazing how long a base install of Tiger Server can take. I've pretty much been doing that all day. Not that I'm so incompetent that I can't install the software in seconds flat, but software updates take forever and a day. Planning and getting drives to do all this on was a bit of an effort too. Plus I just wanted to make sure I did it right the first time, so I went slow, gave myself the day. I'm also making clones of everything along the way, for building my replica, and in case I goof and need to start over. So that takes a while. I guess I'm just saying that I'm taking my time with this, 'cause I want it to be as perfect as possible from the get-go.

By Monday we should have:
  • A base install of Tiger Server 10.4.6 with requisite Software Updates on a firewire drive
  • A backup of our old Mac Server
  • A new Tiger 10.4.6 authentication server that's configured to host Mac, Windows and Linux users
  • A replica of same

We will spend part of next week pointing all our workstations at the new server. The Windows machines will be the biggest pain as 1) they are running Windows, and 2) they need local quotas set (which could really be just a subset of point 1, but whatever). The reason for all this quota nonsense, you ask? Well, for the answer, you'll just have to read the previous posts on the matter. Suffice to say, I'm hoping the quota setting nonsense will be the worst part of this job, which it should if all goes according to plan, which, I'm sure you're aware, it rarely does.

Finally, I wanted to mention this quote that I read on Daring Fireball, by someone called John Gall, author of Systemantics, as it really jives with a lot of the stuff I've been thinking about with regards to the lab:

“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked….A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.”
— John Gall

Next week should be interesting. I'll keep you posted.

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