How to configure Mac Deploy Stick to deploy macOS

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Mac admins have a brand new method to deploy macOS to their Apple units with the Mac Deploy Stick.

I just lately reviewed the Mac Deploy Stick (MDS) after turning into conscious of its existence whereas making an attempt to resolve an unrelated Mac problem that had crossed my desk. After getting in contact with Twocanoes CEO, Tim Perfitt, he offered the rundown on how MDS fills within the hole left behind after current adjustments have been made by Apple to successfully eradicate a tool’s functionality to NetBoot and within the supply mechanism of the firmware updates.

These two crucial keys rendered Mac admins with the flexibility to automate the method used to distribute macOS to units—new and outdated. These adjustments additionally introduced with them the specter that the one official method to deploy Apple units can be by way of Apple’s Gadget Enrollment Program, a program aimed toward companies of all sizes, nonetheless, solely relevant to new bought immediately from Apple. This cuts out any current units organizations could personal, in addition to these used as a part of a BYOD program.

SEE: System replace coverage template obtain (Tech Professional Analysis)

This brings us again to MDS, which “gives a quick method to initially provision a brand new Mac or wipe and restore an current Mac with minimal administrator time,” based on Perfitt. Moreover, “MDS makes use of the usual macOS installer so it installs macOS together with any required firmware updates.”

MDS shares the identical DNA as one in every of Apple’s earlier mindsets in that, “it simply works.” The applying, OS, and any purposes and/or scripts you want to embody in your provisioning workflow are all that is wanted to hit-the-ground-running and deploy your first Mac in minutes.

On this article, we’ll stroll by way of the steps to get the fundamentals arrange, however first, please assessment the necessities in order that the method can happen as seamless as potential:

  • Apple pc working macOS 10.four (or later) to function the executive workstation
  • Apple pc to function our take a look at gadget
  • Mac Deploy Stick software (put in on administrative workstation)
  • macOS Mojave Installer (newest model) downloaded from the Mac App Retailer
  • 16GB USB Flash Drive (Non-compulsory; however required if creating exterior deployment quantity)
  • File server or Internet server (Non-compulsory; however required if created network-based deployment quantity)
  • 1st/Third-party Apple purposes in flat-package (PKG) format (Non-compulsory)
  • Bash scripts to configure settings (Non-compulsory)
  • Switched Community (Non-compulsory; however required if connecting to network-based quantity)

Configure MDS for macOS deployment

Launch the MDS app on the executive workstation (Determine A).

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Determine A: The executive workstation.

The applying console ought to be freed from any content material, by default. Nevertheless, clicking the “+” signal permits us to create our first workflow. The primary tab, named Description, will present a title to the workflow and a quick description of what the workflow accomplishes. Notice: MDS permits for the creation of a number of workflows, so be at liberty to be as concise or granular as you want (Determine B).

201913-figure-b.jpg

Determine 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 units post-MDS.

Click on on the macOS tab and place a test subsequent to Set up macOS. Subsequent, click on the choose installer button to find the native copy of Set up macOS Mojave.app. Lastly, place a test subsequent to Erase and set up, since for this train we want to fully format the prevailing drive (Determine C).

201913-figure-c.jpg

Determine C: Place a test subsequent to Erase and set up.

The Assets tab holds three elective selections: Bundle & Apps: The place purposes we want to set up shall be situated; Scripts: The place bash scripts which are to be run shall be situated; And Profiles: The place custom-made profiles, .mobileconfig information with payloads shall be situated—all for set up post-macOS (Determine D).

201913-figure-d.jpg

Determine D: The Assets tab holds three elective selections.

Notice: If using these assets, 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 shall be bundled up as soon as MDS processes them and shall be put in as one pkg file. Since MDS permits us the liberty to be as granular as potential, it’s far easier to check every element in isolation, after which embody them as a part of an total grasp deployment workflow.

Final, is the Choices tab. One other elective choice, however in my view one which provides a welcome little bit of automation when provisioning a number of units. On this tab, the primary portion titled Create Person permits admins to standardize the creation of a consumer account—commonplace or administrator—that shall be deployed to every gadget. Merely enter the total and quick names of the account, a password, and the UID. Additionally, do not forget to test the field subsequent to Permit consumer to manage the pc for those who want to create an area admin-level account (Determine E).

201913-figure-e.jpg

Determine E: Test the field subsequent to Permit consumer to manage the pc for those who want to create an area admin-level account.

An extra little bit of automation baked proper in is the flexibility to skip the set-up screens upon first booting a newly put in Mac. By checking the bins for the screens you want to change into hidden, these will get processed after macOS is put in and be skipped altogether throughout arrange (Determine F).

201913-figure-f.jpg

Determine F: Test the bins for the screens you want to change into hidden.

As soon as all the required adjustments are made to your first workflow, click on the OK button to return to the principle display along with your newly custom-made workflow created. Whereas the method is nearly accomplished, the contents of the workflow must be copied to its remaining vacation spot.

If selecting to provision units over a USB drive, insert your USB drive now and click on on the Save to Quantity… button. Find 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 Picture… 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 (Determine G).

201913-figure-g.jpg

Determine G: If wishing to deploy over the community, then click on the Save to Disk Picture.

Provisioning a Mac gadget (USB technique)

1. After the USB Flash Drive is populated with the MDS information, 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.

three. After the restoration partition boots, choose Utilities | Terminal from the Toolbar to launch the Terminal software and enter the next command to launch the MDS app:


/Volumes/mdsresources/run

four. This can 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 (Community-based technique)

1. After the Disk Picture is created with the MDS information, you might preserve the file there if that’s the location that has the correct permissions to serve the file. If not, that you must create a shared folder or net 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.

three. After the restoration partition boots, choose Utilities | Terminal from the Toolbar to launch the Terminal software and enter the next instructions to launch the MDS app. First, we are going to create a brief listing to mount the DMG file to:


mkdir /tmp/mds

Subsequent, we connect with the server internet hosting our DMG file and mount it to the non permanent folder:


smbfs_mount //[email protected]/sharename /tmp/mds

Third, we mount the DMG as a quantity:


hdiutil mount /tmp/mds/name_of_mds_diskimage.dmg

Final, we kick off the Imagr app:


/Volumes/mdsresources/run

four. 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.

Whatever the deployment technique chosen, all workflows with the macOS installer section configured will reboot robotically upon completion. Any further packages, scripts, and/or profiles chosen will set up robotically after macOS is put in as a post-install course of.

Probably the greatest 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 units 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, stated Perfitt, “MDS works nice in environments the place that you must rapidly arrange Macs previous to deployment like labs, one-to-one environments, or have giant software program packages to put in.”

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