Cooperative Lab Management: Mac OS X

Contents

Purpose

The CLM (Cooperative Lab Management) Mac program is designed to foster a uniform and scalable Macintosh lab environment across the university. It provides unit IT administrators with a common set of secure and flexible tools that leverage CLC's existing infrastructure saving you time and resources. The end result for your customers is a very familiar and usable environment to perform their work. The collaborative nature of CLM creates a constantly improving and adapting environment by sharing knowledge and resources between units.

Background

After a year and a half of pilot developments starting in Fall 2013, the CLM Mac program is now in full production! CLC had a stable base system with over 100 applications being deployed to over 1000 Macs across University Park and other Commonwealth campuses. Over the Fall semester, the CLM Mac build logged over 40,000 individual logins across all units.

Tools and Infrastructure

We fully support Mac OS X as one of the platforms for the Cooperative Lab Management program. The CLM Mac program utilizes most of the common tools used by the CLM Windows, as well as many internally written tools.  

Here are a few of the features that we currently support for OS X:

  • USB Build Key
  • Remote Rebuilds and Secure Wipe/Erase
  • Custom user management tools
    • Idle user automatic logout 
    • Custom user interfaces (Dock Icons, Application Defaults, etc.)
    • Deploy apps that write to themselves securely
  • Custom system management tools
    • Screen resolution configuration
    • Power management tools
    • Home folder expiration
    • Associate file extensions with any application
  • IP, Building, and Room Management with standard CLM tools
  • Shared software tasks with automated silent installation

Participating Areas

Benefits

  • Quickly build ready-for-use Macs with a single USB build key.
  • Modular management of installed software and system preferences.
  • Use of shared software deployment and configuration tasks with other units.
  • Community suggested tweaks for CLM Mac systems that benefit all units.

Cost

ITS does not charge participating units for this service, however there are some hardware and software costs:

Hardware

Administrative units at University Park can leverage CLC existing server infrastructure.

Campuses sometimes are required to have a single file server on their campus dedicated to the project.

A campus can sometimes leverage the Media Commons server, if there are no special license managers or no local print queue requirements.

The typical cost of such a server is normally $4,000 to $5,000 and the server typically has a 4-5 year life cycle. All server hardware must be under an current maintenance contract.

In some cases network improvements are needed to connect managed computers to the campus server(s).

Software

Each unit is responsible for all software licensing costs.

Sassafras KeyServer is an optional component that a unit can elect to use. For ease of administration, we run a central KeyServer for this purpose and coordinate the purchase of licenses and renewals. Keyserver is licensed per workstation and each license has a renewal cost per year. For more information about the cost of Sassafras KeyServer, please e-mail admin at win.psu.edu.

Limitations and Requirements

There are some limitations with this service that need to be considered by potential participants:

  • Hardware: Only certain models of computers are supported by the CLM Mac build key.
  • Networks: several requirements for networking the lab computers to the server will be provided when a campus begins discussions with us.
  • Applications not already used in CLC or CLM partners' labs can be installed, but it is the units responsibility to get the application installer to run silently and be deployed through BigFix.
  • Dual-booting is difficult to secure and as such is not supported.
  • We support Linux by the user using the CLC's Linux cluster. A graphical user interface to the Linux environment is available through VNC.
  • CLM machines are not for individual faculty and staff workstations.

Partners are required to:

  • Have their executive officer sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) defining responsibilities for CLC and the administrative unit.
  • Register all administrators with CLC.
  • Attend a SysMan (IEM a.k.a. TEM a.k.a. BigFix) bootcamp and be a TEM console operator (for full benefit).
  • Purchase all hardware and software (there is no charge for the services).
  • Provide or purchase a server, if needed, to host roaming profiles and be a BigFix relay.
  • Share application packages with other partners when feasible and legal.
  • Use the dedicated mailing list for discussions and reporting problems.
  • Visit the SharePoint Web site regularly to review documentation and announcements.

Further Information

Please visit the Cooperative Lab Management page to review further details about this exciting program.

Questions from potential partners about this program can be sent to us with this form.

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Last Updated November 17, 2014