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How to build the perfect OS X Image for stability.

I am a windows network guy that has been tasked with creating the perfect Mac image for deployment. This image is going to be using Open Directory to connect to Active Directory for authentication. One of my main questions is it better to leave the image blank with just the basic OS X junk then install all the 3rd party software off that image? Or do I install all the 3rd party stuff on with the image?  Any advice on the best route to take on this journey would be  much appreciated. My main goal is stability of the image.
1 Solution
Mac imaging. You've come to the right place. My personal approach, which has worked very well for deploying hundreds of clone systems:

-- Install OS X and all updates
-- Install all software
-- Configure 'temp' user account as I want the default user environment to appear
-- Copy the 'temp' user folder to the User Template/English.lproj folder
-- Set login hook to the ad-bind-login-tiger.sh script from Bombich.com (http://www.bombich.com/mactips/files/scripts/ad-bind-login-tiger.sh) - once configured, this will bind your machine to your AD for authentication
-- Dump image using NetRestore Helper (http://www.bombich.com/software/netrestore.html)
-- Create/Configure NetInstall set using NetRestore Helper
-- Add the NetInstall set to my OS X NetBoot server
-- Add name-table information to the NetInstall.dmg to permit naming of machines automatically at time of imaging
-- Deploy the finished clients and Go Crazy.

See Mike Bombich's workshop on deploying cloned OS X systems (http://www.bombich.com/mactips/workshop.html)

My experiences with this method have always been positive, and the images produced have been stable. The creation of the image should be done using the install disc that came with the most recently released piece of hardware you have, to insure compatibility with all available hardware. The images made this way can be used on any Mac of the same processor type, with the exception of the Santa Rosa MacBook Pros and the new Metallic iMacs - those both require their own separate image.

Also - they way you described your OD/AD setup is a little fuzzy. The client Macs must be bound directly to AD to get AD logins - they can't be part of an OD, and rely on the OD server to turn to AD to process AD logins. OD is a wonderful tool to manage the workstation environment, but if you're stacking on top of an AD setup, both the server and the clients need to be bound to AD (hence the bind-to-AD login script above).

How do you think all of this will fit your environment? Is there anything you're still curious about that I haven't touched on?

For information from an authority of an unmatched level, visit Mike Bombich's page at http://www.bombich.com. To give you a bit of perspective on Mike, he wrote the NetRestore software that drives deployment of OS X systems in (I'm venturing an educated guess) the near majority of mass-Mac environments. Second to none.
RockcreektaylorAuthor Commented:
Gave me a great overview on everything that i needed to know. How i am going to work the OD and AD stuff is even fuzzy to me! Ha. I just have to make it happen. I was going to bind the computer to AD and let it be done like that but i think putting up OD will help out in the long run. Thanks for all your help. I

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