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    pixellip's Avatar
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    Macs on a Windows domain ( another question!)

    Hi everyone

    I’ve got some advice to ask concerning buying a mac server. I am at a crossroads wondering what to do. Install Bootcamp on them. yes yes !

    We have 11 Snow Leopard Imacs here and I’ve joined them to our windows AD domain. For some reason the login button keeps disappearing (that is the button called ‘Other’ which is present on the login screen that let’s you log into the network). In the end after not being able to solve this issue and it holding people up I had to rever to adding some local users to the macs instead. It make me wonder if AD implementation in OS X is a bit flaky?

    Also Iphoto doesn’t seem to want to play with windows and shares and likes the data to be installed locally on the mac so here I hit my first bump ( at least Apple told me this) . Everyone wants to use Iphoto and this is an issue logging onto the windows AD.

    Thirdly the few Mountain Lion macs I bought will not let me browse to them via my Windows 7 pc ( via Samba ). This means at the moment I can’t back them up from my pc with my automated Windows 7 software. I asked Apple but had no response. I think there are a few people having issues with Samba on Mountain Lion.

    After all these problems and frustration ( and not to mention trying to get Carbon Copy Cloner to back up on each Imac to a share on the windows network and also running into problems) I am pondering whether it would be worth buying a mac mini and trying to set up a mac server and work out how to get the users across from AD into the mac mini. Or do I persevere with Macs and our AD domain? I have no experience of this and wonder where to put my eggs……

    I would prefer to ditch the macs altogether – it is hard trying to convince people this is the way to go. They want their macs…..so be it.

    Anyway I’d be interested to hear some people’s thoughts on what they think would be the best solution. Buying another server means more admin for IT and it’s possibly less centralised admin ( 15 macs are not that difficult to manage but it’s an extra thing to do - plus you have the backup issue).
    The question is whether I buy storage and persevere with our Windows AD domain or plump to a buy a mac mini server. I am not sure what will be the best move so any opinions are much appreciated.

    We have about (So far) 250 kids wanting to use the macs – 20 at a time – and 1 gig of storage each. This could grown in time……but for now that’s the sort of space / amount of users – not very many. All they do is Photoshop and Iphoto.

    It seems folks on here have the same frustrations running Macs on a windows network does it not?

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    Carter's Avatar
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    You are better off to use the username and password field which will let you use AD or local accounts. If you have a user icon you can option click the icon and it will give you the user/password fields.


    As for iPhoto I don't understand. Why would iPhoto have an issue. Are you trying to run the iPhoto database from the AD shares? Why not locally. I would not run this database from an AD share.


    As for browsing from a Windows 7 domain computer I haven't had any issues.


    Having a MacMini will not help. If you are running a Windows AD environment I would stay with it. You can still get a MacMini and run OD but I would still use AD for login if the directory system is already in place with your users.


    Personally when I'm approached here at the college about Windows on a Mac the first thing I tell them is .... sorry I do not support it. If a user wants Windows BootCamp it's up to them. If there are issues I will just install a new Mac OS image. We have no reason for a person to use Windows on a Mac. We have plenty of PC's if they need Windows and there are so little applications now a days that is Windows only.

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    kirchie's Avatar
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    I'll second that Carter said, it's also a bit more secure if a user has to type the UN/PW in everytime.
    We've got a AD/OD set up in our school that's controlled by a Mac mini. When it's working, it's brilliant, requires very little interaction on my part. The kids get access to all their windows docs etc, and the Mac mini controls access and the like.
    Since there are no docs on the iMacs themselves, I don't have them backing up anywhere. I've just got a HDD with a clean install of OSX 10.6 that I can use to rebuild the iMac should it go belly up, and I use Time Machine to make backups of the Mac mini.
    I did consider boot camping the iMacs too, but in the end I decided against it, it would just have been another thing to support when we get the call saying "I don't know how to get it into Windows/OSX".
    I can also sympathise with wanting to do away with the damn things altogether as well. But because they've got that Apple logo on people get very attached to them...

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    pixellip's Avatar
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    Thanks for chiming in everyone. I might not be explaining things correctly. Currently the users do have to type in their AD windows username and password on the macs - they first click the button 'Other' then they log in with their AD username and password. Issues are, they want to use Iphoto. Where should they be storing this file?

    I could ask why bother to buy a mac mini server when they can already login to the domain using the windows domain controllers?

    If I were to buy a mac mini server and join it domain is there much work to be done on it in terms of setting up users? I read on the blurb Mountain Lion integrates with Active Directory really well.

    You are not storing work on your mac mini server so the mac mini is serving what purpose? To control logins and desktops e.t.c? Sorry I'm just trying to get a feel for what I should do ( it sounds like I need to buy one!). Thanks for your advice, very useful.
    Mike

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    kirchie's Avatar
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    Ahh I see what you mean now with the logon thingy. I think if you change the selection in "display logon window as:" (system preferences ->users and groups ->login options) from list of users to name and password, that should remove the need to click "other" when the students log in. If you want to of course.
    When you say iPhoto likes data to be stored on the Mac, do you mean the pictures it's creating? And do the students get their network drives mapped on the mac?
    I use the Mac mini to control what the students can or can't do whilst logged in to a Mac (programmes, internet access, media access etc.). It also does things like map their Windows home folder to the Mac's document folder, so for example, when the user logs in, the "documents" folder is mapped to a "documents" folder on their network drive. As far as AD/OD integration goes, I went in not knowing a thing about OSX and managed to cobble something together from places like this forum and other guides on the internet. Thing I found was that once I'd managed to get it working, I'd look back and think "well that was actually quite easy!".

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    pixellip's Avatar
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    Thanks Kirchie! I am finally getting somewhere. I can try that suggestion now - good stuff.

    Iphoto contains a library - it's one big file ( like a zip file ). It contains the structure and the pictures. Apple have advised me not to store this on the windows shares, due to the fact it can corrupt ( possibly ) as you are saving over a network to this potentially big file. So I ask myself, should it be stored locally, on the mac mini server, or somewhere else?

    I am wondering what happens when you use Iphoto with a mac mini server and a windows domain - does the Iphoto file get written to the mac mini and stored there or their 'My Pictures' in their windows home folder....hmm.....

    So all the work of theirs in your school bascially sits on the windows server......well that's the way to go isn't it......

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    kirchie's Avatar
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    Yes, that's it. Like I said, it negates the need to have to back up individual iMacs, and it also means that all of their data is accessible from any Mac, not the one they were using originally.
    Regarding the iPhoto issue, I'll boot up my MacBook and see what that does when I launch iPhoto and let you know.

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    pixellip's Avatar
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    Hey Carter thanks for your advice as well.....I understand what you mean now ( with the login thing ). It's a massive step forward.
    The big question for me is Iphoto now and where it stores it's files on a windows network ( it's Art that use the macs of course).

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    kirchie's Avatar
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    Figures that it's art using your Macs, it's the same here :P
    I've had a look at where iPhoto stores files and attached a screen shot of a student's folder. It appears that it does indeed create some files and folders in the user's documents, they look like references to where they're stored, a bit like what iTunes makes on a Windows computer. However, touch wood, even though they're stored on a server, we've never had a student complain about lost or corrupted work, and I've been responsible for the Macs for just over a year now. From what I've gathered off the art teacher, the students use iPhoto to manage their pictures, then do editing and what have you with Photoshop.

    SS1.png

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    pixellip's Avatar
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    I am really curious about this Iphoto thing now. When I try to open Iphoto on a mac that has been logged into our domain , I get the error : The library could not be opened because the file system of the library is unsupported. So Iphoto cannot be setup on an NTFS drive (i.e that being his windows user area). I wonder where your Iphoto stuff is being stored. On the Mac Mini?
    I found this post from someone else.....
    iPhoto does not support working with a library over network protocols e.g. CIFS, AFP. This is as true for iPhoto '09 as it is for iPhoto '11. Apple probably added a check into iPhoto '11 due to receiving complaints from users who found iPhoto didn't work over network protocols.

    It's looking like if I want to use Iphoto and a windows domain I need to purchase a mac mini server. Blimmin' Iphoto!

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    morganw's Avatar
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    iPhoto will work with AFP shared home folders, that is what you will be using if you buy a Mac Mini for network storage. The easiest solution is to use local home folders, but still authenticate to Active Directory. This will only work if people always use the same computers though, and you need a way to backup the data.

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    Hi

    ". . . Apple probably added a check into iPhoto '11 due to receiving complaints from users who found iPhoto didn't work over network protocols . . ."

    I can't say for certain but I don't believe this is true. As already pointed out earlier in the thread, iPhoto (as it exists now) has a monolithic slab of a database that contains images. If one image is modified or changed the whole of the database is written across the network. This can cause major problems if multiple users with large iPhoto libraries are doing this regularly. This was not the case in earlier versions.

    This assumes you want or need to use iPhoto. Ultimately you do have a choice. You can choose not to use it and simply store images in the Pictures folder in a similar way to the My Pictures folder on Windows. There are plenty of free/paid for apps you can use to view and/or edit these images. You could consider the Apple's other offering, Aperture.

    iPhoto can be made to work in a network environment by simply redirecting the Pictures folder to a temporary location (a cache) on the local drive for a user login session only. The cache is then flushed on successful log out. I've a feeling you may be able to achieve this using a GPO redirection policy. The share containing user homes exists on the DC after all. It's worth a try don't you think?

    One of the many reasons why OS X Server (you do know you can install OS X Server on any qualifying mac hardware don't you?) is useful in a mac integrated AD environment, is because you can apply a platform compatible redirection policy using the built-in MCX redirector found in /System/Library/CoreServices.

    Remember OS X Server costs approx £20. For that amount it's worth not having the hassle of yet another trip into GPMC.

    HTH?

    Antonio Rocco (ACSA)

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    kirchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixellip View Post
    I wonder where your Iphoto stuff is being stored. On the Mac Mini?
    It's all stored on a Windows based storage area. I guess it's also worth mentioning that the iMac that we have a the mid 2009 model, so probably have quite an old version of iPhoto, although they are all running Lion now

    I really don't envy your predicament at the moment

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    iPhoto will only run from a HFS+ formatted drive/share. This is why you receive the "The library could not be opened because the file system of the library is unsupported" message. We have no problems with it running over a network.



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