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Mac Thread, About to throw macs through the window! in Technical; We've got a room of 10 macs, connect to AD and an XServe. They authenticate to the XServe for machine ...
  1. #1

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    About to throw macs through the window!

    We've got a room of 10 macs, connect to AD and an XServe. They authenticate to the XServe for machine policy and use policy and the AD server for user authentication.

    All works fine, users login, get their policy etc and so on.

    However, the damn things 'hang' worse than Windows 95 machines! Everything I do results in the stupid spinning wheel - and after several minutes waiting I just pull the plug and reboot. Could be anything, viewing a document, printing an image, surfing the web - just randomly hangs.

    I can't believe this is normal behaviour - they're practically unusable in this state.

    I've also noticed it takes a long time for the users 'Home' and 'My Applications' icons in the dock to actually do anything. It takes several minutes after the desktop has appeared for them to be 'active' (i.e they open up when clicked)

    Any ideas as to where I'm going wrong with this? They're on our network and the authentication side seems to work ok? (apart from it usually takes 2-3 attempts to logon as a network user if the mac has gone to sleep)

    Very frustrating!

  2. #2
    Marci's Avatar
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    Something definitely wrong there, but far more detail required...

    What version of OSX are the clients running?
    What version of OSXServer is the server running?
    What version of AD Domain are you running?
    How is your DNS set up across the network?

    Apart from that, first thing I'd suggest is swipe one and move it into your office for a week so you can get your head round what's going on in comfortable surroundings.

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    We have nearly the same issues. Macbooks joined in a magic triangle that will beachball on any little task you do. I have two carts with 30 laptops each. Nobody has complained about it yet, but I see it everytime I work on one.

    The Macbooks are mid 2010 models running 10.6.3-10.6.5.
    Xserve is running 10.6.5
    The Windows side of things is all Windows Server 2003(for now). DNS is run off our DC.

    I had a beachballer in my office for a day and went through log after log, setting after setting. The only thing I didn't do was wipe the drive and and not join it to OD or AD. I did rule out hardware failure as the Apple Diagnostics come back with no issues whatsoever.
    Last edited by stevehp; 22nd November 2010 at 09:13 PM.

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    Same here, 2010 model 10.6.5 clients and 10.6.5 server - all bought at the same time. DNS is on our 2003/2008 Servers and works fine across everything else using AD (Windows and Linux PCs). The DNS servers are dished out by DHCP and the Macs are all getting IP addresses and DNS settings ok - resolution of addresses also is working ok.

    I suspected Sophos as a culprit, but disabling that made no difference. I also wasn't sure whether I had the magic triangle set correctly. In the directory utility I set the client's search order to OD and then AD - any other way means the Mac clients don't pick up computer preferences. Seems to work fine though, AD clients can login and get their OD preferences and the Macs are getting their machine preferences.

    Problem is when the damn beach ball appears, I can't start the process manager or a terminal window to see if anything is hogging the CPU!

    It also seems to be highly random. It happens 30 seconds after login, or 5 minutes. It can be when using Finder, or any application or utility. Once its hung it may come back after 5 minutes or so, or sometimes is completely frozen!

    Whats most frustrating is these are fairly fresh machines, not much on them and haven't been 'tinkered' with much at all! Apart from basic Office/Sophos/Photoshop installs they're as they came.

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    HallX's Avatar
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    Hi guys

    Are reverse DNS lookups working OK, I've found Mac's can get really grizzly if they arn't.

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    Forward and reverse lookups seem to be fine - resolving by IP or hostname works as expected.

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    Seconded the reverse lookups.

    I recently went on the Apple Directory Services course and our instructor told us that the three most common causes of problems with networked Macs are DNS, DNS and DNS. Macs require forward and reverse DNS lookups for all machines to work properly, otherwise things won't run smoothly.

    The problem with integrating Macs into Windows environments is that Windows is far more forgiving towards bad DNS - it can cope a lot better without proper reverse DNS records. Drop a Mac in the equation though, and you're gonna have trouble.

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    dayzd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenWonder View Post
    Forward and reverse lookups seem to be fine - resolving by IP or hostname works as expected.
    Have you tried with the 'dig' command in terminal?
    I don't remember the exact details why (possibly something to do with host files and hostname caches etc), but our instructor recommended we test with that.

    Code:
    dig hostname
    - returns IP
    Code:
    dig -x 192.168.1.1
    - returns hostname (in the 'ANSWER SECTION')

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    We used to get similar problems to this. The senior engineer here couldn't work it out and got Toucan, our Mac suppliers/support guys in to have a look. After much scratching of heads and pouring over log files, it turns out that all of our macs were looking for a host called Barcelona and when they couldn't find it, they hung for ages and behaved pretty much how you describe up there.

    The Toucan guy set up a cName called Barcelona in our DNS which pointed at our xServe and that particular problem vanished. I don't know if it'll work for you but it may be worth a try?

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    Not only do you need to make sure that forward and reverse dns records are working correctly, you also need to make sure that forwarded dns queries are correct as well. I found that even though the forwarded address could resolve Internet names, when using it for our internal networked macs everything just seemed slow all the time. Changing the adress from our routers address to a proper forwarding dns server resolved our issue in an instant.

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    I've been looking on an off at this issue for the past few days, and the only success I've had was to hardwire a Macbook up to a switch that is on the same vlan as our Xserve and the Windows servers. Once connected to it the beachball all but disappears. Things like iMovie that would sit and spin for ages either hardwired or wireless would open up and be ready in seconds when I plugged it into the switch. What that means, I really don't know.
    Last edited by stevehp; 1st December 2010 at 09:27 PM.

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    Marci's Avatar
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    To avoid anyone mucking up DNS records having an impact on the Macs, I imaged all ours with hosts files covering all the servers they'd need with all permutations of DNS and IP etc.
    Not to say our DNS records get mucked up frequently, I'd just rather be safe than sorry...! (eg: If our DNS server goes down, Macs will continue to function regardless)

  13. 3 Thanks to Marci:

    buzzard (2nd December 2010), dayzd (2nd December 2010), HodgeHi (2nd December 2010)

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    Interesting way of doing things. Also when the hosts file needs updating you could push a new one out via ARD.

    Also i don't know much about how VLANS work but it does sound like DNS isn't working as it should causing the issue you see. maybe a tcpdump on a client would reveal more?

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    buzzard's Avatar
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    I'm liking the hosts file, I agree an interesting way of doing things... (starts doing a hosts file)

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    Marci's Avatar
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    Would it upset folks dramatically if I told them that I've also done this for all our Windows machines too? All machines pick up a hosts file at startup that's dished out by our webserver. I can turn our DNS server off if I want and you don't really notice it, other than clients not being able to find other clients (and the 10 less critical servers that aren't in the hosts file), but they can always reach the main servers. If there's a change, I just update the hosts file on the webserver and it's picked up on next reboot.

    Strictly speaking, this is generally frowned upon as an amateur fudge for not being arsed to sort DNS properly, however, if one knows ones DNS is 100% peachy, then it simply adds another level of redundancy to the system.

    I've been doing it on the Macs since we got them, on OSX 10.5... but it would also partially explain why our 10.6 machines never seemed to suffer the AD binding issues that many other early adopters saw...
    Last edited by Marci; 2nd December 2010 at 12:28 PM.

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