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Mac Thread, Networking iMacs with Lion - what is recommended? in Technical; We have 250+ iMacs and one Lion server freshly installed. Running Lion server. The network Manager has networked us using ...
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    Networking iMacs with Lion - what is recommended?

    We have 250+ iMacs and one Lion server freshly installed. Running Lion server. The network Manager has networked us using mobile accounts and we are having bad sync problems with the 400+ students. Now limiting the sync to preferences only in the hope of speeding it all up.

    Coming from a Windows background I cannot believe that this is the best way to run a network as it is so clunky and inefficient. It seems that this is the way it is done here in Korea.
    Can anyone tell me what is the standard method of networking macs as this type of network is driving the teachers mad. Christmas holidays would be the perfect time to get this resolved.
    We have had a mac network guru visit us and even he doesn't seem to understand what the teachers want to achieve.

    On a slightly separate note we use WAP2 wireless and are having numerous issues with this and the macs - is it too strong an encryption maybe for wireless networks or could this all be linked to the slow syncing etc.
    We are expecting the Mac guru in on Wednesday to discuss the issues so any thoughts would be much appreciated.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    안녕하세요

    mobile accounts are good for the mobile aspect of Apple items (iPads, iPhones, iPod Touch, Macbooks) so that is not the worst way to work.

    When it comes to physical base unit iMacs your best bet is to set up a profile using Profile Manager and having individual accounts set up for each person. My knowledge of Lion Server is not too great as I have not had too much experience, however that would logically be the best way to operate.

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    Are you saying you have 250 desktop machines, all syncing home folders....over wireless, or is the WPA2 issue completely separate? Why are your desktop iMacs syncing, why not use network home folders (AKA roaming profiles)?

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    Thanks for the replies.
    We are syncing just preferences now but that seems to take an age sometimes - over 100mb seems to be way too much to have to sync. I assume that it is possible to reduce this further. What then happens to the users changed documents if only preferences are synced?
    What confuses me about this is how awkward it seems to be when, dare I say it, compared to a Windows network. The students just want to be able to open, edit and save their work from any iMac. They waste a lot of time with the current set up - not managed by me I hasten to add however I am in the ICT team and am trying to gently nudge the NM to the right fix.
    Roaming profiles would seem to be the way to go - my NM insinuates that we would have to reimage all the iMacs for this to occur - likely?
    We are also down grading to Snow Leopard server as it seems more useable.

    The wireless issue may be another issue and not related directly to this I think.
    I'd be happy if we had a reliable, rock solid network that the teachers trusted and used fully!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeju View Post
    Roaming profiles would seem to be the way to go - my NM insinuates that we would have to reimage all the iMacs for this to occur - likely?
    I don't think so, it's just a policy change. However, I don't think this will change your existing accounts. My understanding (which could be wrong) is that an account is either a regular roaming account, or a fully mobile, syncing account - regardless of the settings of the machine you log in to - so you may need to recreate accounts instead...

    If you have a regular account, that's how you log in. If you have a mobile account, you're stuff will sync as you log in, regardless of machine settings.

    Also, if memory serves, Mobile Accounts are set up on their first log in based on machine policy of the first machine they're used on. You can either have it prompt the user for what type of account they want (regular or mobile) or you can force it with no user intervention. Our iMacs force a mobile home directory on login so that when our Media Studies course log in, all their iMovie clips are local to the machine.

    Again, this is only my understanding of the matter. I may be wrong.

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    I'm not a huge fan of 10.7 downgrading is what I instantly did when I replaced 2 of our open directory servers over the summer.

    A friend of mine made step by step notes posted here

    wazmac.com/servers_network/fileservers/osxserver_setup/index.htm

    That would walk you through everything you need to know just starting out from DNS to file shares and home directorys.

    Stay away from the mobile sync its to clunky, logins take forever and fails all the time. Regular home directorys with some mcx settings is all you need.

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    Synching everything could be the problem. You may need to choose which bits to sync. For example if you are using mobile accounts most likely you won't have the cache re-directed or nor the temp dir. So if Safari is used extensively then this would mean all of this data will need to be synched. I use a mobile account on my iMac which is using 10.7 at the moment connected to a 10.6 server. I have constant permission issues but this may be related to something else.

    However, if you are using a wireless network to work then maybe using a forced local home dir with the pupils uploading data to their server home dir that they wish to access from anywhere. You can still have kerberised access to the shares and it would alleviate the issue of the synching problem and possibly the reduced bandwidth as the synching data won't be flooding the network. However, the down side is that if they haven't uploaded something then they won't be able to access it.

    The networked home dirs may work but they are a strain on any network but a 10Gb fiber connected network. We have a 1Gb network here where the systems run fine usually but can slow-down occasionally. Runnign them over WiFi network I would say is perhaps not a great idea. We have done this with 15 laptops on one WAP and slowdown was an issue. We redirected the cache folder and tmp and log folders to speed things up but it was still slow. Macs don't download anything to the client when using networked home dirs. They run across the network at all times. If the laptop loses connection at any time the machine grinds to a complete halt. Sometimes the machine can come back to life other times it will beach ball till the end of time. Always needs to be a consideration when using networked accounts over a flakey network, especially one such as WiFi.

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