Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Enterprise Level Management of Apple Mac OS X Devices

Apple products seemingly are not designed with enterprise IT in mind. They do not facilitate centralized management natively, and it’s a pain point for many IT shops. Never-the-less, companies are still being infiltrated with these devices as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) concepts gain ground.

I came across a solution for this problem in one of the last places I expected. I was doing an on-site interview at Google. Over lunch, one of the employees there mentioned that they developed a product similar to SCCM, but to use with Mac OS X devices. Furthermore, this software is freely available in their code library! How about that? An enterprise level solution for managing software on Apple devices, developed by one of the largest and most innovative companies in the world, it’s available for free, and it’s open source so you can make modifications to it if you want/need to!

According to the Google Code page, Simian can:

  • Deploy new or updated software by targeting a single Mac or tens of thousands.
  • Deploy updates whether the Mac is on an internal network/VPN or not.
  • Force unattended/background installation of some packages, while allowing others to be optional.
  • Forcefully deploy security patches and reboot Macs after a given date, with varying levels of warning notifications.
  • Tightly manage Apple Software Update catalogs and update release, or let updates auto-promote automatically.
  • Dynamically target clients based on user, hostname, OS version, group (tag), and more.
  • Obtain reports on all of this and the fleet overall.

If this is something that you are interested in, you can check out this product at