Hello we are still running 8.64, but are looking to move to 8.73 in the near future. I was curious if I could get some feedback from those whom have moved to 9.2 from either of these previous versions. With a honest and as detailed response as you would like in reference to the upgrade in general to usability post upgrade, such as smart groups, static groups, Managed Preferences "MCX", configuration profiles, custom reports, etc, etc.
We upgraded from 8.64 to 9.0 when it first came out. As far as it is concerned I do like the usability of 9.0 much better. Particularly 9.2 now that we have it. We had no problems upgrading anything (but make sure you create a backup just in case). It was very simple to do as well. Our smart and status groups have worked fine, but we didn't really have any configuration profiles or custom reports though. As I said I really like the new version of the JSS and recommend the upgrade.
I recently upgraded from 8.73 to 9.12 and since to 9.2. The jury is still out on whether I've made the right move or not.
The first thing you'll want to do is to make sure your MySQL is the correct version. 9.x requires MySQL 5.5 or better. I only had 5.1 installed. Although the release notes clearly state that 5.5 is required, it was suggested that 5.1 would be ok and so I went ahead and upgraded. That turned out to be a huge mistake and after 24 hours I upgraded MySQL which was a bigger job than anticipated.
Under 8.73 and ios6.x the system worked like a dream. I rarely had to worry about the setup and didn't spend any time on it. Under 8.x and ios7.x the system is unstable and causes me quite a bit of trouble. I'm not sure if the problems are Casper related or ios related but the problems are there.
The system appears to have stopped communicating with about 2% of my devices. They no longer update their inventory and don't update their profiles. I'm going to have to track down those devices and see what gives. That will be a time consuming process.
About 20% of my devices now have very unstable WiFi connectivity. Their wifi drops out and when they try to reconnect they have to accept their WiFi certificate again. I'm not sure if this is Casper related or ios7 related but it didn't appear to happen until I upgraded Casper a few weeks after ios7.
I experienced very large CPU and traffic loads for the first few weeks. It was settling down very slowly but then 9.2 came along and appears to have resolved the traffic load.
I was very alarmed to see that the update to 9.x seemed to go through and replace the profiles on my devices. I'm not 100% sure about this but it appeared to delete profiles then re-install them. Luckily I did the update while our students were on holidays (and mostly had access to their home wifi) as if this had happened while they were at school there would have been no way to receive their new wifi certificate once the old one had been removed. I can't actually confirm that this is what happened at the device end, but looking at the devices management history and the list of devices without wifi it does appear that this was the case. At one stage about 20% of my devices had reported no wifi profile and that number was rising rapidly.
Under 8.7 / ios6 I had one device all year which was unable to be enrolled. The error message received was "Profile installation failed. Your iPad is not activated". Under 9.x and ios7 I had 6 to 8 of these in the first two weeks. Unfortunately there's no way to resolve this except to send the student home to do a wipe and re-install of their device. I haven't had any since then thankfully.
The "export device to CSV" has been broken in 9.x. I used this extensively to track students who enrolled multiple devices. I would export to CSV and use excel's conditional highlighting to highlight duplicate id's. Under 9.x Casper exports about 50% of the enrolled devices multiple times.
Now for the positives. The reason I upgraded was for the advanced smart grouping and the ability to exclude certain groups from configuration profiles. This feature is working superbly and almost makes up for the above troubles. Under 8.7 I was never really able to manage student compliance with our AUP and requirement for specific Apps. 9.x allows me to actually start managing compliance and enforcing policy in our environment.
The expanded logic in searching and smart groups is also very useful and has allowed me to transition devices from one configuration profile to another without interruption.
The pushing of commands and profiles (especially during enrollment) also seems to be a lot more stable. Under 8.7 it seemed as though it was a bit hit-and-miss whether devices received the push notifications and profiles in a timely manner. When installing devices, our average device received 7 profiles. Under 8.7 it seemed that they would get 3, then have to wait between 1 minute and sometimes 10 minutes to get the remainder. Under 9.x it seems that they mostly receive them all at the same time. This is a big bonus for us as we have to connect to a password protected "guest" wifi so that the students can enrol (if they haven't enrolled at home) and having to wait or try to "force" the enrollment process was time consuming. It's less so now.