First post - please be easy on me...

donmontalvo
Esteemed Contributor II

I've been avoiding third party Mac management solutions since I was burned
by the discontinuation of NetOctopus. When I was given the reigns for the
Mac environment at Morgan Stanley (IBD Creative Services) just before 9/11,
I had my first opportunity to clean up sneaker-net managed 50 Mac
environment. I requested a budget for the only real solution at the time,
NetOctopus/Timbuktu.

In less than 30 days, I was able to create one OS9 image that would work on
any computer we had (only the Extension Set had to be changed to on
predefined for that model computer). I used Disk Utility and ASR to image
computers (as opposed to dragging folders). I was able to "package" software
for distribution using FileScripter Pro (bundled with NetOctopus, allowed
you to snapshot and compile InstallerVISE installers that NetOctopus could
push out to workstations). I automated a good amount of the workflow (using
my predecessor's QuicKeys shortcuts, modified and expanded to handle more
tasks).

Then came 9/11, and two years of waiting for the economy to recover. During
that time, I guess NetOctopus kind of died. Then OS X came out and started
to mature. I was forced to look into a new solution. I looked at Radmind
(steep learning curve, difficult to find techs who understand it). I looked
at FileWave, and I looked at Casper. While I was looking, I couldn't help
but worry about how I could be left out in the cold if any of these
solutions stopped being developed. So for the past few years, I've stuck to
the Apple toolset (NetBoot, NetInstall, OD, UNIX/Apple scripts, etc.)
logGen/pkgGen/Iceberg.

Well, NetRestore is now history (I know, rolled into 10.6 server...). So
I've revisited and decided to dig into Casper. As clean and mature as Casper
is turning out to be, I'm still not convinced it will be here in N years,
after I've deployed it (and thus created huge dependencies on it). That
said, I'm going to take the leap. I have a few questions...and no, I haven't
taken the time to sift through the list archives (sorry, it'll take weeks -
would rather just pop off a few questions)...

  1. Where does one get Casper training? I called JAMF and they only offer
    Jumpstart training if you purchase their solution. Doesn't seem fair to the
    client, since JAMF is essentially forcing techs to learn on the clients'
    dime. JAMF also suggested 6 or more months of real experience before going
    for certification. There seems to be a HUGE lack of resources for techs who
    want to learn Casper...I would think JAMF would see the value in providing
    training, if only to help their product get out there. Are there any Dallas
    area Casper user groups?

  2. I see several Casper suites. I'm currently most interested in
    imaging/packaging/distribution. I've got years of imaging, packaging and
    distribution experience, so it shouldn't take long to learn the JAMF
    toolset. Can one buy the Casper suite to run in a LAB environment? Training
    is fine - but you do need to LAB test before deploying (initially, changes,
    etc.).

  3. Can I get some input from those who have deployed Casper to
    managed/integrated environments? How is AD/OD integration impacted by
    Casper? Can our clients continue to use OD for policies? Can our legacy
    packages/scripts be used if Casper is deployed?

  4. How comfortable is everyone that Casper isn't going to be the next
    NetOctopus? Is there more than one person steering Casper development? Or is
    there a chance one person can leave JAMF to start his own company, and leave
    all Casper deployment folks out in the cold?

Thanks,
Don

--
https://donmontalvo.com
11 REPLIES 11

jarednichols
Honored Contributor

See inline comments...
---

  1. Where does one get Casper training? I called JAMF and they only offer Jumpstart training if you purchase their solution. Doesn't seem fair to the client, since JAMF is essentially forcing techs to learn on the clients' dime. JAMF also suggested 6 or more months of real experience before going for certification. There seems to be a HUGE lack of resources for techs who want to learn Casper...I would think JAMF would see the value in providing training, if only to help their product get out there. Are there any Dallas area Casper user groups?

JAMF offers a Certified Casper Admin course that many on the list (including myself) have taken. It's a really good way to get best practices under your belt and unlearn some bad habits you may have been unknowingly doing. I'd consider myself an advanced user and had been using Casper in production for about 6 months before taking the course and still got a lot out of it. Highly recommended.

  1. I see several Casper suites. I'm currently most interested in imaging/packaging/distribution. I've got years of imaging, packaging and distribution experience, so it shouldn't take long to learn the JAMF toolset. Can one buy the Casper suite to run in a LAB environment? Training is fine - but you do need to LAB test before deploying (initially, changes, etc.).

The Casper Suite is really all in one, but it comes with a bunch of different modules depending on the function you're performing. I always test things in a "lab" environment - usually a few machines I have around for testing (the old one, the really dirty funky config, the brand new clean one) and some users who like getting beta stuff and having the newest thing. Even though I rarely run into a problem, it's just A Good Idea™ to test before deploying, no matter what you're doing.

  1. Can I get some input from those who have deployed Casper to managed/integrated environments? How is AD/OD integration impacted by Casper? Can our clients continue to use OD for policies? Can our legacy packages/scripts be used if Casper is deployed?

I haven't used OD for a few years, but it leaves AD alone. If your machines are already on AD, fine. If not, fine. In fact, you can use Casper to insanely easily add your machines to AD. Once set up, your first level techs can do it it's so easy.

  1. How comfortable is everyone that Casper isn't going to be the next NetOctopus? Is there more than one person steering Casper development? Or is there a chance one person can leave JAMF to start his own company, and leave all Casper deployment folks out in the cold?

Maybe someone from JAMF would like to answer that one, but I don't see them going anywhere, especially some of the clients that they're gaining now and the further market share that Apple's gaining, especially in DOD and Government where regulatory/statute issues mandate system management.

Thanks,
Don

tlarkin
Honored Contributor

My replies are in bold:



Thomas Larkin
TIS Department
KCKPS USD500
tlarki at kckps.org
blackberry: 913-449-7589
office: 913-627-0351

talkingmoose
Honored Contributor II

Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2009 11:40:19 -0500

Be easy on you!? Pshaw! 😉

1. Where does one get Casper training? I called JAMF and they only offer Jumpstart training if you purchase their solution. Doesn't seem fair to the client, since JAMF is essentially forcing techs to learn on the clients' dime. JAMF also suggested 6 or more months of real experience before going for certification. There seems to be a HUGE lack of resources for techs who want to learn Casper...I would think JAMF would see the value in providing training, if only to help their product get out there. Are there any Dallas area Casper user groups?

The Casper suite does have several resources for learning on your own. The
manual is probably the most complete resource for this but I'm not sure it's
available outside purchasing the suite either. That's freely available to
anyone here <http://www.jamfsoftware.com/libraries/pdf/products/documentation/Casper_Sui
te_Documentation.pdf>

They also have this mailing list, which has been invaluable to me
personally. It's peer-to-peer support mostly with occasional jump-ins from
the JAMF folks.

JAMF is also expanding its knowledgebase, which is here
<http://jamfsoftware.com/kb/index.php>.

The JumpStart program is great to help you quickly get your site(s) up to
speed but it's not really training. It's a dose of caffeine to help you
quickly implement many of its features that you'd likely not look into or
research right away.

They offer a Casper Certification course, which is only available to
customers. This is not just what-does-what but really "here's how to use
your screwdriver 14 more ways you'd never thought of".

2. I see several Casper suites. I'm currently most interested in imaging/packaging/distribution. I've got years of imaging, packaging and distribution experience, so it shouldn't take long to learn the JAMF toolset. Can one buy the Casper suite to run in a LAB environment? Training is fine - but you do need to LAB test before deploying (initially, changes, etc.).

The full suite can inventory, image and manage Macs. If you only need
imaging then the Imaging Suite may be ideal for you
<http://jamfsoftware.com/products/imaging-suite>.

JAMF does offer evaluations, I believe.

3. Can I get some input from those who have deployed Casper to managed/integrated environments? How is AD/OD integration impacted by Casper? Can our clients continue to use OD for policies? Can our legacy packages/scripts be used if Casper is deployed?

Casper 7.0 enables you to bind to AD and OD and even specify the order. It
also includes built-in MCX management (rather than using OD), which has been
wonderful for our needs.

4. How comfortable is everyone that Casper isn't going to be the next NetOctopus? Is there more than one person steering Casper development? Or is there a chance one person can leave JAMF to start his own company, and leave

I don't know JAMF's full internal workings, but the core group of folks has
been there for about 5+ years. They've only grown in terms of the support
they offer and I can only speculate that development, while being headed by
one person, is now done by a few folks.

As for steering development: That's been done by its customers. Probably 90%
or more of what's in Casper today has been at the request of its customers.
They really listen. 🙂

--

bill

William M. Smith, Technical Analyst
MCS IT
Merrill Communications, LLC
(651) 632-1492

ernstcs
Contributor III

Of course I’ll chime in! My comments below as well, but pretty much everyone has nailed it down.

Craig Ernst
Systems Management & Configuration
----------------------------------
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Learning & Technology Services
Old Library 2109
105 Garfield Ave
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Phone: (715) 836-3639
Fax: (715) 836-6001
----------------------------------
ernstcs at uwec.edu

tlarkin
Honored Contributor

Craig,

The usage of 'sick' is very appropriate in the context of describing Casper.

-Tom



Thomas Larkin
TIS Department
KCKPS USD500
tlarki at kckps.org
blackberry: 913-449-7589
office: 913-627-0351

donmontalvo
Esteemed Contributor II
On Sep 3, 2009, at 1:06 PM, Ernst, Craig S. wrote: Of course I’ll chime in! My comments below as well, but pretty much everyone has nailed it down. On 9/3/09 11:40 AM, "don montalvo" <donmontalvo at gmail.com> wrote: ...[snip]... 4zlxUOB0TBp5MuvyJrUs
Craig Ernst Systems Management & Configuration ---------------------------------- University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Learning & Technology Services Old Library 2109 105 Garfield Ave Eau Claire, WI 54701 Phone: (715) 836-3639 Fax: (715) 836-6001 ---------------------------------- ernstcs at uwec.edu

Craig,

My apologies, I never had a chance to respond to your email. Many thanks for your input, it's very helpful.

Don

--
https://donmontalvo.com

donmontalvo
Esteemed Contributor II

blackholemac
Valued Contributor III

You should ask @tlarkin if he's still using his Blackberry

tlarkin
Honored Contributor

oh lord jamf should just delete the mailing list posts here....

tomt
Valued Contributor

I think I still have an email archive somewhere with most everything.

donmontalvo
Esteemed Contributor II

@tlarkin wrote:

oh lord jamf should just delete the mailing list posts here....

😂😂😂

--
https://donmontalvo.com