The future of Jamf Admin and Composer?

AVmcclint
Honored Contributor

I'm getting worried about the future of the Jamf Admin and Composer apps. Composer is the only one that has been updated for Apple Silicon, but it is basically the exact same app it's always been since version 9. Composer's interface could use some updating. New package manifests are painfully out of date (My god, it still lists Shockwave!). Jamf Admin really is unchanged since version 9. Jamf Admin REALLY needs to be updated for Apple Silicon and to support Dark Mode. It also needs improved error reporting and recovery. When there's a problem (interrupted connection, bad pkg, wrong phase of the moon, I'm wearing the wrong aftershave to work...)  it can take hours for broken uploads to be removed so we can try uploading again.

Jamf Admin is a far more efficient method of uploading and editing packages (when it works) than the JSS web interface. I like that I can upload multiple packages at the same time and then edit them afterward. The web interface only allows one upload at a time and editing is very slow. We all know Apple will kill Rosetta 2 in a year or so. When it goes, Jamf Admin will also go.

Composer and Admin are critical to efficient Jamf management, but with all the other jamf apps slowly being culled, I don't know what the future of package creation/management looks like the Jamf world.  Can someone at Jamf HQ please chime in and give us an idea of what we can expect?

2 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

AVmcclint
Honored Contributor

https://learn.jamf.com/bundle/jamf-pro-release-notes-current/page/Deprecations_and_Removals.html

The key line: 

  • Jamf AdminJamf will stop distributing Jamf Admin in a future release of Jamf Pro (estimated removal date: late 2023). Jamf is committed to supporting key workflows from Jamf Admin (including printer creation, package synchronization, and package metadata editing) in future product enhancements.

Sounds like they are going to keep us in the dark until the last minute. I really hope the replacement is NOT a crappy web interface. No mention of Composer. I have used Packages.app to create installer packages for very large things like Xcode that Composer can't handle, but Packages is not an easy program to use. 

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AVmcclint
Honored Contributor

Here is what I was told by jamf:

In regards to the latest 10.44 Deprecation news, yes, Jamf will stop distributing Jamf Admin in late 2023. With that said, that does not mean all is lost. Jamf is working on implementing and support the key workflows from Jamf Admin to be brought to us in product releases down the line (I hope it's soon). I do not, however, have an insight on what those will be and in which released. From our guide, "Jamf is committed to supporting key workflows from Jamf Admin (including printer creation, package synchronization, and package metadata editing) in future product enhancements."  As for composer, I have not heard anything in relation to that at this time. 

I would love to provide our product team with feedback on what workflows you use Jamf Admin on the day to day if you'd like to share those with me? My understanding is that Jamf is not going to remove Jamf Admin without having those key workflows in place first. We have some time, but it's good for use to analyze what we use Jamf Admin for now and prepare for the changes to come late this year. 

I would highly recommend you send email to success@jamf.com and tell them how you use Jamf Admin. I sent a long list of pros and cons, raves and complaints, and requests about Jamf Admin. I made a lot of comparisons to the web interface and how much it sucks compared to a standalone tool.  Please tell them what's on your mind so they know we still NEED an App like Jamf Admin. 

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39 REPLIES 39

mm2270
Legendary Contributor III

I don't see Jamf Admin getting any updates going forward. I keep hoping, possibly in vain, that Jamf will revamp the Jamf Pro UI Packages section to include all the features that Jamf Admin has and make it easier to use, but every update for Jamf Pro that comes out, there are no updates in that area, so I can understand your concern.

As for Composer, it's still fine for what it promises to do, though I do agree its well past time for it to be reworked and modernized, that is, if Jamf plans to keep it around. Though I don't see a reason they would kill it unless it came down to a lack of resources for upkeep.

Levi_
Contributor II

I too hope for some updates and they don't just leave it by the wayside. Without Jamf Admin how are we supposed to Index packages for uninstallation via Self Service and easily capture printers to throw into Jamf Pro? In my experience working with Jamf I have always been directed to upload packages via the Web and not to do so via Jamf Admin. There are quite a few things Jamf needs to work out for sure I guess that is taking priority like the horrible macOS update/upgrade process via their mass update command that hardly works and fixing the available updates hanging problem when running Recon.

With that said though Jamf isn't cheap and I kind of expect a little better for these problems. Some problems are my own fault though 😛 

thebrucecarter
Contributor II

@Levi_ +4, from the four of us here that work with Jamf Pro.  I'd like to do everything from the web GUI, because I have to VPN into our data center to do Jamf Admin (on prem Jamf Pro), but failing that Jamf Admin needs some love.  And don't even get me started on macOS updates/upgrades, that's a daily rant here.

ScottyBeach
Contributor

@AVmcclint Yes, I agree. Admin still lists PPC as a platform to filter on but not Apple Silicon! Maybe Jamf should spend a little less on acquiring new additional products and a bit more on maintaining what they've already got.

clarkep
New Contributor III

Does anyone know what the new workflow will be for packing up and deploying an app for macOS now that Jamf Admin is set for deprecation later this year? I was just on a Jamf Support call where I learned about Jamf Admin and Composer going away, which I was shocked. I asked this question to him and he had NO IDEA. Not to mention Jamf has not updated their documentation indicating any workflows beyond says "Jamf Admin and Computer are set for deprecation late 2023." Great. Thanks. I must be missing something major here...

When you need IT...get PJ. C. Working as a tech in a private school for over 15 years.

AVmcclint
Honored Contributor

https://learn.jamf.com/bundle/jamf-pro-release-notes-current/page/Deprecations_and_Removals.html

The key line: 

  • Jamf AdminJamf will stop distributing Jamf Admin in a future release of Jamf Pro (estimated removal date: late 2023). Jamf is committed to supporting key workflows from Jamf Admin (including printer creation, package synchronization, and package metadata editing) in future product enhancements.

Sounds like they are going to keep us in the dark until the last minute. I really hope the replacement is NOT a crappy web interface. No mention of Composer. I have used Packages.app to create installer packages for very large things like Xcode that Composer can't handle, but Packages is not an easy program to use. 

mm2270
Legendary Contributor III

I'm not seeing any mention in the notes of Composer being discontinued. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I don't see a reason Jamf would kill it. It's not even tied to Jamf Pro in any way, which can be seen as either good or bad I suppose. But the point is, it's a standalone app that does basic packaging. Could it stand to be reworked? For sure, but even if they don't, it still does what it says on the tin. Hopefully they at least keep Composer around for a while? I mean, sure, there is Packages.app and other similar tools, but as you stated @AVmcclint it's not the easiest tool to use, especially for a beginner. You kind of have to already understand packaging to really make use of Packages.app and not run into issues.

elsmith
Contributor II

I know I'm behind the times but does anyone know what they're going to do to replace Admin? We're on-prem so my understanding is that you cannot use the packages feature in Jamf Pro to upload packages (unless that has changed since I last took Jamf training...) without having a Cloud Distribution Point.

AVmcclint
Honored Contributor

Here is what I was told by jamf:

In regards to the latest 10.44 Deprecation news, yes, Jamf will stop distributing Jamf Admin in late 2023. With that said, that does not mean all is lost. Jamf is working on implementing and support the key workflows from Jamf Admin to be brought to us in product releases down the line (I hope it's soon). I do not, however, have an insight on what those will be and in which released. From our guide, "Jamf is committed to supporting key workflows from Jamf Admin (including printer creation, package synchronization, and package metadata editing) in future product enhancements."  As for composer, I have not heard anything in relation to that at this time. 

I would love to provide our product team with feedback on what workflows you use Jamf Admin on the day to day if you'd like to share those with me? My understanding is that Jamf is not going to remove Jamf Admin without having those key workflows in place first. We have some time, but it's good for use to analyze what we use Jamf Admin for now and prepare for the changes to come late this year. 

I would highly recommend you send email to success@jamf.com and tell them how you use Jamf Admin. I sent a long list of pros and cons, raves and complaints, and requests about Jamf Admin. I made a lot of comparisons to the web interface and how much it sucks compared to a standalone tool.  Please tell them what's on your mind so they know we still NEED an App like Jamf Admin. 

I, too, put in a ticket with Jamf. We are on-prem only at this time, and Admin is the only easy way we can upload and sync packages on our DPs. I find a lot of the time Jamf completely overlooks its on-prem customers when planning their product "improvements" and that just saddens me. I am constantly asked why I can't do my job with Intune, and Jamf is making it harder and harder for me to keep management happy with my answers.

We are also onprem and need to use Jamf admin to upload packages, Calculate the Checksum (Packages cant not be deployed with out this) and Replicate to our DMZ share, Jamf needs to add these to the Web app before they stop distributing Jamf admin

To deploy all the non ".pkg" applications

AVmcclint
Honored Contributor

We are about as late into 2023 as you can get and there has been nary a word said about the Jamf Admin replacement. I would really like to see a demo of this new replacement BEFORE it is released to the general public. Don't treat it like Jamf Remote Assist and release it without testing it.  But it sure would be nice for us to get some kind of idea how our workflows are going to change.

Agree. We need more info on this change

mark_mahabir
Valued Contributor

It looks like the date has now been named (19 March 2024):

Deprecations and Removals - Jamf Pro Release Notes 11.1.0 | Jamf

mm2270
Legendary Contributor III

It would be nice if they updated the text in the Deprecations section from the current "Jamf is committed to finding alternative solutions for key workflows from Jamf Admin" to something like "Jamf will roll out an alternative solution for workflows from Jamf Admin". The way it continues to be worded there makes it sound like they're still trying to figure this out, and March 2024 isn't far off at this point. Doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies.

I honestly wouldn't care all that much about losing Jamf Admin.app, except that I rely on it for just a few specific package uploads that seem to fail to complete when using the Jamf Pro Packages upload UI. If it goes away and I'm not able to upload those pkgs anymore, that's going to be an issue.

AVmcclint
Honored Contributor

I agree 100%. When I saw  "Jamf is committed to finding alternative solutions for key workflows from Jamf Admin" I read that as "We're not sure what we're going to do, but we'll figure out some kind of half-baked solution that does a fraction of what JamfAdmin does and is far more unstable. Over the course of the following 24 months, we'll insist everything is fine and you're just using it wrong.Then we'll cave in and agree to make a change. We'll change the colors of the icon and consider the matter closed."

We use it 100% of the time for our packages, so I really hope they come up with something soon!

clarkep
New Contributor III

Same! We are still using Jamf Admin 100% over here, especially since we are hosted on-site. 

When you need IT...get PJ. C. Working as a tech in a private school for over 15 years.

Sadly, I've noticed that Jamf really doesn't keep on-prem customers in mind when they develop their new features/changes, etc.

AVmcclint
Honored Contributor

The release notes for Jamf Pro 11.3 still say "estimated removal date: 19 March 2024" That's less than a month from now. Still not even a hint of what's to come.

clarkep
New Contributor III

I have to believe it’s not going anywhere just yet without a plan. The support people don’t know anything about what a replacement workflow would look like still. I suppose you could upload your packages directly into the container and in the web interface. Still need a way of grabbing a self contained app though and I don’t know of another way of doing that, do you? 

When you need IT...get PJ. C. Working as a tech in a private school for over 15 years.

Unfortunately, on-prem folks (like me) can't even use the web interface. If admin stops working, we're pretty much screwed.

clarkep
New Contributor III

We are in the same boat being on-prem so still using composer and admin as well. Hopefully it just stays for now. 

When you need IT...get PJ. C. Working as a tech in a private school for over 15 years.

mm2270
Legendary Contributor III

I suspect Jamf will back off on that deprecation date once the date rolls around, IF they don't have a solution in place by then. If they decide to go forward with that removal date without having something to replace it, they're going to end up having quite a few angry customers, and their support lines will get clogged with people opening support tickets and calling in. I doubt they want that. Not a good look.

Either Jamf is working on something in secret and will spring it on us when it's ready (really not ideal, so hopefully not), or they miscalculated and were too aggressive on that removal date, and they'll push it back. I can't see any other options, other than the aforementioned stick to the removal date and piss off a lot of customers one.

I suspect (and hope) you're right on that!

mm2270
Legendary Contributor III

What I'm actually beginning to wonder is, will Jamf open up Jamf Cloud Distribution Service (JCDS) to all customers, even on-prem? So then you can upload packages directly from the Jamf Pro UI like cloud customers? They are actually in the process of switching over to an updated version of JCDS in the coming weeks, which seems like it aligns with their proposed deprecation of Jamf Admin. https://learn.jamf.com/bundle/jamf-cloud-distribution-service-release-notes/page/Release_History.htm...

March 15th for the upgraded/reworked JCDS. March 19 for removal of Jamf Admin. Hmmm. Related? I wonder.

Edit: though the article I linked above only mentions Jamf Cloud customers, so, I don't know. I may be way off on that guess.

I hope that's not the solution... I work in government and would not be allowed to use Jamf Cloud, even for the distribution points. They have to know that is not possible for all users...

Until Jamf gets FedRAMP approval, I can't even begin to ask for permission to do that...

clarkep
New Contributor III

I would love to know what your jamf customer experience rep would have to say about that. I mean they can’t just leave people in the dark and say this is it or go buy another product, right?

When you need IT...get PJ. C. Working as a tech in a private school for over 15 years.

Yeah, I'd love to know his response, as well LOL! I put in a ticket when this all came up and was told the basics that they'll have a replacement, but I haven't heard a word from him on any of this, or really any of our recent questions/issues.

mm2270
Legendary Contributor III

Good point on gov customers not being able to use that. I forgot about those. I'm in the financial sector, and it took us a while to get approval to go with Jamf Cloud from our previous on-prem installation. Lots of red tape to get through. And I can imagine its a lot more difficult for a government customer.

Now four months further along and Jamf Admin no longer connects to our on-premises JSS. We're, if not dead in the water, then have a leaky bilge. Anyone heard a word on this?

- Scott

mark_mahabir
Valued Contributor

This is the response I got from Success:

 


I would like to provide you with some updates that I have from the Product team on the functionalities in question


Thanks for your patience,as there are different sub teams working different products, we had to take updates from different people.

* Printer creation -- The team is working out a solution for handling this function and there will be a new utility coming from the Consulting Engineering team.
* Package Indexing -- We believe this is a legacy workflow and doesn't fit with our vision for modern management.
* Package Upload. There are lots of options for this. If you use JCDS, they can look at the new JCDS 2.0 APIs and script on this.
* Package Sync -- We have a tool that is in development that should support this. JamfCPR is another existing alternative.
* Jamf Composer -- I am following up with the team that owns this product but I hadn't heard anything about Composer getting deprecated anytime soon , how ever I will come back with a sure informatuon.
* Package sync and upload- there are some alternatives that are coming soon and we will send out the notification as soon as it is live.We do not have a clear timeline at this moment, for either deprecating the legacy systems or the arrival of the new alternatives, however I will keep you abreast of the developments.

 

Thank you for sharing that! 

mm2270
Legendary Contributor III

So, interesting. JCDS 2.0 is mentioned as a possible option. But to @elsmith's point, this is NOT an option for all customers. Especially ones who need to stay with an on prem solution because they cannot use cloud services. But it sounds like Jamf has some other tools they are looking at or working on. Interesting they mentioned JamfCPR. I've used that. It's fine for what it is, but it's really not a Jamf Admin replacement. Hopefully that won't be the final solution.

As for package indexing, I'm not surprised that won't make the cut. It's a legacy option that really was only useful if using the old uninstall process. I personally haven't used that in several years now. That process become more unreliable as time marched on, and application installs became more complex. So no surprise there that Jamf doesn't see value in bringing that function over. Hopefully that won't cause too much disruption for others.

Thanks for posting those details @mark_mahabir 

elsmith
Contributor II

One other thing I keep forgetting to ask... How do I delete a package from my DPs now? There's nothing in Jamf Sync that I can find that does that for you, meaning I think the answer (sadly) is to go to one of the DPs, physically delete the file, and THEN open Jamf Sync to sync to the others. Am I missing something?

Admin may not be the best tool in the world, but it does everything I need it to do. Even now, with Jamf Sync, adding packages requires me to open multiple things... 1) the local folder where I put the package I want to "upload"/sync, 2) Jamf Sync program, and then 3) Jamf Pro > Packages to edit the category, etc. Admin required ONE app that did everything.

mking529
Contributor

I found this thread after seeing the alert about Jamf Admin being removed in the future when I was about to update my onprem install. I'm beginning to wonder what am I really paying for with Jamf Pro? They're cutting out all of the stuff that made Jamf a unique solution to manage Macs, and it's slowly becoming just yet another web-based MDM frontend. I know some removals, like Imaging, were forced by changes in Apple's platform, but this is not the case here. I literally don't even know how to upload a package outside of Jamf Admin. Can I figure it out? Sure, but.. why? Why is this needed? So we can dedicate more resources to yet another needless GUI overhaul? I'm starting to get a little frustrated with this direction and the regular loss of features for the price we are paying. 

It's also so they can dedicate more resources to their cloud solutions and leave their on-prem customers in the dust... just my two-cents.

My management is constantly asking me why we need Jamf since we get Intune as part of our MS licensing... and it's getting harder and harder to convince them Jamf is better.

AVmcclint
Honored Contributor

I was a victim of a massive corporate lay off right before the Jamf Sync “solution” hit the streets.  I have not had the ability to look at it in action but the bits and pieces of info and screenshots I’ve managed to see tell me that Jamf flat out lied to us. This is in no way a viable replacement for Jamf Admin. It looks like they spent maybe a week on developing this tool and then said “meh…good enough.”