We’re heading into the home stretch with Charles Edge’s streamed “Take Control of OS X Server,” and this week Charles looks at the essential Caching and Software Update services in Chapter 12, “Software Updates.” These two services are conceptually similar: they cache software updates from Apple and redistribute them locally over your network to reduce unnecessary bandwidth usage and increase performance for users. So what’s the difference, and why would you want to run one, the other, or both?
The Caching service is easy to set up and run, works for Mac and iOS apps and updates, and needs no client configuration. It’s a no-brainer for any network, no matter how small or large, and if you are running OS X Server, you should enable the Caching service. In contrast, the Software Update service requires more work on the server, plus non-trivial client configuration, and it works only on Macs and only with software updates from Apple. But, and this is why Software Update is still useful, it enables you to specify which updates your users can install, so you can vet each update before releasing it. Even just being able to prevent users from updating instantly could save you some significant support headaches, if a particular update turns out to have some unanticipated problem.
So if you’re looking to reduce bandwidth, improve performance for users, and exert control over which updates your users install, check out this week’s chapter!
We encourage everyone to read the first two chapters of “Take Control of OS X Server” to see where the book is going — all subsequent chapters are available only to TidBITS members for now. If you have already joined the TidBITS membership program, log in to the TidBITS site using the email address from which you joined. The full ebook of “Take Control of OS X Server” will be available for purchase by everyone in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle) formats once it’s complete. Published chapters include:
- Chapter 1: “Introducing OS X Server”
- Chapter 2: “Choosing Server Hardware”
- Chapter 3: “Preparation and Installation”
- Chapter 4: “Directory Services”
- Chapter 5: “DNS Service”
- Chapter 6: “File Sharing”
- Chapter 7: “Collaboration Services”
- Chapter 8: “Mail Services”
- Chapter 9: “Mobile Device Management”
- Chapter 10: “Web Services”
- Chapter 11: “Wiki Services”
Publishing this book in its entirety for TidBITS members as it’s being written is just one of the ways we thank TidBITS members for their support. We hope it encourages those of you who have been reading TidBITS for free for years to help us continue to bring you more of the professionally written and edited articles you’ve become accustomed to each week. For more details on what the membership program means to us, see “Support TidBITS in 2014 via the TidBITS Membership Program” (9 December 2013).