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I manage the IT for an org with about 800 clients with mixture of Windows and Mac platforms. I'm looking at getting ARD for my staff (up to 4 installations of ARD) so they can better support the mac clients. One large gotcha is that it seems each installation of ARD has to be configured individually, and there is no built-in way to share the information about all our clients that each installation of ARD has. So what would be the best way to effectively manage a large number of client machines with multiple client support staff? Some ideas I've thought of:

  • Have up to 4 installations of ARD and use some combination of Applescript and /or automator to try and sync the data between the 4 installations of ARD. I see via this thread: How can I share Apple Remote Desktop's list of machines to other computers? that it's possible, but there are no specifics as to actually how to do it, and I can see that trying to keep data in sync between 4 machines would be problematic
  • Have ARD on a mac server and connect that macserver via VNC or otherwise and then from that server support the client. Seems clunky.
  • Give up on sharing information about clients and just use ARD as a more advanced version of VNC

Any other suggestions welcome. Thanks!

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2 Answers

Casper Suite looks pretty awesome on for an IT environment.

Although it's not the most clean cut option, you can save the configuration of ARD by taking the .plist (and .plist.lockfile) out of the ~/Library/Preferences directory. I've tested it on my configuration, and that seems to be the main place for configuration storage.

For easy deployment, you could create an Automator application that moves the file to the user's ~/Library/Preferences directory. You could place that application in a folder along with the .plist file and create a .zip file that could be emailed to your staff.

Hope this helps. -Matt

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It sounds like you need a client management solution. I prefer the Casper Suite, but in the interest of full disclosure, I work for the manufacturer. However, I was a customer for some time before becoming an employee. There are competing products and I advise you to evaluate more than one solution before making a purchase.

With all that said, a client management solution will give you a central inventory system, and centralized management tools. The information regarding your inventory and management tasks are stored on a server that is accessible to your entire staff, and depending on the privileges you assign, all members of the team can perform management tasks.

I hope this is helpful.

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