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We have about 50 Macs connected to our Windows Active Directory server and they work ok, they are bound up just fine using the built in functionality.

However, the time has come, we need to install a piece of software across all of them and going around each individually would take forever. What software/route should I take to achieve this?

Also, if there is an easy way to run scripts or automate that would help as well.


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Casper Suite from Jamf Nation is a good Mac product. Don't know if the cost is justified for only 50 computers. Also you can send .pkg through Apple Remote Desktop. – tron_jones Oct 15 '12 at 17:27

Look into Munki and Puppet. We have 100+ mac laptops and use Munki for software distribution (applications) and puppet for low level scripts and managing prepferences.

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Munki is great, I use it as well as Puppet. But for only 50 Macs? I can't see setting up that for a smaller setup unless you are really planning for scale.

Apple Remote Desktop might be a little more adhoc. It's only about $80 on the AppStore. Once your Macs are setup to allow ARD to administrate them, installing software across 50 Macs is as simple as selecting them all, clicking "Install Package", and dragging in a .pkg or .mpkg file.

It also does remote control, send UNIX script, copy files, etc. A useful tool (albeit somewhat buggy at times) for small Mac shops.

If you want a free alternative to JAMF's Composer (which used to be free), you can try Absolute's InstallEase:

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I would use a combo of Jamf's Composer app ($99/Com,$79/Edu) and Apple's ARD3 to create ARD-pushable .pgk files.

Composer is able to 'watch' as you install and configure a software package and keep track of all the new files added, old files modified and any preferences made during the installation, then will create a .pgk file of all these changes which you can then push out to the Macs with ARD3.

ARD3 is able to push out prebuilt .pkg and .mpkg files from software companies, too.

If you want to forgo ARD3, you can distribute the .pkg files over a network/on a USB thumbdrive/on a CD/DVD and have local user admins install them manually.

The Casper Suite mentioned by tron_jones can be quite expensive, and is designed to support Macs from soup to nuts. It is a bit of overkill for your purposes now, but perhaps can be of use in the future as your Mac's presence grows.

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