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I work in a company which manages IT for several customers (mainly for Apple OS X deployments). Some of them have more users than computers, so they need some form of "movable" home directory (so the user's bookmarks, settings and so on stay while he changes computers).

I remember that this worked relatively well in OS X 10.6.X and wasn't so hard to set up. I now tried (in different configurations) to get it working in OS X 10.10.X and OS X 10.11.X but never really got it working in a stable way. Here are the different ways I tried it (for both: OS X 10.10 and 10.11):

  • Open Directory server on OS X Server and userhome-location on the OS X Server

    • Issue: The keychain-items do not get synchronized. Other files get synchronized (but the keychain-not-syncing is a showstopper)
  • Active Directory, userhome-location on the OS X Server or on a synology file server (AFP or SMB) or on the windows server:

    • same issue as with "pure OD": Keychain does not get synced. Additionally, many other files do not get saved correctly or with incorrect permissions.
  • general Issue: Some applications do not work well with network homes (for example the mac built-in unzipper)

Because of those problems, I decided to try to get it working with synchronized mobile homes. Here, the user home is copied locally and upon the user logging out, the changes are written to the server. The general observation is:

  • it is incredibly slow (2 Minutes for 3MB are nothing special, and this on a Gigabit-LAN!)
  • There are many synchronization errors or wrong file permissions

Here are the combinations I tried for synchronized mobile homes:

  • OS X Open Directory Server, Storage location on the OS X Server
  • OS X Open Directory Server, Storage location on the Synology Server (AFP and SMB)
  • Active Directory Server, Storage location on the Synology Server (AFP and SMB)
  • Active Directory Server, Storage location on the OS X Server (AFP and SMB)
  • Active Directory Server, Storage location on the Active Directoryy Server (SMB)

I ask myself if it is even possible to get it working. I tried 3 times, always with those (or comparable) results. Also I let colleagues check my DNS, NTP and networking settings - no problems there. I'd be realy happy if someone who's experienced with that topic could answer and even if it's a "no it's not possible anymore".

Regards Christian

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Use SMB and set it back to V1 on a windows file server

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