In Mac OS X server, Apple provides us with a selection of tools to help us manage our server development. One of the most commonly used tools is Workgroup Manager, a fantastic piece of software, but like many pieces of software WGM can prove daunting. This is the first in a series of articles that will provide a basic understanding of Workgroup Manager, step by step instructions for common tasks, best practices, and basic troubleshooting.
Hit the link for an Introduction to Workgroup Manager.
Apple provides a series of tools with each copy of Mac OS X Server to help you manage and maintain your server. These tools can be found either on the Admin Tools CD included in the Mac OS X Server box or can be downloaded here. For this tutorial I will be focusing on version 10.5 of the admin tools included with Leopard server. If you are not yet running Leopard on your Open Directory Server you can still use these tools as long as you are running server version 10.4.11
Definition of Common Terms:
Workgroup Manager (WGM) - used to manage your Open Directory structure, or more directly, it is used to manage the users, groups, and computers on your network.
User - Anyone who has an account and logs into your network
Group - A collection of users
Workgroup - A collection of users with managed or controlled preferences
Computer - A Mac or PC with managed or controlled preferences
Computer List - A collection of computers with managed or controlled preferences
Open Directory - The database system used on Mac OS X Server to store your user login and preference information
Navigating the Workgroup Manager Interface:
Upon launching WGM you a first asked to log into your Open Directory server. This can be in either DNS or IP format such as my-server.domain.com or 220.127.116.11 If you don’t know the information offhand you can click the browse button to get a list of servers accessible via. bonjour. You will need to provide the login information for your open directory which is typically tied to an account called diradmin. This is not the same admin login information for the server itself, or if it is it shouldn’t be for security reasons. Of course you can choose to store your login information into your keychain, but this should only be done if you are on a secure computer. You wouldn’t want to walk away from your desk, and come back to a student deleting everyone’s login!
Once logged in you get access to the full WGM interface. The interface is a standard Apple server interface with the client account or computer on the rest, with the attributes you are editing on the right. Across the top is your toolbar which like most OS X apps can be modified to your liking.
In the top left corner is the globe on a platter. Clicking this will open the Server Admin application which is used to control and monitor the server services such as Apple File Sharing, DHCPP, DNS, etc. Next up are the Accounts and Preferences panes. These two act as toggle switches to control the interface below. Clicking the Accounts tab gives you access to either the account settings of a particular user/computer or the membership of a Workgroup/Computer List. The preferences button is used to toggle access to well the preference pane. This is where you control the settings of a particular user/group/computer list and will be of particular importance in a school setting.
Continuing across the toolbar is the new user button (which will change to a new group/computer/computer list as appropriate,) and the delete button for removing a character or computer from the directory. Next up is the refresh button which is really only needed if there is more than one person working on the directory system at the same time (a practice I don’t recommend). Finally, we have new window and search. The new window button will open a new window connected to the same directory system. The search window allows for search of your records.
The rest of the interface is divided into two panes, the left would be your record pane, and the right is your inspector pane. Quite simply, you choose the record from the left and edit it on the right. At the top of each of these panes is a tab bar, we’ll hold off on the left tab bar for just a moment and talk about the one on the right one.
The right tab bar is part of the dynamic interface that changes based on the type of record you are editing. Each tab will open up a different part of the record to edit.
Now lets go back to the left tab bar. This tab bar controls the dynamic interface and gives you access to each of the four types of records: User, Group, Computer, Computer List. Clicking on each of these tabs will change the list of records on the left, and change the inspector tab on the right.
The final part of the interface is the preferences tab. When the preference button is pressed on the toolbar, the interface changes to replace the inspector pane with the preference pane. From here you can choose each preference and change or modify the settings for each record.
Next up, step by step directions for common tasks.
By Eric Danley