Writing this blog half as a procedural reminder for myself, and half as a PSA to those who are wanting to take advantage of their K2000 to image Macs, and are dealing with a network topology of more than one subnet and/or office location they wish to image at.

I had tons of headaches trying to figure out how to utilize the K2000 in a way efficient enough to justify switching off of Deploy Studio for deployment, which has historically been an amazing (and free) product for us. The main hurdles in my environment are the lack of support for netbooting across subnets, not being able to capture images from RSA's, and difficulties creating netboot images. From what I understand, these pain points may find some relief in version 4 of the K2 - until then, this is how I am solving our problem.

1. Netbooting across subnets: 

  • Network staff set up IP helper addresses on all switches, hubs, and routers at the HQ location where our K2 resides. Still not able to netboot. The K2 shows up in the Startup Disks menu, but you cannot boot a machine into the KBE. It also does not show up when you Option+Boot. K2 logs show TFTP requests are received, and logs indicate the client is not accepting options. I know this to not be a client-side issue, though, because I do not have these issues with deploystudio, or if the machine is on the same subnet as the K2. Basically, we are not solving this problem. Networking staff set up a dedicated port in my work area on the same subnet as our K2000. I taped a cable and use that whenever I need to create a new netboot image, or upload an image to the K2000. I then set up an RSA extender on the subnet on the production area where IT does all the Mac imaging and maintenance. This appliance handles our local deployments. 

2. Not able to capture images from RSA's

  • This is a documented limitation of the Kace appliances (and a non-sensical one in my opinion). There is a user voice request for this to be changed, which has been responded to by Kace staff indicating there are changes to this in the upcoming v4 release. Got my fingers crossed here. In the mean time, I use the dedicated port mentioned in item 1 to capture images to my K2. Since I cannot capture to the RSA here, I use my dedicated port on the K2's vlan to do all capturing, and then force a sync from the kbox.

3. Creating a netboot image

  • KACE's official documentation on Mac deployments is laughably scant, considering how Mac numbers in the enterprise are growing, with no signs of stopping. In fact, KACE as a whole seem to be behind in terms of supporting Macs in the enterprise (hello, profile management?), but this is a separate discussion entirely. I've followed every article and PDF KACE has ever released on how to create a netboot image, but nothing works like it should. I found out that in order to create a netboot set with OS X 10.9 Mavericks, you have to do the following:
  1. Download OS X Mavericks from the Apple App Store
  2. Navigate to Library > Applications
  3. CTRL+Click on "Install OS X Mavericks" and select "Show Package Contents"
  4. Navigate to Contents > Shared Support, and double click "InstallESD.dmg". This will mount the OS X installer
  5. Open the K2000 Media Manager, and browse to the mounted .dmg as your source media. Enter the rest of the information appropriately, and create

If you don't do it like this, you will get errors from the media manager about how there is no software to install, or the path to the OSInstall.pkg could not be found, etc etc. Don't bother using DiskMaker or any of the other recommended suggestions around the web. They just add a layer of confusion.

 

Hopefully KACE can come up with some better designs for these solutions going forward, because it's honestly easier to set up DeployStudio with masters and replicas. At least they get nightly build updates.