In-Depth with Mac OS X Lion Serverby Andrew Cunningham on August 2, 2011 8:00 AM EST
If you’ve played around with iOS management at all, you might be familiar with the iPhone Configuration Utility that Apple has been maintaining for awhile now. Basically, it creates XML files with .mobileconfig extensions that can be downloaded to iOS devices and used to configure most of the device’s settings, from email to VPN to password requirements.
Since we’ve already configured our Open Directory, Profile Manager should start up without much fuss. Note that if you have other services running on your server that you’ve configured with Server.app (such as Mail, VPN, iCal, etc.), these will automatically be available to all of your users as a default configuration profile - that profile’s name and settings can easily be changed, and it can be turned off entirely if you want.
Now, open the Profile Manager (either by clicking the link in Server.app or typing <yourservername>/profilemanager into a browser and log in as the Directory Administrator account you made earlier. As an administrator, you should see all the users and groups with which you’ve populated your directory.
Go ahead and make a change or two - I want to make my iOS users use a passcode to lock their devices, while is available under Passcode - and when you’re done, click OK. You should now see an entry for every payload you configured under Settings. Cick Save to make your changes permanent, or Revert to discard.
Now, on my iPhone (you can use a Mac for this step too, as long as there’s an applicable setting to manage), I’ll navigate to the Profile Manager and login as a member of the group I just edited. Now, in addition to the Settings for Everyone option, the Settings for Workgroup profile is also ready to download and install.
Note that any profile installed this way will need to be refreshed manually in the event of updates.
For those of you who are interested in more active management of devices, you’ll have to go back to Server.app and enable Device Management.
You’ll need an SSL certificate to enable secure communication between your devices and your server - this isn’t going to work without a signed SSL certificate, at least not that I saw (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong in the comments), but we can still go through Device Management’s basic implementation.
Next, you’ll have to install a separate Apple Push Notification certificate to enable Push Notifications for your server and its clients. The only place to get one is from Apple, and the only way to do it is to associate an Apple ID with your server, though it doesn't cost anything extra.
If everything checks out, you should be told that your server meets all the Profile Manager requirements. Now, go ahead and start the Profile Manager by clicking the link in the lower right-hand corner of the window.
Now, if I take my iPhone to the Profile Manager site, there’s a second tab available with a giant “Enroll” button visible.
Clicking Enroll will establish a link between your device and the server - this will allow your server admin to update settings on your device, send out notifications, and even remotely lock and/or wipe your device in the event of theft.
Keep in mind that all of this is true both for iOS devices and Macs running Lion. While some of the iOS elements in Lion feel awkward and grafted on, Profile Manager really shows the promise of merging the two operating systems: it’s not just about making them look and act the same, but it’s also about making their management similar enough that it reduces time and money spent wrangling different management tools to manage the different OSes.