The University of Melbourne

Apple management upgrade a success for University of Melbourne

The technology demands of staff and students in the modern higher education environment continue to evolve, with expectations always on the rise. At the University of Melbourne, a large proportion of staff and students use Apple devices for day-to-day activities – estimates suggest as many as 2,500 people.

Overseeing this kind of environment is a tough task for any organisation, leading the university’s Information Technology Services (ITS) department to embark on a project to upgrade its Apple management and packaging tools.

The Challenge

Upgrading of Apple management and packaging tools to cater for an estimated 2,500 Apple device users on campus.

The Solution

Configuration of imaging and management services, migration of existing university content, development of an OS X Managed Operating Environment (MOE) and development of technical migration artefacts to the new MOE.

The Benefits

Apple device management functionality that meets all initial criteria. Large savings in time, money and resources.

Our strategy was always to look for a credible, experienced Mac/Casper supplier and development partner.

Dennis Norgard Project Manager
The University of Melbourne

The Challenge

Dennis Norgard, project manager of the ITS department’s Workspace Program at the University of Melbourne, admits the previous Apple management environment was less sophisticated than a similar set-up for Windows PCs.

“Core maintenance activities such as patching, anti-virus, software distribution and asset discovery were either lacking, or utilised un-scalable and unreliable ad hoc solutions largely built using open source solutions,” he explains.

The shortcomings of this mixture of technologies and solutions quickly became apparent, Dennis adds, making the search for a new platform a necessity.

Upgrading Apple management tools was therefore seen as essential to achieving standardisation, while also reducing risk and lowering the cost of ownership and support for Mac devices.

The Solution

Dennis Norgard says the ITS department had specific requirements when looking for the right solution, with core functionality to manage up to 2,500 devices a must.

The solution needed to provide a number of services, including:

  • Image deployment
  • Software distribution
  • Patch management
  • Settings management
  • Remote control
  • Inventory
  • A self-service application portal
  • Outsourced Casper Suite infrastructure support
  • Configuration of all the above services, as well as migration of existing university content where appropriate
  • Development of OS X Mountain Lion Mac Managed Operating Environment (MOE)
  • Development of technical migration artefacts to facilitate bulk migration of existing university Macs from OS X 10.4-10.7 to the new MOE

And according to Dennis, CompNow was able to provide the experience and expertise to make these objectives a reality.

“Our strategy was always to look for a credible, experienced Mac/Casper supplier and development partner,” he states.

“They were the only credible company operating in Melbourne in the relevant technical space.”

The Casper Suite configuration threw up a number of technical challenges, due in part to the complexity of the university’s network infrastructure and the large-scale nature of the project.

“However, the challenges were overcome with solid work ethic and contributions from everyone on the team,” he says.

“We have an outstandingly successful Casper installation – the functionality of which is the envy of our Windows users!”

Dennis confirms that not only have the original objectives of the project been achieved, the upgrade has saved significant time, money and resources.

About the Solution

CompNow customised service solution, incorporating management for thousands of devices using cloud based infrastucture.

Complete software update / packaging service allowing customised installs.

Managed service offering for 2nd and 3rd level helpdesk support for complex support issues.
All bound together from implementation with a scoping delivery project plan and follow-up into the ongoing phase of continued delivery