Apple Magic Triangle Deployment Results

Posted: October 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Active Directory, DNS, Kerberos, LDAP, Mac OS X Server, Migrate, Snow Leopard | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

This is a follow up to my last blog entry: Magic Triangle Setup with Windows File Server backed Portable Home Directories. Myself and a team of amazing people deployed the Magic Triangle solution in an architectural firm that recently was involved in a merger and needed to be brought into one unified “domain.” I place that word in quotations after some disagreements and long discussions with AD administrators as to the default definition of the word. Before we begin let’s just go over our Magic Triangle deployment and the roles of our servers.

  • vandc01.tld.ca is the local AD domain controller.
  • vanfile.tld.ca is the Windows based file server for all network home directories
  • od01.tld.ca is the Open Directory server which was also bound to AD
  • od02.tld.ca is the OD replica and netboot server for Deploy Studio
  • For all intensive purposes, the migration went fairly smoothly. The client was quite happy with the result, although the users of the network do not have as fast of a desktop environment as they did with a pure Macintosh network. The final outcome was Mac clients bound to both AD and OD. AD handled all the user and group authentication and authorization while OD took care of computer and group client management through MCX. I put a standard computer heirarchy in place on the OD side for computer group so different settings could be applied to different sets of computers. Such as, making all laptops automatically create portable home directories and install the HomeSync menu in the top menu bar. However, there was one very strange problem I encountered while binding the Macintosh clients to the Open Directory server.

    Normally, when you set “Require authenticated binding between directory and clients” to on in Server Admin the Mac client will prompt you for directory administrator credentials when binding a client. However, this was not happening for us. We were using 10.6.4 server and client everywhere, yet the clients were just not asking for authentication. Thus, a computer record was not being generated on the server side. What I did for the first few test cases was create computer records manually inside of Workgroup Manager, but this was not fun and tedious.

    Update: One of my readers, JJ, pointed out a great kb article from Apple on how to require directory authentication while binding. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4068 End of Update

    I whipped up a quick AppleScript to bind the clients for me, this script had the diradmin login and pass embedded in it which I know is not best practice yet it was a temporary fix. The reason for using the script is so that the command line utility dsconfigldap is passed the ‘-f’ flag which forces the client to authenticate to the directory server.

    The script is as follows:


    tell application "Terminal"
    do shell script "dsconfigldap -u diradmin -p 'diradminpass' -f -a od01.tld.ca -c `hostname` -n od01.tld.ca -l localsudouser -q localsudopass -v > /Users/Shared/odbind.log" with administrator privileges
    do shell script "echo 'Writing Search policy to plists' >> /Users/Shared/odbind.log" with administrator privileges
    do shell script "defaults write /Library/Preferences/DirectoryService/SearchNodeConfig 'Search Node Custom Path Array' -array '/LDAPv3/od01.tld.ca'" with administrator privileges
    do shell script "defaults write /Library/Preferences/DirectoryService/SearchNodeConfig 'Search Policy' -int 3" with administrator privileges
    do shell script "defaults write /Library/Preferences/DirectoryService/ContactsNodeConfig 'Search Node Custom Path Array' -array '/LDAPv3/od01.tld.ca'" with administrator privileges
    do shell script "defaults write /Library/Preferences/DirectoryService/ContactsNodeConfig 'Search Policy' -int 3" with administrator privileges
    do shell script "echo 'Successfully added the Open Directory server to your search path' >> /Users/Shared/odbind.log" with administrator privileges
    do shell script "echo 'Writing LDAP in your search paths' >> /Users/Shared/odbind.log" with administrator privileges
    do shell script "dscl /Search -append / CSPSearchPath /LDAPv3/od01.tld.ca" with administrator privileges
    do shell script "dscl /Search/Contacts -append / CSPSearchPath /LDAPv3/od01.tld.ca" with administrator privileges
    end tell
    tell application "Finder"
    activate
    display dialog "Computer is now bound to Open Directory as " & (do shell script "hostname")
    end tell

    File Migration from Apple Filer to Windows Filer

    This was one of the more challenging issues at hand. We had a whole bunch of OD user’s home folders on two Apple XRAIDs served out via AFP and needed to move the data to the Windows Filer using SMB. What we ended up doing is creating an LACP link to a MacPro and using the following script to migrate the users one by one.

    syncit.sh is a shell script that mounts two network homes for one user, one from AD and one from OD. It then transfers all data from OD to AD via rsync. To make this script work it depends on a couple things.

  • The users to be migrated are entered into a file called ‘users’ with NO extension in the following format
    1. oduser:aduser
      oduser:aduser
      oduser:aduser
      oduser:aduser
      oduser:aduser
  • When the script executes it will create the folder /Users/Shared/syncit_logs and two log files for each user. username.log username.err. The .log is all the stdout of rsync while .err is all the errors.
  • And finally when you download the script you’ll need to edit the variables at the top of the script with the FQDN’s for you file servers and shares.

    You can get the script here.

    Caveats

    Home Directory Ghost Mount
    One issue that we’ve seen appear more than once is home directory ghost mounting. When a user logs out of their profile sometimes their home directory does not unmount cleanly. As a result when the user tries to log in again on the same workstation they are unable to due to the computer believing the home directory is already mounted. This may also affect logins of the same user account to other workstations due to the home directory filer not timing out the mount session.

    Slow Network File System Access
    There have been at times severe client stalls due to slow file system access. This was noticed on literally zero network traffic congestion. This is a noted issue from many different implementations of using SMB shares for Mac home directories. Read http://www.macwindows.com/snowleopard-filesharing.html#091709k for more information. One suggested solution is to turn on Internet Sharing on the Mac client, however this is not a wise idea.

    Portable Home Directory Will Not Sync
    Sometimes homesync will become cranky. Definitely cranky. The easier and fastest way to resolve a home directory that does not sync is to perform the following.

  • Erase the contents of the users’s ~/.FileSync and ~/Library/FileSync directories.
  • Manually mount the user’s network home directory and erase the same directories on the server
  • Try the sync process again. Note: It will take longer to catalog the file system.
  • For most HomeSync problems it usually has something to do with file conflict resolution. To find out always open Console.app and look at FileSyncAgent.log. Try to perform a FileSync and watch the output of the log. If you are having problems with an initial sync try erasing the login.keychain file found in ~/Library/KeyChains on both server and client. Many times this will cause problems due to The Chicken and The Egg issues.

    Illegal Characters in File Names
    “ ‘/ \ + * ( ) [ ] are all illegal characters for file names on the Windows File Servers, as are directories or files that end in a space. As a result you may have issues creating working with these files. The Windows file server use unicode to map these characters, however there are failures often. Resolution is done by manually replacing filenames. This is also a LARGE contributor to File Sync failing.

    Summary

    Like I mentioned at the beginning everything went quite smoothly. There were of course strange things that happened through out the deployment, and the short one week runway I had to prep for this was WAY too short but in the end we pulled it off. If any of you out there are planning on deployment or need questions answer feel free to contact me via the About Me button at the top of blog!

    Update: Please check out my next post regarding HomeSync errors on an SMB server.

    Update 2: One of my readers, JJ, pointed out a great kb article from Apple on how to require directory authentication while binding. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4068



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