Earlier this year Apple announced a shift for macOS Server. Since writing up that article I have been thinking about some directions that Apple could take macOS Server. I have a couple of ideas, and thought I would share them.
Per Apple, the primary focus for macOS Server going forward will be device and storage management. Device Management within macOS Server is handled through Apple’s Profile Manager service. One of the primary tasks with Profile Manager is to be able to restrict functions on iOS devices. With this being the focus, there is a possibility for some expansions. This is great for solution companies, but what about individuals?
Profile Manager can be installed, and managed by just about anyone. The tricky part is that some of the settings are not easy to understand and determine how they affect operating of an iOS device. Most of the setting are somewhat self-explanatory, for those more technologically inclined. What if Apple were to make profile manager non-techie friendly? This is my first idea.
User-Friendly Profile Manager
There are many different aspects to iOS that can be configured with Profile Manager, but many users are not like myself, and are able to understand what impact each of those settings could have, when they are set. I would love to see Apple create a cloud-based management portal for non-techies. In particular, one that can allow parents to manage their children’s iOS devices.
Many parents would love to see the ability to limit the days and times that the iOS devices that their child has can be operated. In addition, they would also like to be able to allow certain applications all the time, like apps for school work, or maybe evening learning applications.
In order for Apple to provide this type of service, additional and more granular restrictions would be needed for iOS, but providing this type of service, as well as the restrictions, would go a long way to helping parents keep an eye on what their children are using.
The reason for making this could based, instead of just iOS-based, would be so a parent could adjust settings from anywhere. It would also be useful to have an app for the
Cloud-based Profile Manager
One of the other ideas that I have pondered, is one where Apple provides a cloud-based profile manager, similar to its current form, just cloud-based instead of on-premise. This would not necessarily replace profile manager for those who host it within their company, but could allow smaller companies to get into Profile Manager without needing to have a server on-site.
Profile Manager requires an Open Directory server to connect to. This means that you either have to have one on the same server as the profile manager server, or one that can connect.
Providing this service would require an additional Open Directory server to be present on the Profile Manager server. This server could be a secondary server, but one would be necessary. If a company is only hosting their profile management server in the cloud, then it would make configuration a lot easier.
Providing a cloud-based profile manager server could be a benefit smaller companies who would want to be able to have the ability to control devices, but do not have the internal expertise to manage a macOS Server. Similarly, this could help Apple add to its services revenue, which could help in the long run.
These are just a couple of ideas for where Apple could take macOS Server. Only time will tell if this is the direction Apple will take macOS Server or not.