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I'm currently running the Apple SUS on a Mac OS X Server in a small office environment. It works well for Apple updates, but I'm still stuck with either manually downloading and installing Adobe/Microsoft updates on each computer or running them through a Squid cache, with the blind faith that Squid will keep the files I actually want to stay cached.

What is the best way to cache updates locally for applications like the Adobe Updater or Microsoft AutoUpdate? Ideally cached in such a way that I can tell which files I do or do not have cached. It would also be nice to be able to cache things for other software like Firefox and Sparkle-enabled apps, but these are usually small enough to ignore.

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Condolences on the cancellation of your platform: mactropolis.com/2010/11/08/… –  Joel Coel Nov 10 '10 at 5:36
    
Hah, actually this one is just a Mac Mini :P I didn't really think a small office needed an Xserve. –  Tim Nov 12 '10 at 3:43
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3 Answers

I use FileWave to deploy files (e.g. "Google Chrome.app") and installers (e.g. "MacOSXCombo10.6.7.pkg") to over 600 Macs. Mixed with Deploy Studio (via a NetBoot server), I have a fully automated Mac workstation deployment system.

I've also heard of (and been really fascinated by) RAdminD, Star Deploy, and Munki. Both of those are free systems that do parts of what FileWave can do, but aren't quite as robust. For example, they aren't as good at giving lists of what updates installed, didn't install, and why it didn't install. Also, FileWave can do roll-backs ("Geee.... That software has a bug. I'll just pull it back off the computers and replace it with this cached copy of the previous version for now.") and manage iOS (iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches) to a degree.

Hope that helps.

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Unfortunately, there isn't a silver bullet for this type of situation. What we do is use RADMIND to maintain the software we support. When we test software we disable the autoupdate feature (or do our best to) and then update the loadset in RADMIND once which then pulls the updates. I know others have had good luck with LANrev or something like it and while it's a paid app it has more features.

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I'm not looking for a total magic solution. Just some sort of proxy that will cache files (*.dmg, *.pkg, *.zip, etc) from select domains (adobe.com, microsoft.com. etc) in a place where, ideally, I can look at it and say "Ahh yes, it's cached installer X for product Y". I'm willing to manually run the auto update mechanisms on each computer, I just hate this infuriating design decision on their part to overlook the fact that I'll be downloading the same huge installer file over and over again if I don't hack in my own cache somewhere along the line. –  Tim Nov 12 '10 at 3:52
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For Windows systems, the "free" WSUS server will do this - and it doesn't even require active directory (by manually setting the WUServer registry key instead). Patching Adobe and other third party apps is best done by a generic patch management solution instead of the built-in auto-updater (that often fails to even work properly when users aren't local admins).

Using Squid sounds easy in theory but from what I've seen caching Windows updates isn't that easy, so it depends on how much your time is worth.

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As indicated by my specific mention of "Mac OS X Server", WSUS is not at all suited to my problem. I want to cache files from update servers, not manage software installations on Windows computers. –  Tim Jan 10 '11 at 8:46
    
Well if you want to distribute updates to Windows machines from one cached repository, you run WSUS just as you use Apple SUS for Macs. And no, WSUS isn't available on OS X and vice versa - supporting a multiplatform will at times require more than one platform running support tools ^^ (just like we'd need to run Apple SUS on a Mac server in a Windows shop to efficiently handle our Macs) A Windows Foundation server is basically "free". This is a solution to the problem, not explicitly "cache file x" because that doesn't sound anywhere near as easy to accomplish, even with squid. –  Oskar Duveborn Jan 10 '11 at 10:40
    
I have absolutely no use for WSUS - all the machines are Macs. I only mentioned Microsoft because they make Office for OS X. I tagged it macosx, and never mentioned Windows in the question. I didn't feel it necessary to specify "mac only" because almost any Linux solution can be installed on OS X, and my problem is centered around web servers which are platform-independent. I was already aware of WSUS and how it helps manage Windows systems, and I didn't ask for that. –  Tim Jan 11 '11 at 6:28
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