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We have just added a few iMacs to our system and we've found that they all want to download about 1.6 GB of updates... not so great when we only have limited monthly bandwidth!

All of our Windows machines just use WSUS, which works great in our environment. It'd be nice if we could do the same for the iMacs without purchasing an additional Mac for a server role.

So is it possible to run Apple's Software Update Server on a Windows server? Or do we need to look at purchasing a Mac in order to distribute updates across our clients?

Alternatively, could we set up one of the iMacs to run the update server for the other iMacs whilst it is being used as a standard machine (ie, not installing OSX server, and keeping it available for staff to use)?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Looks like this can be done with some rsync trickery.

Though you just might need your own MAC server (or at least a single mac you can pull updates from) to pull it off.

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Yep, still needs the Mac server to actually get the update catalog. A great stepping stone article though - once we get past that first step, of course :). – Matthew Iselin Feb 22 '11 at 5:54

You could try running Google's Open Source simian, or munki depending on your needs. You don't need a dedicated server for simian, just run it from Google App Engine.


munki is a set of tools that, used together with a webserver-based repository of packages and package metadata, can be used by OS X administrators to manage software installs (and in many cases removals) on OS X client machines ...

Additionally, munki can be configured to install Apple Software Updates, either from Apple's server, or yours.


Simian provides an entire server, ready to run on App Engine, which Munki clients connect to.

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It seems both need the update catalog, which AFAIK you can't get without the update server on a Mac server. That's okay though, I asked to get an idea of what's possible and what's not - both these projects are likely to be getting looked at if we do end up purchasing a Mac server. – Matthew Iselin Feb 22 '11 at 5:55

The Munki site led me to 'Reposado'

Reposado is a set of tools written in Python that replicate the key functionality of Mac OS X Server's Software Update Service..

I have no way to try this but if you try it, let us know how it goes for you. :)

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