We have over a thousand Mac clients, and occassionally issue changes that affect many or all of them (such as installing new software, creating local user accounts, or applying updates). I want to know what methods you use to know that your clients are up-to-date, at a glance, for we find that when some machines miss an update, it reflects rather poorly on us :)
Issuing Changes: I'm referring to using a system that push out changes, such as Casper, Puppet, radmind, Apple Remote Desktop, or even a hacked-together ssh-empowered
As for "at-a-glance", there are two primary places where I'd be glancing (especially if the information wasn't really obvious from the system that issued the changes):
- walking into a computer lab and looking at the screens (even from a distance)
- scanning a lab via Apple Remote Desktop and looking at the four custom fields.
It occurs to me that a simple change would be to change the login screen background, or to change the text on the login window. What might be even more powerful would be a way to take the standard desktop background and make an annotated copy (perhaps with some dots or text on it, to represent changes it has undergone). [Does anyone know how to do this, or should I ask it as a separate question, either here or on stackoverflow?]
The other simple change is to set one of the four ARD fields, like so:
defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteDesktop Text4 "`date +%Y-%m-%d`"
So, what do you do to know that your clients are up to date (or, alternatively, what would you like to do if you knew how to do it?)