I am in the midst of testing our “institutional model” deployment for 1st - 4th grade this coming school year. We will be using Apple Configurator (AC) to manage and sync all our iPads along with Casper MDM. We will also use a Bretford cart for each grade that will manage and sync 3 classes of iPads. Using Casper as my tool I am able to clone AC from our “Master computer” to a second, third… and so on for additional sync stations.
In my initial testing I created a sync station on a White Mac Book and used it to fully set up AC and a few iPads. I then used Composer from casper and their “preinstalled software" configuration to capture AC on the Master computer. Using Composer was very easy as the guys at JAMF have figured out what files are needed to truly "clone" AC to another computer. (I think composer is available as a stand alone product if you do not use Casper to manage your computers and iOS devices) Then I used Remote (another part of the casper suite, you could use ARD as composer can make a DMG or PGK) to install AC and all the necessary files onto another computer, this time a MBP.
The Results thus far:
- The devices were fine moving from one computer to another and were seen in AC and correctly managed
- The VPP codes (unused on the master) were showing the same count on the second.
- All profiles were available and usable
- The second computer had no issues managing the iPad as if it was the original sync computer (had to authorize iTunes)
- I was able to install and remove apps (free and paid) and profiles on both computers
- After installing a VPP app on one computer I plugged it into the other. The app was not removed as I had the pref. not to do so set in AC prefs. It also didn’t change the count on the app, I was not expecting it to.
- When I unsupervised a device on one computer and then plugged it into the other it still showed as connected with a green light but would error out if I tried any management commands. If I walked the now unsupervised iPad past the setup assistant I was able to “unsupervise” it, a second time. This did nothing to the iPad but it did clear out the supervise section on the second computer.
I am planing to try a bunch more test as there are many more possibilities that need to be vetted. I am not certain exactly how I plan to use this functionality that Casper brings me but I am certain it will be very handy. Since there is no way to sync and automate this “cloning” I don’t know how often I will use this.
My initial idea is to have a master sync station that I could clone into a few more so there are more places for students to sync. Eliminating the bottleneck of waiting in line. I’m not sure the need to have more sync stations out ways the effort of setting it all up.
I do know this will be a very nice way to upgrade hardware and move AC from one computer to another without much pain!