Installing and using DeployStudio

Installing DeployStudio

First of all download the latest DeployStudio from their homepage(link). The instructions on their site are pretty clear for installation. First, run the installer and install DeployStudio. Then run the DeployStudio Assistant to setup your DeployStudio Server (Start the DeployStudio server when it prompts you).
Set the server address to your server, don’t change the port, set administrative account.
The next screen will allow you to choose whether or not your want your server to be a replica or to be a master.
After that, DS Assistant will ask your to choose where you want your repository, choose a network sharepoint (have an AFP sharepoint set up previously for this). Set the URL and authentication, don’t worry about the ‘advanced parameters’. If you have a mail-server then you can have DS send you mail upon completing a workflow (LTR). While it isn’t critical, it is recommended that you have a SSL certificate with which you can secure network traffic (i.e. the next step), in this step you also choose which interface you want DS to communicate over.
If you have an OD up and running and would like to designate multiple administrators for DeployStudio, you can drag/drop their groups in the next step into the appropriate places. Hit “Continue” and then hit “Continue” again… the options that you have skipped related to multicasting (which is still buggy over subnets). DeployStudio will now tell you setup is done, and your server is ready to use!

Using DeployStudio

Using DeployStudio is easier than setting it up. There is one thing you want to consider before jumping in though, are you going to deploy a monolithic image or a tiered build? There are advantages and disadvantages of both:
Monolithic Build:

Advantages Disadvantages
Easy to build
safe to deploy
takes forever to deploy
hard to customize

Tiered Build:

Advantages Disadvantages
low network load
easy to pinpoint mistakes in workflow
Can be difficult to build custom packages
if a package isn’t configured properly, it’ll fail

While DS is great at deploying images in general, it’s my opinion that it’s best suited for the tiered build. Firstly, if there are procedures that Deploy Studio cannot handle in a workflow (i.e. setting up ldap connection to culdap), do them on the base image. Update the OS software on the base image and then netboot to the DS server via the bless command (sudo bless –netboot –server bsdp://your.DS.server.dns) and reboot. The machine will reboot to DS at which point you can make an image of the machine via one of the default workflows (“Create a Master From a Volume”). Once the image is made you can deploy it to any machine that boots to the DS server with another one of the default workflows (“Restore a master on a volume”).
With the base image ready, prepare software .pkgs/mpkgs for any software you wish to install and place them in the DS server’s package repository. Next open DS Admin and create a workflow. The ideal workflow should include the following steps (these are all drag and drops):
1. Partition Drive
2. Restore Image (restore your base)
3. Firmware lock
3. Install pkg (one of these each for each pkg you want to install)
note: you want to check on “postpone installation” so that it will install on the first launch.
4. Software Update (also postpone until reboot).

The main difference between the tiered build workflow and the monolithic workflow is step 3 in which the packages are installed. Also before creating the base image make sure to turn off the airport (otherwise the software update gets stuck). That more or less covers installing and running the basic Deploy Studio setup.