A primer in OS X Server's Profile Manager

A primer in Profile Manager: Manage your server remotely

How to use remote management with OS X El Capitan Server.

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This is part 4 in a multi-part series on setting up Profile Manager to manage your Mac OS, iOS, and Apple TV devices. To start the series at the beginning, have a look at the last three articles:

At the end of our last episode, we enabled your server for remote access. Enabling your server’s remote management features allows you to remotely control your server’s screen, and use the Server app to remotely manage services on your server.

Now it’s time to check and see if remote management works. To perform this part of the setup you’re going to need another Mac with server installed.

Before we begin, double-check to make sure that both Screen Sharing and Apple Remote Desktop app and Using Server app on a remote Mac are checked under the Settings tab in the server app.

  1. Click your server’s name in the sidebar of the Server app.
  2. Click the Settings tab.
    servertab
  3. Verify that both the screen sharing and remote access options are selected.
    settingsselected

Screen sharing

The first service we’ll verify is screen sharing, to make sure we can connect remotely to our server and control its screen. In order to perform this task, you’ll need to have another Mac you can use that is on the same network as your server.

  1. Open a Finder window and locate and click your server in the sidebar. If you can’t locate your server in the sidebar, open the Finder’s Go Menu, click the Network menu item and locate your server in the list of servers that appear.
  2. With your server selected, click the Share Screen button.
    sharescreen
    Note: Depending on the Finder view you’ve chosen, it’s possible you won’t see the Share Screen button. If you don’t, click the Finder’s Show Items In Columns button.
    finderview
  3. After clicking the Share Screen button, you should see an authentication window. Enter your server’s administrative user ID and password.
    authentication

Once you’ve authenticated you should be able to control your server remotely.

Leave the screen sharing session open for a few minutes so we can compare differences between a screen sharing session and a remote management session.

Remote management

The second sharing feature we enabled was remote server management, which allows you to remotely manage services on your server using the Server app on another Mac. In order to use this feature, you have to download the Server app in the computer you want to use to remotely manage your server.

  1. Open the App Store app.
  2. Click the Purchased tab.
  3. Locate the Server app and click the Download button.
  4. Once the app is downloaded, drag it from the Applications folder to the Dock, just as we did in part 2 of the Primer.
  5. Open the Server app.

It’s very important that you select your server from the list of servers in the Choose a Mac window that appears when you open the Server app. If you choose This Mac and click Continue the Server app will begin setting up services on your administrative Mac. If you do not see the Choose a Mac window when you open the app, select the Server app’s Manage menu and select “Connect to server.”

From the Choose a Mac window:

connecttoserver
  1. Select your server.
  2. Click continue.
  3. Enter the name and password for your administrator and click Connect. After connecting to your server, you may see a message stating that your server is using an untrusted SSL certificate.
    certificate
    If you see this:
  4. Choose the option to trust the certificate.
  5. Click continue.
  6. Enter your current computer’s administrative user ID and password.

Once you’ve completed these steps the Server app will open displaying information about your server. Compare the server app running remotely with the server app running in your screen sharing session, you should see that it looks exactly the same with one exception: Under Server’s Settings tab your remote app cannot make changes to the Remote Access setting for using the Server app on a remote Mac.

Next: We’ll set up Open Directory so we can begin managing devices using profile manager.

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