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Software Update Server

A Software Update server enables you to manage Macintosh client updates on your network. In an uncontrolled environment, users may connect to the Apple Software Update servers at any time and update client computers with software that your IT group has not approved for use in your organization.

Using local Software Update servers, your client computers access only the software updates that you allow from software lists that you control, thus giving you more flexibility in managing computer software updates. For example, you can:

  • Download software updates from the Apple Software Update servers to a local server for sharing with local network clients and reduce the amount of bandwidth used outside of your enterprise network.
  • Direct users, groups, and computers to specific local Software Update servers using managed preferences.
  • Manage the software-update packages users can access by enabling and disabling individual packages on the local server.
  • Mirror updates automatically between Apple Software Update servers and your server to ensure that you have the most current updates available.

Very little configuration is required to set up the Software Update server. The primary configuration you need to do is to determine if your server will automatically download all updates and provide them to your users. This is specified in Server Admin.

Before you set up Software Update service, you need to consider whether you want to provide all or only part of Apple's software updates. Your client computers may run application software that requires a specific version of Apple software in order for it to operate correctly. To prevent your users from installing updates that might be incompatible with your applications, you can configure your Software Update server with only the software-update packages that you approve. Restricting access to particular update packages might help prevent future maintenance and compatibility problems with your computers.

You can set client access to only specific update packages through Software Update Server by disabling automatic mirroring and enabling functions in the General pane. Regardless of the settings in the General pane, your server will automatically synchronize with the Apple Software Update server by requesting a catalog of available updates. If the “Automatically mirror updates from Apple” and “Automatically enable mirrored updates” options are not selected in the General pane, you can specify which updates to download (mirror) and which ones to enable in the Updates pane.

If your clients are having problems using your server to update their computers, check the Updates pane to make sure the updates are both mirrored and enabled. Also make sure required previous updates are installed. If you are not providing the full updates, note that if a client computer skips an earlier update, it will not install the most recent update until it has all of the previous updates installed.

If you are experiencing poor response from a server, this may indicate a high load on the server. Try reducing the maximum user bandwidth in the General pane.

If your server is not receiving updates from Apple, make sure that your firewall is allowing your server access through port 63000.

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