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Cloned Image: Overview and Preparation

Creation of a cloned system image suitable for deployment involves just a few main steps:

  1. On a model system, install and update all necessary software, configure system settings, and perform any additional customizations.
  2. Purge the model system of files not suited for deployment.
  3. Use the Disk Utility application or the hdiutil command to copy the model system to a read-only (optionally compressed) disk image.
  4. Use the Disk Utility application or the asr command to prepare the system image for deployment.

The first step, configuring the model system, will require the most time and expertise. Assuming you meet the prerequisite level of knowledge suggested by this guide, equivalent to the requirements for Apple Certified Technical Coordinator certification, you should already have a good idea of how to configure your model system. Further, the previous two sections in this chapter, “Integrating with Managed Preferences” and “Customizing System Configuration,” provide additional techniques for system management and customization that you should consider including with your system image.

Required Equipment

To create a cloned system image, you need either two Mac computers or one Mac with two bootable volumes that have Mac OS X v10.6 installed.

If you have two Mac computers, one will be used to build the model system, and the second will be used to create the cloned system image. In this case both Macs will need to be equipped with built-in FireWire ports. You will also need a FireWire cable to connect the two so you can clone the model system to the creation system. If you are working with a Mac that does not have a FireWire port, you should use the suggested techniques for working with a single Mac.

If you are working with a single Mac, you will need two separate bootable volumes, one volume will be used to build the model system, and the other volume will be used to create the cloned system image. You could accomplish this with a single internal drive with two partitions, but a more flexible solution is to use the internal drive as the model system and the external drive as the creation system.

Finally, make sure that both the model and creation volumes have enough room to build your cloned system image. The model volume needs enough room to install the system and any additional items you intend to deploy, and the creation volume needs at least twice the available space used on the model volume. Thus, if your model volume uses 10 GB of storage space, your creation volume needs 20 GB of available space.

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