Administration of software packages on the Mac platform can often be daunting. Google’s Mac Operations and Security teams evaluated several solutions for OS X package deployment, but unfortunately none of them met all of our required features. We decided to build our own solution to do the following:
- Deploy new or updated software by targeting a single Mac or tens of thousands.
- Push security patches, whether the Mac is on an internal network/VPN or not.
- Force mandatory installation of some packages, while allowing others to be optional.
- Tightly manage Apple-provided updates.
- Scale without deploying and maintaining additional server infrastructure.
- Obtain reports on all of this and the fleet overall.
Today we are open-sourcing Simian, our solution to enterprise-class Mac OS X package deployment. Simian uses App Engine-based hosting to scale with the needs of your growing enterprise, and a Munki-based client which will continue to evolve through the outstanding work of Greg Neagle and the Munki community. We hope this to be the first of many announcements in sharing Google’s unique IT approach with the larger community.
By John Randolph and Justin McWilliams, Google Corporate Platforms Engineering Team