updated 09:12 pm EDT, Wed June 27, 2012
Revamped organization, features aimed at small business
Apple has quietly made available a 25-page PDF detailing changes in the forthcoming Server version of Mountain Lion, which is expected to be released next month alongside the client version. The document details significant changes in the layout and organization of features, along with some notable changes to the Server application that debuted in Lion Server, which now handles more of the administrative duties.
The former Server Admin console has been replaced by an expanded role for the Server app and the Profile Manager, which has also expanded in scope. Advanced controls such as Open Directory and Managed Preferences now appear in the Profile Manager, which works with both iOS and Mac devices. Advanced functions such as NetInstall and Software Update Service are now folded into the Server application.
A few items have changes names, such as iChat Server now being called Messages Server, the new Calendar Server (rather than iCal Server) and Contacts Server, as these features are being renamed in Mountain Lion to provide continuity with the names in iOS 5 and later. The iOS influence is also seen in the use of identical Configuration Profiles to manage both Macs and iOS devices.
The iOS side of Mountain Lion Server does gain something from the Mac as well -- the concept of self-enrollment and service. A new web portal lets users enroll their own iOS devices and will automatically configure the devices for system management, including Remote Wipe if necessary. Apple has also preserved the System Image Utility and highly-regarded wiki service, the latter of which has received a design overhaul to make it more iOS-friendly.
The product overview guide, which is featured on a page dealing with Lion Server and makes no outward obvious reference to Mountain Lion, was uncovered by Cult of Mac and is the first documentation on the Server version to go into any detail. As the site notes, the revisions and changes to Mountain Lion Server paint a picture of an OS X implementation much more geared to smaller and medium businesses than the enterprise, an area Apple has all but given up in terms of hardware but continues to court in other ways. [via Cult of Mac]