Simian is in short a Munki server that sits on Google’s App engine. Compared to the web server that you could build to use as a Munki server it has some cool additions like:
- Manage Apple SUS with auto-promotion!
- Collect client logs when needed
- Client-Server and Server-Client authentication based on SSL certificates
- Client statistics like uptime, free disk space, Munki and Simian versions, OS X version, off-corp time (requires your own script logic), stolen status…
- Logs which admin modified what
- And obviously being cloud-based. But that is something you could also do yourself
The three major drawbacks that I could think of would be:
- Managing the certificates can quickly become a mess if processes are not in place. Generating, signing, deploying and revoking certificates are usually not easy tasks.
- Price? from my testing I don’t think this will be an issue for any business, but hey who knows what budget you’re dealing with.
- Being in someone else’s hands. Hosting things in the cloud and having a control panel there that can potentially compromise you whole client base is worth discussing internally.
For the Munki admins out there I’d say that Simian has a slightly different way of doing things, but it is nothing you can’t get around with some practice.
As I did recently for MunkiReport-php2 I have put together a demo site for you to check it out live. Click on the following image and authenticate with a valid Gmail account to play with the console.
PS: Today I’m a happy admin with my internal Munki, Munkireport and Reposado servers for managing software on my clients.
Different opinions are always welcome.