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Panther Server Part II: A look at the Server Admin tool

By Yuval Kossovsky
November 20, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - In the previous version of Apple Mac OS X Server (10.2), service parameters were managed through a graphical user interface (GUI) tool called Server Settings, while log files for each of those services were read using a tool called Server Status. For the latest X Server release, Version 10.3, or Panther, the functionality of both of those tools, plus a bit more, has been combined into a single utility called Server Admin. What follows is a look at the new GUI, with screenshots and explanations of what I believe are the best new features.
The Server Admin tool is configured much like the Server Status tool was, except that "chicklets" now replace the tab selectors -- a stylistic change that reflects the updated look of Panther. Also, the last option under each tab allows you to alter the settings for the corresponding service. Convenient.
On the general tab, two improvements stick out for me. The first is the addition of a filter option that allows for quick sifting of a log file for a specific text string. For those looking for a single user log-on after several days of access, this is a welcome feature. The general tab also provides access to the software update feature, allowing administrators to remotely update their server without logging in (and oftentimes without restarting the entire box).

Panther Server Part II

Nothing has changed in the AFP options from Jaguar, except for a secure connections checkbox. Application Server manages the JBoss and Tomcat services used in serving applets to Web clients.
The DHCP server is much improved. In the previous release, I had the unfortunate experience where my DHCP server would get an IP request, decide that the client should actually be requesting a different IP and then deny the client request. Nothing more could be done, and the client wouldn't get an IP until I changed the machine name. I'm happy to say that that bug has been squashed in Panther, and even if I restart a client 500 times in a short period and/or boot 20 clients with the same DHCP name (and then change them to individual names), the DHCP server handles the work gracefully. On the administration side, the only major change to DHCP service management is the addition of a WINS tab. This is needed to support Windows primary domain controller (PDC) emulation, but it also makes the Panther server a better corporate citizen in the primarily Windows-based corporate environment.
Panther Server Part II

The DNS tab has been greatly revised from Jaguar, where it was simply an on/off switch, with configuration

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