How to navigate the shifting sands of macOS Server

Apple's been moving to deprecate a variety of services it once supported and has now posted a Service Migration Guide for users. Here's what's important and what you should do now as you eye a migration.

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Earlier this year, the fate of macOS Server was thrown up in the air after Apple announced it would be deprecating virtually all of the components of what had been a robust solution for the SMB market. Now, Apple has posted a Service Migration Guide PDF on its support site, a 43-page document that details the services Apple will no longer support. Essentially, it's a guide to moving off macOS Server, with directions for moving to open-source alternatives that can run on the same hardware as macOS Server.

In many cases, the transition should be relatively painless, as macOS Server (and macOS as a platform) have largely implemented core services using these open-source components. So installing the "pure" version of these platforms - and migrating data to them - can be an easy process. There are, however, services that were created and maintained by Apple as part of the open-source community, and there's no guarantee those tools will be supported down the road.

With that in mind, here's what macOS Server users need to know to do a successful migration.

Consider alternatives to Apple's suggested strategy

Even though Apple is providing a migration guide to specific open-source solutions for macOS Server components, there's no reason to limit yourself to these options alone. The guide serves mainly to move users away from macOS Server as efficiently as possible. You should use this opportunity to revisit the macOS Server components used in your organization. In many cases, there are other services - many of them cloud-based - that make more sense for your needs rather than sticking with the services in Apple's guide.

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