Skip to main content

Bringing the Casper Suite to Life with Virtual Test Environments

We all know that we should test before we deploy. But few of us have easy access to a testing lab and the time required to run multiple tests for different hardware models. In his presentation, Rich Trouton suggested a way to rapidly build OS X virtual machines for testing, using VMWare Fusion or ESXi.

The benefits are clear: you don't need to keep a room full of testing hardware (Rich does all his testing from a single MacBook Pro), and the setup steps can be automated to save time. As Rich puts it, "I'm always a fan of having the machine do more work and me do less work!"

Recent versions of VMWare Fusion and ESXi have added support for Apple technologies, including NetBoot and FileVault. This means you can build VMs with the same imaging workflow you use for deploying Macs in your organization (such as Casper Imaging or DeployStudio). You can also emulate specific Mac models by configuring the VM with an Apple model identifier.

This workflow can be used to test most IT management tasks before rolling out to your users:

  • New software deployment or patches, and any impact to the existing software set
  • Configuration profiles
  • FileVault 2 encryption rollout process
  • OS X remote lock

Rich provided many helpful links in his presentation, and offers his slides, notes, and resources for download at the links below:

PDF document: http://tinyurl.com/jnuc2014vmPDF

Keynote slides: http://tinyurl.com/jnuc2014vmkeynote

Watch the full video of this session now.