Apple has released a new tool to systems administrators, allowing them to use non-Apple hardware to host an internal Apple Software Update service, a feat made possible by Reposado, an open-source project developed by IT admins at Walt Disney.
Running your own Software Update Server allows you to test updates for hardware and software conflicts before deploying them across all your machines. It also allows you to economize on bandwidth, downloading each update just once instead of having everyone in the company download it separately.
Until now, you’ve needed to run such a server exclusively on Apple hardware running Mac OS X Server. Now, Disney Animation Studios’ Reposado lets you run your Update Server on any hardware and software server you like.
This really is a god development, even though it doesn’t sound like all that much – what it really means is that finally, system administrators can truly manage their own software server in a way that works bets for them.
Written in Python, the software hosts the updates using the ‘curl’ binary tool and a web server like Apache 2. You can setup custom branches to organize updates and keep track of those that passed testing. If you work in a mixed environment with some machines running 10.6.7 and others on an older version of OS x, you can also use Reposado to serve different updates to different machines.