IT Innovation Contest

A team-based contest for creative IT solutions

UCSF Mac Imaging Solution

Proposal Status: 

Apple Macintosh computers make up approximately ⅓ of the desktops and laptops at UCSF, numbering between 5000-7500 devices.  With the introduction of the UC Berkeley – UCSF Joint Administrative Computing Standards (JACS) program, most UCSF Macs are standard configurations.  This standardization simplifies desktop support issues, but to fully realize the cost savings and efficiencies standards can bring we need a common imaging solution.

A lack of platform consistency leads to problems supporting enterprise-wide initiatives like encryption, email consolidation, supporting clinical applications, etc.  These initiatives require more planning, staffing, and time to complete, greatly increasing their costs.  By supporting a variety of platforms and systems for our customers, we have limited our options when selecting and deploying new systems to support the enterprise.

Creating a common Mac image for UCSF would eliminate duplicate effort and expense across the enterprise.  Each Mac support group researches, selects, purchases, and deploys its own solution.  Many smaller IT groups lack the resources to research and purchase their own solutions, and often build and deploy systems manually.  Standardizing on a single solution would support the OE aims of lowering the cost, decreasing the deployment time, and improving the support experience for Mac users at UCSF.

Our team of Mac imaging, deployment, and support experts includes

  1. Andrew Riley, subject matter expert (SOM ISU) – image QA and deployment (18% effort)
  2. Jerry Tung, user (ITS DLS) – image testing and patching (18% effort)
  3. Erik Wieland, visionary (DOM IT) – project management, documentation, and procurement (18% effort)
  4. Wesley Yip, technologist (Radiology IT) – image development and packaging (18% effort)

Our team will deliver the following

  1. Image Requirements - Create a set of minimum requirements for the image, and agree on a framework for reviewing and updating the image on a regular basis.
  2. Standard Image - Create a standard Mac image, using the latest supported version of Mac OS X and a common set of software packages.
  3. Deployment System Requirements - Create a set of minimum requirements for an image deployment system, and research solutions that fit these criteria.
  4. Deployment System Shootout - Perform a “shootout” between imaging solutions that meet these requirements, and select our preferred product.
  5. Deployment System Prototype - Create a prototype deployment system as a proof of concept.
  6. Deployment System Cost Estimate - Document the cost and effort required to put the system into production, and making it available to any group supporting Macs at UCSF.
  7. Functional System Prototype - Deliver the prototype and recommendations to ITS Customer Services, under Sian Shumway.  Sian has agreed to own and support the system.
  8. Documentation and Communications Framework - Create a Chatter/web/wiki space for communicating with the UCSF Mac support community.


There are indeed far reaching benefits from this project. As noted, Macs are fairly ubiquitous at UCSF, and a common standard imaging solution would result in devices that are more easily supported, and drive down support costs.

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