auviso – efficiency achieved through centralised Apple administration
auviso – audio visual solutions is a technical service provider for events and media technology installations. In addition to the head office in Lucerne, the company also has subsidiaries in Basel, St. Gallen and Zurich. With around 90 employees, auviso supports both national and international projects. auviso was looking for a suitable solution for configuration of its numerous mobile Apple MacBooks – and found the perfect solution with an open-source solution called «Munki» from a&f systems ag. In an interview, Cornelius Heggli, Event Technician at auviso, explains why the migration was a complete success.
Mr Heggli, please tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Cornelius Heggli and I have been working at auviso for almost 10 years. My role is as an Event Technician but I have an IT background and originally studied to become a computer scientist. One of the companies I worked for in this role was a&f systems, then called A&F Computersysteme AG. For this reason, I am pleased to be deployed for IT-based orders at auviso.
What was the initial situation at auviso and why did you invite a&f to participate in the project?
My work colleagues and I are often away at events. The MacBooks that we need on site are completely reconfigured after each event so that they are ready for the next time they are used. Recently we have used «DeployStudio» for this. However, with the new APFS file system introduced by Apple with the new update to macOS «High Sierra 10.13», for technical reasons, the existing solution only works with a few «hacks» When we wanted to purchase new MacBooks with macOS «Catalina» 10.15 at the start 2020, it became clear that «DeployStudio» was definitely no longer an option and we needed a new solution.
Why specifically a&f systems and how is advice provided?
I still had contacts at the company from my time as an employee there, specifically Philippe Lindegger. He is an old friend of mine and I knew that a&f possessed the required knowledge to support us with this project. I looked at our starting situation with Philippe and explained exactly what we need. Munki is actually designed for centralised administration of different Apple devices. However, we needed a solution so that we could repeatedly reconfigure the devices. For this reason, we first determined internally whether Munki would be the right tool for us or whether a comprehensive and more complex MDM solution would be better. After receiving good advice from a&f, we quickly noticed that Munki perfectly met our requirements.
What was crucial for project approval and how was this subsequently implemented?
The crucial factor was probably that Munki was the right tool for us and we felt that a&f gave us good advice. I organized the appropriate hardware internally and basically bought in the expertise and services from a&f, in other words, the installation along with a very simple partnership. a&f is itself an Apple hardware supplier but at no point did it try to force the devices onto us, and I really appreciated that. I was close at hand during the installation and was able to look over the shoulder of Roger Hostettler, the Apple System Engineer from a&f, at any time. As a result, I will be able to handle simpler tasks on my own in the future and only contact the specialists at a&f for the more complex matters. I think it is good that I do not have to query every click and can implement a lot myself. This also reflects positively in the external support costs, and we are more flexible when out and about.
What are your thoughts after a few months of productive use?
At the start, we had some reservations, firstly because Munki was new territory for us. However, this scepticism was unfounded: it ran exactly as it had been sold to us and as we need it to. Even during installation, all concerns evaporated in turn and it quickly became apparent that it will function 100 percent. Initially there were still some small hurdles, however, we resolved them quickly – thanks to support from a&f. In the meantime, the system is running without any problems, it is very stable, and does not require much support. Around twice a year, we carry out an update, that is the only thing that is absolutely essential.
Cornelius Heggli, Event Technician at auviso – audio visual solutions ag