Installation Changes in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Server

With Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple created a very different installation process than they had in previous versions of OS X. Here are the most important new aspects:

  • Lion is a 4GB download and has no DVD. The server is an additional download.

  • You cannot create a bootable disk image to make your own installer DVD.

  • The Lion installer creates a small, invisible recovery partition. After installation, you can boot from this partition by holding the Option key during startup. It gives you the options of erasing the drive and downloading the whole 4GB again.

  • You no longer have the option to do a remote install.

In order to run the Lion installer, you must be booted from the client or server versions of Mac OS X 10.6.8 or have Lion installed. If you have only one disk or partition, an upgrade install is your only choice. But a $20, 16GB USB flash drive with Snow Leopard or Lion installed on it can change that.

Another requirement is that the server Mac must be connected to the Internet during installation. The Lion Server installer downloads material during the server install process. It also gathers some information about your network during installation to further automate the setup. Also make sure any DNS or DHCP servers on your network are running.

Once you’re ready, the basic installation procedure for Lion Server for most installations is as follows:

  1. Download the Lion client installer from the Mac App Store.

    Immediately after download concludes, the installer launches.

  2. Quit the installer immediately; do not proceed.

    If you continue with the installation now, the installer will delete itself during the process. If something goes wrong with the installation, you’ll have to download the whole 4GB again.

  3. Copy the installer (which is a file called Install Mac OS X Lion) from the Applications folder to a DVD, USB flash device, or other storage device.

  4. Launch the installer and proceed through the process of installing the client.

  5. When the client installation is finished, go to the Mac App Store and download the Lion server component.

    The server installer launches after downloading.

  6. Run the server installer.

  7. After installation, configure the server (set up Open Directory, add users, and so on).

The procedure is shorter if you’re installing on a blank volume while booted from Snow Leopard or Lion Server. In this case, you can skip Steps 5, 6, and 7 because you’ll see a setup assistant that further automates the configuration of the server to your specifications.

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