How to Collect Hardware ID Numbers before Lion Server Installation

By John Rizzo

The first step in doing a Lion Server installation is gathering the information you will need about your Lion Server hardware and about your network equipment. This tells you where to look for the information about the Lion Server.

There are two hardware identification numbers that are useful to record if your network contains multiple servers: the MAC address and the serial number. If you’re using remote management software for multiple clients and server, this information may help you configure that software.

The MAC address doesn’t refer to the Macintosh; it’s the acronym for Media Access Control. The MAC address is a unique hardware identifier that specifies each Ethernet port or wireless network card.

In general, if a Mac has two Ethernet ports, it will have two MAC addresses. (The exception is the Xserve, which has a built-in Ethernet port that has two MAC addresses — one used by the server’s processor and the other used by the Xserve’s special Lights Out Management processor.)

The MAC address takes the form of a series of two-digit characters separated by colons, like this: 00:23:32:b5:d0: 43. Apple also refers to the MAC address as the Ethernet ID.

The serial number is a unique number that identifies every Mac. A Mac can have only one serial number, unlike a MAC address. All Macs list the serial number somewhere on the outside case. Many Macs also include the MAC address/Ethernet ID.

The Mac Pro’s serial number is written on the back side on a label located under the video ports, for example. The Xserve has a pullout tab in the middle of the rear panel.

If you can’t get to the serial number because the Mac is in a difficult-to-reach location, a Mac OS X trick has been around for many years, but even some diehard Mac fans don’t know about it: Choose Apple menu→About This Mac. Click the Mac OS X version number twice, and it changes to the hardware serial number.

Click the Mac OS X version number (left) twice to reveal the hardware serial number (right).
Click the Mac OS X version number (left) twice to reveal the hardware serial number (right).

To get the MAC address/Ethernet ID in Mac OS X 10.6 and earlier, click the More Info button to launch System Profiler. Remember that each Ethernet port and AirPort card have a MAC address, so be sure you identify the Ethernet ports that you’ll use for your network. Click Network in the left pane, and the MAC address will be listed under Ethernet in the right column.