Announcing: Munki powered by SimpleMDM

Last updated July 24, 2020

Today we begin the technology preview for an exciting addition: Munki powered by SimpleMDM. Using Munki has traditionally required additional administrative effort to configure and maintain Munki clients and a repository. With this release, a tightly integrated, hosted Munki deployment is now available out-of-the-box for SimpleMDM admins.

What is Munki?

Munki is an open-source project that provides macOS software management functionality, including a self-service app store for the end-user. The Munki codebase is maintained by an extensive roster of leading Mac Admins and is largely considered the best macOS software management solution available.

Why use Munki in addition to SimpleMDM?

Munki layers additional app capabilities onto the native Apple MDM protocol. Whereas MDM supports installing a subset of macOS package formats, Munki supports a much wider range, including the common dmg (Apple Disk Image) format.

Additionally, Munki provides a private, self-serve app store. Employees may view the software library, install the applications that they need, and receive automatic updates as they become available.

As a testament to Munki, many Mac Admins use it even when their MDM already includes a similar offering. It’s that good.

How does Munki integrate with SimpleMDM?

SimpleMDM deploys the native, unmodified Munki client and handles integration through built-in configuration options.

Munki app deployment is configured using the same interface as is used to deploy MDM apps. Administrators are able to upload custom apps, assign them to devices, and install with a click. In this manner, an admin can view DEP PreStage, MDM device and user channel, and Munki app deployments from a single interface. No additional command line tooling nor third-party hosting services required.

The Munki client benefits from SimpleMDM’s distributed, hardened infrastructure. Communications are authenticated using per-device PKI, device attestation, and of course, MDM. Requests are served by SimpleMDM’s redundant servers and CDN (content delivery network), ensuring that software downloads are quick and reliable.

What are the benefits?

  • Install non .pkg and unsigned software: Expand app deployment capabilities to install software that was previously unavailable with native MDM alone.
  • Reduce help desk requests: Enable employees to install software on-demand, at any hour.
  • Simplify device management tooling: Consolidate app management to a single interface. No need for CLI utilities and additional web interfaces.
  • Eliminate reliance on home-spun deployments: Benefit from a managed infrastructure and eliminate the ongoing maintenance, security reviews, and investment associated with in-house infrastructure.

Common Questions

Are we required to host our own software files?

Software binary hosting is included. Your binaries are stored on our infrastructure and distributed using our CDN for high-speed downloads, globally. You do not need to host your own software library.

Is the Munki client automatically installed on all of my devices?

We understand that Munki is not suited for some environments. As a result, the Munki client is only installed on devices that you have designated to receive software using Munki. Within your account, you may have devices that have Munki installed and devices that rely strictly on the native MDM software installation facilities.

Can I install unsigned .pkg files?

Yes. With the native MDM protocol, macOS requires that .pkg files are signed with a trusted certificate. The Munki client does not have this requirement. Unsigned .pkg files may be delivered via Munki and installed on the client computer without issue.

Apply for the Technology Preview Today

Interested in trying out the Munki powered by SimpleMDM integration before it’s released publicly? Please contact support@simplemdm.com and we will coordinate activation of your account.

Don’t have a SimpleMDM account yet? Sign up for a free 30-day trial and then contact our Support team.

Comments (9)

How would this integrate with AutoPkgr? Also, how would one handle the transition from an existing Munki deployment to SimpleMDM’s?

Hi Matt- The technology preview does not include AutoPkg integration today, however there has been a request created which you may also vote for.

To start using Munki powered by SimpleMDM, you will need to upload your existing apps to SimpleMDM and re-create the app-to-device assignments using the SimpleMDM GUI or API.

If we wanted to, could we continue to self-host our munki repo?
And can this be integrated into simplemdm under the new system (I know it can be done already, but the new model offers tighter integration)

Hi John- You certainly can continue to host your own Munki repo. SimpleMDM will not force you to use the integration. If you do wish to use the integration, you will need to upload your binaries to our service for processing. The SimpleMDM Munki repo is not structured the same as a vanilla Munki repo (which is a collection of files and folders).

The “normal” Munki is organized by “Manifests” with MunkiAdmin.
How is it organized / handled in SimpleMDM? Do they still exist?

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