Stanford uses the BigFix Enterprise Suite (BES) to deploy patches and updates to Macintosh computers and to centrally deploy power settings for electricity savings.
BigFix is a centralized operating system patch management service. This service enables both local and central technical support staff to deploy critical security patches to computers across campus — as soon as they're made available by Apple and tested at Stanford — in a more consistent and reliable way than was possible till now.
BigFix is a "client-based" service. For your Macintosh computer to participate in the BigFix service, you must install the small client program available for download on this page. The BigFix software on your computer then communicates with Stanford's BigFix server, and determines whether your computer needs any critical security updates or other patches.
Once the Stanford BigFix administrators have tested and released a patch from Apple, the BigFix service will automatically distribute and apply the patch to any client Macs that need it.
Anyone who uses a Macintosh computer for Stanford-related business, including home users, should install the BigFix client software.
The distribution and installation of patches occurs after thorough testing. Typically, during the second week of each month the Stanford BigFix site administrators will deploy any available security updates campus-wide to Macintosh computers that have not already been patched by their users. If you have local technical support, your local BigFix administrators may deploy patches on an even faster schedule.
In order to assure reliable patch distribution only to the appropriate client Macs, the central BigFix server collects small amounts of inventory information about your computer, such as IP address, Mac OS X version, and data concerning the presence or absence of critical security patches. Please see the comprehensive BigFix FAQ for more information.
With approximately 40,000 desktop and laptop computers on campus, it takes a lot of electricity to charge and run all these machines. BigFix Power Management was deployed to help the University both reduce this electricity usage, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Power Management lets you set the power management settings you want and then makes sure they stay set so you don’t have to worry about it. Power Management choices can be as simple as just turning the monitor off after 15 minutes or can be set more aggressively to put your computer into standby mode when it hasn't been used for 30 or 60 minutes.
Need to give a presentation and don’t want your monitor to turn off? Go ahead and change your Energy Saver settings to ‘Never.’ If you forget to change them back, BigFix will put your computer back on your settings after 24 hours.
You can change your sustainability preferences (or opt out) at any time by running the Stanford Power Management Tool.
By using BigFix for power management, the University is able to better measure energy usage by desktop computers, and lets you participate in our greenhouse gas reduction efforts. See the BigFix Power Management page for more information about Stanford's power management program for computers
- Supported Operating Systems: Mac OS X 10.4 and above
- RAM: 128 MB
- Free Hard Disk Space: 40 MB
- Download file size: 21.5 MB
- As of February 1, 2011, BigFix became part of IBM. BigFix has been rebranded as IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager (built on BigFix technology).
- If you are currently using Software Update to keep your operating system patched, you should continue to use it in conjunction with the BigFix service. While BigFix will install patches without you having to take any action, other than possibly restarting your system if prompted to do so, Software Update can still help you to patch your system before Stanford's patch testing and approval process has completed and the BigFix site administrators deploy patches centrally.
- The BigFix client software requires that a port be opened in any hardware or software personal firewalls that you may be using. The BigFix Client Installation Instructions provide additional information.