Working on hints I gleaned from this article, I’ve created my own Lion Server USB Installer. Here’s how:
For most people installing Lion Server is a case of downloading Server.app from the Apple Store and installing on top of an existing OS X Lion setup. This is unsatisfactory for a number of reasons primarily because you don’t get to use the Server set up application. If you have an existing Lion Server that you have set up this way it’s very useful to keep a Lion Server Installer USB drive handy in case you need for some reason to re-install. You cannot use Recovery Disk for this as Recovery Disk will only give you a plain vanilla Lion client install. So presuming you have Lion Server installed now put a copy of “Install Mac OS X Lion” into your Applications folder. Make sure you also have a copy of the latest Server.app there as well. At time of writing the latest download of “Install Mac OS X Lion” from the App Store is at version 1.0.16 and is 4.07 GB. The latest Server.app is at version 1.3.1. These together will install Lion Server 10.7.3. If you launch “Install Mac OS X Lion” using a blank USB or Mac partition as your target you will see the following:
Clicking on Customize will give you the option to install Server Software:
Now when you start this installation the Server components will be downloaded to the target drive. This can take a very long time (in my case about 50 minutes), so to save myself time for future installations I shut down my computer before the reboot for the install process. If you do that you will see two folders on the target drive, one called Applications which contains the latest version of Server.app and another called Mac OS X Install Data which contains 3 files – “indexes.product”, “MacOS_10_7_IncompatibleAppList.pkg” and “Server.Essentials.pkg”. Keep these two folders as they can be copied to future install media to save the downloading time. If these folders are on the install media the install of Sever components will only take 3 minutes.
Then at this stage you can resume the installation and when the new drive reboots you will get the Server Assistant which will guide you through either setting up a new server or importing from an existing server. To make a USB disk for future installs you only need a very basic setup with no configuration for Server services. It’s handy to keep the two folders Applications and Mac OS X Install Data on the Desktop for copying to new drives that need to have Server installed.
This is a HACK and not officially sanctioned by Apple. If you use this method you do so at your own risk!!