You can run the server version of Mac OS on any Mac.
You have a political problem.
Meraki -- A free MDM [ expect lots of email and phone calls about upgrades ]
Read the product overview. Click on "get started now" to sign up.
Video's on how to setup and use Meraki.
I was able to turn on Automatic Updates and make this work as follows:
1. Go to Settings.
2. Tap iTunes and App Store.
3. Turn on Updates under Automatic Downloads.
4. Open the App Store, tap Updates.
5. Tap Update next to an app that was installed via Apple Configurator.
6. Enter the password for the Apple ID used to install the app via configurator.
7. Go a head and update the other apps too.
8. Repeat on all iPads.
From that point forward, the apps installed by Apple Configurator will update automatically without having to re-enter the password. We did this one by one on over 800 iPads and it still seems to be working.