Advice requested on creating deployment solution
I'm developing educational software for use in schools and tertiary institutes, however I keep getting conflicting advice how to setup or word the installations for our software. Based on your own experiences and networks, what would you expect to be provided to help install in the following situation on a Windows network?
The database is stored on any SMB storage. It's just an empty folder with read/write/modify access.
The software can be installed on the server and run over the network, or installed and run on the client. We recommend installing it on the server where possible, but if the network isn't fast enough then it adds too much loading time. The software can be all read-only and all contained within a single folder.
The tricky bit:
The software stores the path to the database inside a raw text file that sits next to the executable. This is created the first time the software is run (after the user inputs it, of course). The path typically looks something like //server/$steps_database/
Deployment to a school with 150~ computers and a low bandwidth network:
The network administrator has decided to install the software on the clients because it takes about a minute to load over the network. They want a quick hassle-free way to send it out. Since it requires some minor configuration, we can't just provide an MSI install for them to deploy.
Is it realistic to expect a school that size to figure out its own way to deploy software, be it through making its own MSI installer or reimaging its clients?
Are there any ways we can make something like an MSI installer that can have the customer set the database path in? We can store the database path in registry values instead if that helps. Any suggestions on how to distribute this variable over a network would be appreciated too.
Thanks for your help!