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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS & MSI in Technical; Thanks for asking Phil. I would prefer MSI's over leaner updates. Funny the two have become merged - but that's ...
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    mark's Avatar
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    re: SIMS & MSI

    Thanks for asking Phil. I would prefer MSI's over leaner updates.

    Funny the two have become merged - but that's how MSIs work - updates are applied through MSI/ GPO - correct me if i'm wrong somebody? That's how I've upgraded apps through MSIs anyway.

    Similarly here to what has already been said. Come update day, I ask all staff to leave their PCs turned on after school. The update is applied, and all machines re-booted. We check if we have time, visit 70 odd rooms, that hopefully we have access to.

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal
    I'm still not there - I'm really sorry.

    How will MSI get SIMS onto clients any faster than our upgrade system? Are teachers' machines switched on before going into registration?
    Yes.

    Do you actually want to help or not? As all you seem to be doing is saying "I know best and you people who actually use and install the software are wrong"

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    Quote Originally Posted by Heebeejeebee
    [I experimented with running a batch file that that ran SIMSLoad when the machine stared but had limited success and it seemed to be random luck if a PC took the upgrade properly.
    I think the reason that does not work is that the SIMS installer tries to write files to the central SIMS folder (eg S:\SIMS or \\SERVER\SIMSROOT\SIMS) even when instructed just to do a workstation install! The only way around it I could see would be to cache the entire SIMS folder onto the C: drive and install from there. Robcopy could probably do this reasonably efficiently...

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    Funny the two have become merged - but that's how MSIs work - updates are applied through MSI/ GPO - correct me if i'm wrong somebody? That's how I've upgraded apps through MSIs anyway.
    That's certainly how it works with Office. You apply the full file patch to the admin install and re-deploy.

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    Quote Originally Posted by NickJones
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal
    •A posting on the last thread suggested that upgrades hadn’t really been a problem for 18 months and even then the problem had been caused by someone pressing cancel.
    18 months, you say. That sounds like around the time that RM started supplying CC3-ready MSIs of SIMS... I wonder if you're giving Capita undue credit there, Phil?
    No ... it was me ... on a vanilla system too. The only other issue we have (as mentioned) is with laptops that also have a Nova satellite install .. but that is one machine.

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    I would say using an MSI based structure would allow for smaller updates, as the MSI packaging system would only change the files necessary - so my vote is with MSI as it would achieve both...

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky
    Do you actually want to help or not? As all you seem to be doing is saying "I know best and you people who actually use and install the software are wrong"
    People have been kind enough to provide clarification for which I am grateful.

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    An MSI would be ideal for deploying SIMS. The school uses Winsuite which stops the installer running for some of our staff. I have to go round evey client and update SIMS, as it is difficiult to know which clients will allow the installation of SIMS and which one's don't.

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    PhilNeal,

    As I see it there are two issues here:
    1) Installing SIMS.net happens far more often than perhaps capita realise. Being able to deploy via a Group Policy with a simple transform would be **GREAT** and save several days of work per year.

    2) Updating SIMS over a wireless lan is a PITA and fails far too often due to user impatience, and the inherent unreliability of Wifi links. It also requires the end user to have far too much access to their system than any Sane SysAdmin would like.

    When sims update fails it is necessary to re-install. See point 1.

    Two solutions to two problems:
    1) Supply a proper MSI with template MST that is GPO deployable.

    2) Modify the Update process:
    i) Server downloads updates from Solus but does not install.
    ii) A SERVICE on the clients downloads patches/changes/new install files using BITS. (removing need for exessive user privilleges)
    iii) After a suitable period of time (to allow most clients to have aquired the new installer files), trigger the server upgrade.
    iv) The service on the client notices server has upgraded and triggers client update.
    v) Launching the SIMS.net client pokes the service to check server version, just in case update hasn't already run. It does not ever need to scan the Setups Folder.

    Key thing here is: the SERVICE runs the client upgrade, and BITS is used to overcome the unrealiable nature of an update over wifi.


    How does this help faster upgrades? It stops the AV Client from having to scan the whole of the setups folder, without requiring the local technical team to tweak their AV setup. It also downloads the update files over a period of time, without interfering with the users' work, and with a spot of luck updates the client machine while the user is not using it.

    More Techie details: the update should not trigger if battery charge <xx%. The update should prevent hibernation/standy/sims launch while it is running, or be able to survive such an event. The service should follow the guidelines in KB 327618. It should have a small memory and CPU footprint.

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    Everyone - I really appreciate your help in understanding how MSI wrappers would help schools.

    I have been convinced and have asked the team to see how we could support MSI wrappers. We do need to find a way to make MSI wrappers co-exsist with the existing deployment model because there are a huge number of schools that could not use MSI.

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    @psydii:
    You're a genius.. this sounds right.

    The only difference I'd want is to 2.iii:
    I'd want the clients to report back to the (local sims) server, that the update has downloaded successfully (or not).
    Then you could manaully (or automatically) decide that after so many machines had the update, to push it out, or wait until certain machines had it.


    I'd also like to stop the installer apparently installing the manuals... as nobody here ever reads them... I don't even know where they are stored locally.


    We run 100 odd laptops wirelessly, and the updates are irritatingly slow sometimes... possibly because the staff all need to run sims at the same time.

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    there are a huge number of schools that could not use MSI.
    Phil, could you explain the reason for this please?

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    Yes, we have a huge number of primary schools that do not have system managers. The current upgrade system doesn't require any network knowledge what so ever (after it has been set up).

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    What about the huge number of secondary schools with an even larger install base? Surely a body as large as yourselves should be able to tailor two separate versions for different deployment methods.

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    re: SIMS & MSI

    User3204, thank you. Talent imatates.... c.f LiveUpdate, WSUS et al.

    PhilNeal: I appreciate changing the update system is outside of the scope of the msi issue, the proposed solution would still meet the requirement of 'no techinical skill' required at the school after the initial installation.

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