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MIS Systems Thread, Solus 3 - Why bother for clients? in Technical; I've just installed Solus 3 (I know, I'm coming to this party a little late!), and having spent the morning ...
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    enjay's Avatar
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    Solus 3 - Why bother for clients?

    I've just installed Solus 3 (I know, I'm coming to this party a little late!), and having spent the morning chasing round PCs which weren't turned on or have DNS quirks, I'm now questioning whether using Solus 3 is the right way to install the clients. I like being able to schedule the server upgrade for out-of-hours, but the client installs seems worse than our method of having a startup script which called simsapplicationsetup.exe

    Am I missing something, perhaps some other advantage of Solus 3 that I've not recognised yet, or should I stick with what we had been doing?

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    You missed the party @enjay. Everyone else who's been dabbling with SOLUS3 is suffering with the hang over!!!

    I think in Capita's mind, every single school has WOL technology implemented. And at night, every single SIMS/FMS/Discover device is on site and connected up to the network. Then when an upgrade goes out, every single machine can be switched on at 3am, upgraded by SOLUS3 and then shut down again ready for staff to crack on in the morning.

    This is obviously not the case.

    For upgrades, it's an aweful piece of software that never quite works how it should. For brand new installs of SIMS/FMS/Discover, it works surprisingly well with no interaction required.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    We do have WOL implemented, and it boots the staff computers at 7am, allowing time for new software, WSUS, anti-virus updates, etc to install. Curriculum PCs boot at 8am, ensuring that they have time to do all that stuff and be ready in time for registration. There are then a few which don't/can't/won't WOL, and those are turned on by the "owner" who knows to go do something else for 10 minutes.

    A startup script installing SIMS works wonderfully in that environment, and Solus 3 seems like several steps backwards.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    I still think the majority of people, even those that like Solus 3 (I'm in two minds - great idea implemented in an iffy way) would like the option of an updatable MSI. Not entirely difficult.

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    Rawns (1st February 2013)

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Also, once Solus 3 has completed, it puts a box up on screen saying "no new updates" or something, which is a little misleading considering it has just done an update!

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    A startup script installing SIMS works wonderfully in that environment, and Solus 3 seems like several steps backwards.
    Agreed. Our SOLUS2 and CentraStage Script combination worked wonders. Now all I seem to see is upgrade failures as SOLUS3 is playing silly beggers!

    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    I still think the majority of people, even those that like Solus 3 (I'm in two minds - great idea implemented in an iffy way) would like the option of an updatable MSI. Not entirely difficult.
    I'm sure I saw a thread about this somewhere where everyone was asking for MSI's but for some reason, Capita thought these were a bad thing?

    One day, maybe Capita will create an uninstaller for SIMS!
    Last edited by Rawns; 1st February 2013 at 03:52 PM.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    I still think the majority of people, even those that like Solus 3 (I'm in two minds - great idea implemented in an iffy way) would like the option of an updatable MSI. Not entirely difficult.
    What, like all the people called for in this thread: SIMS & MSI but Capita didn't listen and thought they knew better and went about reinventing the wheel when most people have some kind of software deployment mechanism that is ideal for distributing industry standard msi?
    Yep.

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    Agreed, having SOLUS3 to upgrade the server works quite well (although I still hate the interface) but for clients is just a pain. Also, it seems to use quite alot of RAM for the agent... I've removed all the agents from clients and now use a small utility I wrote to snatch the extracted SIMSApplication.exe from a single client PC whilst the agent is installing the update.

    I then roll this exe out to other client PCs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meldrew View Post
    I've removed all the agents from clients and now use a small utility I wrote to snatch the extracted SIMSApplication.exe from a single client PC whilst the agent is installing the update.
    I was thinking I might get the ISO of each update, and then copy it from that!

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    What bugs me is that the Discover Client is available in MSI format!!! Why not SIMS and FMS?!

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rawns View Post
    What bugs me is that the Discover Client is available in MSI format!!! Why not SIMS and FMS?!
    For some reason they seem ideologically against giving us an msi. I just don't understand it, its not difficult but they won't listen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    For some reason they seem ideologically against giving us an msi. I just don't understand it, its not difficult but they won't listen.
    Maybe time to re-raise it with @PhilNeal? I guess though wityh alot of time and effort going into SOLUS3, it will be like flogging a dead horse!

    We have a South West SOLUS3 Technical Day in March and John Wood will be taking it. Should be interesting.
    Last edited by Rawns; 1st February 2013 at 04:08 PM.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Well, we already convinced @PhilNeal once and it still didn't happen so my hopes are low:
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    We will be looking for volunteers to field trial the new system in the autumn term so that it can be released in the first quarter of 2009.

    The deployment engine is using MSI. Changes to the EXEs can be patched which means that upgrades will be much faster. It will include notification to people using SIMS that they have to get out and allow you to throw them off too.
    *tumbleweed*

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Not like it's difficult or anything - it wasn't long ago I was making the MSI's myself using nothing more advanced than the system supplied with RM CC3. If you can do it on an RM system you can do it with a bog roll, empty washing up bottle and plenty of sticky back plastic.

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    Maybe Solus3.5 will address all our issues.

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