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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Microsoft SoftGrid in Technical; We don't mind useful and interesting spam (well I don't anyway) regards Simon...
  1. #16

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Re: Microsoft SoftGrid

    We don't mind useful and interesting spam (well I don't anyway)

    regards

    Simon

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    Re: Microsoft SoftGrid

    Peeks back around curtain... OK, I was lieing again. I don't represent the company but I do sort of follow them, a small matter of £600 worth of shares. I won't toot their trumpet for them, too much, but they have sort of re-invented themselves recently and...

    Have a poke about their sites and if you see something you like... Well, I'm sure that they will sort of fall over themselves to help you out for the simple reason that you are prospects. Ermmm, no.. I'm sure they are quite nice people. As long as they have been fed.

    Righty-ho, back to selling some more used cars. Well, maybe my first one. Or maybe I'll go back to road sweeping.

    :arrow: :arrow: :!:

  3. #18
    RobFuller's Avatar
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    Ahh, I'm not having much luck with sequencing programs even basic ones, I followed the basic guide but with no joy. I'm use to packaging up msi's to the cows come home but I donít understand why these fail to load. Any tips Steve?

    TIA Rob.

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    It is still early days for this technology yet.

    From what I can understand it is closer to msi technology than thin client.

    You package up an application and then set it up for people to access. When people access the software it gets installed onto the client machine, but only they bits needed.

    Taking a basic example liek a word processor. When you open it you get sent all the files you need to get it running, then when you do something like run the spell checker your machine goes off to the server and gets all the files it needs to run the spell checker. If they already exist on the machine (because you have used it before) then it does not go and fetch them.

    Sort of MSI on demand.

    At the moment the downside seems to be creating the packages. To build an application you have to run it and use all the features you think a user is likely to need. So if, for example you forget to click file > save as when you are building the app then file > save as is not available to the end user because it has not been included in the package.

    This could of course have its advantages if you wanted to lock out a particular function - but you have to think of everything a user is likely to want to do.

    I think Softgrid has been around for a while, and Microsoft have just bought the company.

    I have been advised by smarter people than me that it has potential, but is not quite there yet.

  5. #20
    RobFuller's Avatar
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    I know Microsoft is releasing a 'branded' version as its still got Softricity on the current version. It would be a brilliant bit of software if I can work out what Iím doing wrong as even the most basic software gives me the same error.

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    Currently having softgrid running most of the software on our network I think I can set a few points straight and hopefully help out anyone with problems.

    Limbo, your first 2 paragraphs are pretty much correct: On first run softgrid will only download "feature block 1" i.e. enough off the app to launch the interface and commonly used features (configured during install) softgrid will then progressively download more of the app when required, however no features are ever not available to be used. You will often find that most apps are not downloaded 100%. Typically (from my experience) 30-70% of the entire package size is downloaded and cached, not all initially, but over time.

    The beauty of softgrid is that you only need to manage one software install on every workstation, the softgrid client itself (the client isn't without it's problems, but only having to manage one local installation is a major advantage. Client side logging and error messages are thorough and helpful). Since all the applications run in a virtualised environment on the host, they can be guaranteed to work the same across each machine.
    Application upgrading is a dream due to in place upgrading. For instance to upgrade firefox to the latest release you open your existing package, perform the upgrade and then save it as a new version. The client checks on launch that the cached version of the app is the latest, and downloads the new one if not.
    srochford: I feel your pain with CS3, it has been a royal pain in the backside to get working, along with Acrobat 8. They both require a modification to a dll before sequencing but they do both work. Let me know if you're still struggling.

    If anybody has any problems or questions don't hesitate to ask. I'd be more than willing to help out to the best of my ability.

    Matt

  7. 2 Thanks to saundersmatt:

    benIT (12th March 2008), Netman (12th March 2008)

  8. #22
    limbo's Avatar
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    Have you found any limitations about what software you can deploy through this?

    I am guessing Microsoft will work pretty well, but how about things like Photoshop and Dreamweaver? Always a pita through MSI's.

  9. #23

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    Most apps work great. There are only two things that I can recall not working, Dartfish classroom - due to it's wierd licensing system and Success Maker - due to it's local database oddness.

    I've attached a doc listing all our sequenced application.

    Matt
    Attached Files Attached Files

  10. #24

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saundersmatt View Post
    Most apps work great. There are only two things that I can recall not working, Dartfish classroom - due to it's wierd licensing system and Success Maker - due to it's local database oddness.

    I've attached a doc listing all our sequenced application.

    Matt
    Wow, you have been busy. How long did it take you to sequence all of those?

  11. #25
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    Matt, is that a list of all software you have running using softgrid? If so that's pretty impressive.

    What's the process then do you create a package on the softgrid server and then it's ready to go?

  12. #26

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    Yes that is a list of all our softgrid applications. Remember though that in softgrid terms an "application" is a shortcut installed during setup, so installing a program with 3 shortucts (the program, help and a support url for isntance) would create 3 applications, which are all part of one "package". We have 95 packages on our server at the moment, taking up 17 gig. These are all immediately available to any curriculum workstation (permissions and licensing permitting).
    We've had softgrid installed since around october, and all these packages have been sequenced between then and christmas. It really doesn't take too long once you get the hang of it.

    To create an sequenced application is not vastly different to repackaging an msi. You must install the Softgrid Sequencer on a clean workstation, we use a MS Virtual PC instance with undo disks enabled, for portability and ease of recovery of the sequencer machine.
    Launch the sequencer, and input the package/application details. The sequencer will then watch what files are copied when you install the program to the local machine. Once installed, you notify the sequencer where the program was installed and it will copy these to the virtual filesystem. You then configure what is downloaded in feature block 1, which shortcuts you want to be available and what file type associations you want.
    Save the file to the content share on the softgrid server and then import the package to the softgrid server management console. Here you can configure concurrent licensing of the application, what users/groups have permissions to run it, which of the available file type associations you want softgrid to map on the local machine and where you want the application shortcuts to appear for users. The softgrid client refreshes this information on login/machine startup.

    If i've missed anything let me know.

    Matt

  13. #27
    RobFuller's Avatar
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    I found this very useful for getting the "art" sequencing process right

    http://www.softgridblog.com/storage/...Sequencing.pdf

  14. #28

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    Hey saundersmatt,
    I have added you to my Spark friends incase your ever on the chat.
    Quick question, is the 8 char install dir a big problem? I just keep seeing it as a potential issue the more packages you deploy to a machine.

  15. #29
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    Have you tried Thinstall?
    Thinstall Application Virtualization2

    it captures an install (just about any app) to an .exe so you can have a pre configured app that you deploy in whatever way you want (i.e USB, CD Rom, shared folder, web link etc)
    Some demos:
    Thinstall Product Demos
    i have used the demo software and it works great price is around £2000 (downside to everything) but if you think about the IT support hours spent deploying, fixing, configuring software it starts to sound like a saving.
    Just my 10pence worth

    thanks

    stevef1

  16. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroHour View Post
    Hey saundersmatt,
    Quick question, is the 8 char install dir a big problem? I just keep seeing it as a potential issue the more packages you deploy to a machine.
    It's not a problem at all for us. You just need to think about a naming structure when you start, and then stick to it.
    (Plus the 8.3 isn't strictly necessary, it's a "just in case" measure for some dodgy bits of software.)

    Matt

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