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Windows Thread, SW Deployment. Surely by now... in Technical; ...
  1. #1

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    SW Deployment. Surely by now...

    ..there would be some brilliant, free, solution that just does what you want with a bit of finesse! I haven't needed to pay much attention to this area for a long while, but a lot of you lot must have so where is it then?

    SMS's or enterprise products for ££££s with lots of pretty colours and nasty pie-charts appear to be all over the place. Apparent favourites like SpecOps Deploy aren't especially cheap either, it doesn't appear to like 2K8 and the one that allegedly will appears to be a teensy bit delayed. Freebies seem to be limited to MPKG that I like in principle but it's not integrated with AD computer groups, OUs or whatever - you have to keep typing things in XML in files. There are a few fans on Purgos on here, but I can't figure out what may or may not be happening with the v3.0 beta release I can't download and the latest v2.0 won't see the domain to pick any computers (perhaps it's a 2K8 thing).

    Then there's good old GPO deployment which pretty much does what you want, especially if you security filter individual packages (rather than entire GPOs) and know how to wrap a *.exe EXCEPT you haven't got a clue whether a package did or didn't install.

    So what do you do about package installation status? Throw other inventory tools at the problem? Wait until someone knocks on your door and complains X isn't installed? Ignore it completely? Make custom scripts to talk to WMI or the registry?

    Thinking about the latter, very briefly so don't shout too much if it's stupid, it struck me that MsiInstaller does of course write events with timestamps, informative IDs, messages and the all-important GUIDs in the app event log, so you could routinely trawl through the new-since-last-time events at computer startup and throw the fresh MsiInstaller event info wherever you want it. Downside is that event logs can and do die via abrupt shutdowns, but you can detect that and could probably fix it at the same time.. assuming localsystem can clear an event log.

    [What's a "holiday"?]
    Last edited by PiqueABoo; 19th December 2008 at 11:09 PM.

  2. #2

    Gatt's Avatar
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    I find that for NEW system builds Microsofts Deployment Toolkit, combined with WDS and the use of AutoIT to record installs is sufficiant

    I can now use it to deploy Office 2007, DotNet 2, Smartboard drivers & Notebook, and SIMS using the MDT...

    As for existing systems, PSExec with AutoIT works well too...

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    We just use all the RM CC3 tools at our disposal - works well.

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    kesomir's Avatar
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    ranger has a package deployment app too.

    It works by creating a diff package based on an install - I think a few of the other cheap and easy to use systems do it this way too - not best ofc, but it tends to work fairly well.

    Search these forums to find the cheaper standalones - not free, but not hugely expensive either.

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    Patience, it's on my to-do list

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    You might want to give a look to RemoteExec (downloadable free fully-functional trial version).

    RemoteExec is a versatile, schedulable, 100% agentless software solution that allows Systems Administrators to easily and quickly perform Windows Installer packages deployment, but also:

    - Remote execution of programs (.exe, .bat, .cmd, etc.), scripts (.vbs, .js, etc.) and files associated to executables (.txt, .doc, .wav, .reg, .inf, .msi, …)

    - Service Packs, patches, hotfixes and updates deployment

    - Remote Registry modification

    - Files and folders remote copy, update, or deletion

    - Local administrators passwords remote modification

    - Remote systems power off, wake up, reboot, shutdown ...

    - Lock or close user sessions

    - ...

    Regarding package installation status
    Once an execution is finished, RemoteExec will automatically generate a list of systems on which the execution failed (if any). This list can be directly reinserted to rerun the execution and complete the task.

    RemoteExec also collects and displays the return codes generated by the remote processes, allowing the administrator to check system status.
    More, RemoteExec logs execution history and results for future reference.

    RemoteExec pricing starts at EUR 3 (app. GBP 2,8) per system to remotely manage and educational organizations are entitled a 20% discount off list price.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    I think before too long, possibly with the release of windows 7, Microsoft should make the next incarnation of SCCM (formetly SMS) 'free' to Software Assurance customers. Just as they had done with the softricity product they acquired.

    SCCM isn't as full featured as some of the other enterprise deployment products, so if a large org wants more features they can go with something like tivoli and pay the extra....otherwise orgs that don't have an existing investment in tivoli or Altiris etc. could pay the extra for SA when buying windows 7 upgrade licenses and get the next MS ent. deployment product for nowt....

    Well, that's my theory anyway. It might even be that SA comes as standard with Windows 7 business/enteprise upgrade licenses. Throwing a load of features like enterprise deployment tools in with the license could certainly convince M$ Vista customers to pay to upgrade to win7 only a couple of years after taking the plunge with Vista. Or persuade others to move off of Windows xP earlier than anticipated.

    It really is one of those areas in my opinion which microsoft shouldn't really leave to third parties, they should get in there and get companies of all sizes using their own enteprise deployment products. I doubt it's much of a cash cow either sold as a standalone product.....so where's the harm in giving it away ?

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