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Software Distribution – Getting It There

Software Distribution – Getting It There

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Software Distribution – Getting It There

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  1. Software Distribution – Getting It There Erick Engelke & Daniel Delattre

  2. Nexus Software Deployment • 3,576 computers • 1,750 in student or public areas • 1,826 in private offices or research labs • Automated software delivery • is a big part of the Nexus promise and solution • necessary to keep system administration scalable WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  3. Challenges Deployment of Windows Software • Reliable • Effective • Automated • Targeted • Upgradeable • Removable • Secure WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  4. Reliable: software installs properly or returns error report for debugging Effective: fast, without user intervention and without user frustration (boot time) Automated: remotely managed, workstations can be rebuild easily Targeted: able to add software packages to specific group Upgradeable: able to manage and deploy software upgrades Removable: able to remove software reliably Secure: must expose no new security risks Requirements WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  5. Possible solutions • Manual installation • RoboCopy • Active Directory Group Policy Objects • Third party commercial solutions • Open Source solutions • Others? WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  6. Manual Installations • Somewhat reliable: vendor supported, but not always identical results • Not very effective: need to visit every workstation • Not automated: manually insert CD • Targeted: one workstation at a time • Upgradeable: manual process • Removable: manual process • Reporting: during installation process • Insecure: exposes administrator password WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  7. RoboCopy • Reliable, similar to the Watstar nightly refresh • Not very effective. Works best on identical images and identical workstations • Automated, but only suited for file copy installations, not for MSI or executable installs • Upgrade or removal process involves overwriting or deleting files • No reporting tools WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  8. Active Directory GPO’s • Reliable for smaller software packages • Only for MSI software packages • Automated: build into Active Directory • Effective for initial installation • Upgrade process not very reliable • Removal process not very reliable and not very flexible; only remove package from GPO! • No reporting tools provided by Microsoft WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  9. Third Party Commercial Solutions • There are several options available • Nexus has 3500+ clients and growing – most products become very expensive with these numbers • Commercial systems are often less extensible than open source – which means less flexibility for our needs • Most tools offer excellent reliability and reporting WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  10. Open Source Solutions • Not many open source tools available • WPKG: popular and flexible, last updated July 2006, good support • ANI: less flexible, identical systems, includes OS, no upgrade or removal process, last updated 2005 • Unattended: includes OS, not flexible, identical systems, last updated 2004 • SDS: similar to SMS, command line only, not very flexible, last updated 2005 WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  11. Current Environment • Nexus uses Active Directory GPO’s • Not all software comes with MSI packages • Some software is very unreliable to install • Upgrades or uninstall is extremely unreliable • Once software is unusable, it becomes very hard to detect and fix • Microsoft offers no reporting tools WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  12. GPO Issues • Repackaging: capturing unrelated, unnecessary or even damaging elements • Hardware dependencies: capturing hardware information • Logic: capturing removes logic, such as compatibility, other components and hooks to other installed software • Large software packages: seem to install less reliable WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  13. GPOTool • Locally developed tool • Looks for broken software • Initially used for lab of 120 supposedly identical computers. • Now used many places on campus • analyze delivery reliability – to fix broken and assure quality • can reset flags on individual computers to reinstall software • able to uninstall software • reporting capability WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  14. GPOtool Observations Reliability of GPO’s in a 120 station lab • Microsoft Office – 100% • Microsoft Visual Studio – 97% • Nexus Common Applications – 96% • Altair Hyperworks – 89% • Ansys – 85% • MasterCAM – 81% WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  15. Open Source: WPKG • Software deployment, removal, updates • Offers push and pull features • Deploys MSI, InstallShield, other vendor supported formats • Supports layered images – like GPO’s • Files can be distributed for better total scalability • Limited local and remote reporting • Very small footprint WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  16. WPKG - overview • Software Packages defined – e.g.. Matlab • Packages can depend on other packages • Stations profiles defined - list of packages • e.g.. All computers in a given lab • Profiles can extend other profiles • e.g.. scanner machine is superset of generic lab • Computers are assigned to profiles WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  17. GAFF Lab Microsoft office SSH MatLab Other scientific software GAFF Lab with Scanner Scanner software Inherit rest from GAFF lab profile WPKG - Example WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  18. GAFF Lab Example WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  19. WPKG – Web Tool • WPKG uses XML files to list packages, profiles and computer names • XML is hard for users to enter but easy for software to parse • Administrators need shared access • We added a web based interface and database backend for WPKG - XML generated as needed WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  20. WPKG Busy Warning WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  21. Possibilities • Configure PC client software from any web browser • Perform reporting for gauging software license renewal interest • Reduce duplication of effort in packaging software • Truly handle software life cycle including upgrades/uninstalls WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  22. Our Plan: 2007 • We currently use GPOs extensively – this will not change anytime soon • We will use WPKG too • Initially target only difficult or unreliable installs • Monitor the results and refine our tools WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  23. Resources on the Web • wpkg • http://www.wpkg.org • GPOtool • http://www.eng.uwaterloo.ca/~erick/nexus/gpotool.exe WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution

  24. Questions? • Any questions? • Open discussion. WatITis | Enabling The 6th Decade Plan Through Effective I.T. Collaboration | December 6, 2005 | Software Distribution