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

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Software distribution getting it there l.jpg

Software Distribution – Getting It There

Erick Engelke & Daniel Delattre


Nexus software deployment l.jpg
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


Challenges l.jpg
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


Requirements l.jpg

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


Possible solutions l.jpg
Possible solutions for debugging

  • 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


Manual installations l.jpg
Manual Installations for debugging

  • 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


Robocopy l.jpg
RoboCopy for debugging

  • 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


Active directory gpo s l.jpg
Active Directory GPO’s for debugging

  • 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


Third party commercial solutions l.jpg
Third Party Commercial Solutions for debugging

  • 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


Open source solutions l.jpg
Open Source Solutions for debugging

  • 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


Current environment l.jpg
Current Environment for debugging

  • 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


Gpo issues l.jpg
GPO Issues for debugging

  • 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


Gpotool l.jpg
GPOTool for debugging

  • 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


Gpotool observations l.jpg
GPOtool Observations for debugging

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


Open source wpkg l.jpg
Open Source: WPKG for debugging

  • 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


Wpkg overview l.jpg
WPKG - overview for debugging

  • 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


Wpkg example l.jpg

GAFF Lab for debugging

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


Gaff lab example l.jpg
GAFF Lab Example for debugging

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


Wpkg web tool l.jpg
WPKG – Web Tool for debugging

  • 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


Wpkg busy warning l.jpg
WPKG Busy Warning for debugging

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


Possibilities l.jpg
Possibilities for debugging

  • 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


Our plan 2007 l.jpg
Our Plan: 2007 for debugging

  • 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


Resources on the web l.jpg
Resources on the Web for debugging

  • 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


Questions l.jpg
Questions? for debugging

  • Any questions?

  • Open discussion.

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