I work for a London Borough council and we are in the midst of a migration from Novell eDirectory and ZenWorks to Microsoft Active Directory and SCCM. About 75% of our users will be Windows 7 thick client with SCCM to manage application deployment, and the remaining 25% will be Windows Server 2008 thin client desktops using Citrix on Terminal Services, with XenApp to manage application deployment. We have about 3,500 users and about 400 apps, many of which are old and/or out of support, many have no MSI installer, many have convoluted install procedures. We need a packaging solution that automates the process as far as possible, minimises duplication of effort and enables the work to be shared between a small number of users (probably 2 or 3). Of primary concern is that we don't want to do everything twice, once for Windows 7 desktops and once for Citrix/2008 server desktops. Cost is a consideration but not likely to impact heavily on our decision unless there is little else to choose between front runners. I've been asked to research our options, but as my only experience is with Novell ConsoleOne, I would be very grateful for any advice.

So far I've concluded that the market leading products are Installshield AdminStudio Enterprise edition (with the Virtualisation Pack), or Wise Package Studio 8, and my initial impression was that Installshield's offering was by a wide margin the best solution for our needs. I found it difficult to locate relevant information about Wise Package Studio and what I did find lead me to believe it is heavily tailored for integration with Altiris (which we don't have), and a great many of the features of Installshield's product. However, one of our colleagues from a neighbouring authority with a comparable desktop estate has said they are using Wise Package Studio quite happily, causing me to re-evaluate.

Based on our requirements, can anybody shed light on any advantages or disadvantages between the two products, or link to any more information about Wise Package Studio than the handful of bullet points on the Symantec website, or tell me if I should be looking at any other products?
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As you're effectively starting from scratch, I'd recommend the InstallShield route.

In day-to-day use, I much prefer Wise but the product's vendor (now Symantec) has proved as woeful as its predecessors in keeping pace with technology (e.g. support for new .Net Framework releases). Let's not forget the outright scam of releasing v7 SP4 as v8. There is no particular tie-in with the Altiris deployment mechanism, other than Altiris owned the Wise product family for a while. WPS's Product Manager recently made what he evidently thought were encouraging noises about WPS but to say only that he was unconvincing would be very kind.
Answered 10/27/2010 by: VBScab
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Definately Installshield would be your best bet. I too am a die hard Wise Package Studio man. But if I was starting a fresh project I'd definately go with Installshield's offering.

Of primary concern is that we don't want to do everything twice, once for Windows 7 desktops and once for Citrix/2008 server desktops.

You will need to make subtle changes to your packages for the cirix environment. But that doesn't mean doing everything twice. You could just have a seperate "Citrix" transform that you apply in this environment.
Have you considered using citrix streaming or APP-v in this environment (although there will be extra licensing cost). There is a tool in the Virtualisation pack for conversion of msi's to these formats

Cheers
Rich
Answered 10/28/2010 by: timmsie
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Thanks for the recommendation VBScab. Last night I downloaded trial versions of both since I've never actually seen or used either, so hopefully that will give me a better feel for them...
Answered 10/28/2010 by: wwarby
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Thanks timmsie, that's two votes for Installshield then! Could I ask you to give a reason for choosing InstallShield? (Only I'm going to need to justify my recommendation to my boss, and "people on appdeploy.com said Installshield" isn't as convincing as "people on appdeploy.com said Installshield because of X/Y/Z")

On the "doing everything twice" issue, Acresso's website makes a big song and dance of it's capability to package once and deploy to many environments with the Virtualisation Pack for AdminStudio. Whatever additional effort is required to target multiple platforms is fine, but I want to obviously keep it to a minimum. Does InstallShield excel over WPS in that regard or are they about the same?

As for Citrix Streaming and/or App-V, we haven't ruled anything out yet. We have bought licences for the Platinum version of Citrix XenDesktop (I think) and one of the higher featured Microsoft Enterprise Agreements which I think may include App-V licences. The problem is we're completely new to virtualisation so we don't have a clear understanding of the differences between these approaches...
Answered 10/28/2010 by: wwarby
Yellow Belt

  • I know this is a very old treat, but I was wondering.
    Which product did you choice? &
    How did the migration go from Zen to SCCM?
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Installshield are actually developing thier products they have a roadmap and are keeping up with the latest technology.

Wise is dying a death. As Ian said the realese of v8 was a farce, nothing new in it! You'll find it very difficult to get any sort of roadmap out of Altiris for the product. Which kind of suggests there isn't one, if they were developing the product why wouldn't they make it public!

If you already have the licences for APP-v then it's probably the way to go. There's a nice comparison paper here
http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/rubenspruijt/archive/2010/09/23/application-virtualization-smackdown-head-to-head-analysis-of-endeavors-citrix-installfree-microsoft-spoon-symantec-and-vmware.aspx
Answered 10/28/2010 by: timmsie
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Does InstallShield excel over WPS in that regard or are they about the same?The only support for virtualisation in WPS is for Altiris' own product, which I figure maybe 4 people in the world use.
Answered 10/28/2010 by: VBScab
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If you're starting out fresh, you could consider HP CAE (Radia) as an enterprise solution.

OK, I was JUST KIDDING!!! (I did that for VBScab.)

Honestly, I agree with both VBScab and Timmsie. Being a long time user of both AdminStudio and Wise Package Studio, I prefer using WPS; but our enterprise switched to AdminStudio last year because of product support and the product roadmap. While I do use AS for day to day packaging, I keep WPS as a fall back when I have a problem in AS (which does happen).

I would imagine that there are product comparisons on the Net that you could search for. I also think that most of the seasoned packagers will give you the same response about WPS vs IS as did VBScab and Timmsie.
Answered 10/28/2010 by: bearden3
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I am working in a large corporate although I'm not packaging myself. I have past experience packaging with Wise. I am responsible for the future of the app deploy techniques.

In this company the packagers are using Wise and it has served everyone well. Now I have doubts about the future viabilty of the product. Symantec dropped the other Wise product in April.

Here is a collection of comments (rough format) I've gathered that may or may not be valid. Comments extremely welcome. In the meantime I've asked a Symantec account manager for a roadmap.


Wise
Positive
In house and well understood
Negative Is this a dying product ? There is no support for the newer .NET standard, not supporting the current Windows Installer version or output in virtualisation platform ready formats, specifically App V or Citrix XenApp.

Admin Studio
Positive Close relationship with MS.
MS recommends developers using MS development languages to package the results with Flexera. SCCM uses a cut version of AdminStudio itself.
Take complexity out of App V with automated creation
Being developed. New version each year.
App Virtualisation integration with the Big Three (we are using Citrix, considering App V)
Bulk conversion Constant development means it is current
Offers full training classes including conversion for experienced Wise packagers
Negative
They don't use the MSI Microsoft standard purely Not a true MSI. They use the MSI as a wrapper, leading to problems.

The project files are needed to maintain the file. It isn't maintainable if you have the MSI only.
Bulk convert won't work here. Up to 50% of apps have conditional installs and custom actions.

------------

My suspicion: This is not an either or situation. I believe a fair proportion of IT shops are using both so maybe we can too.


One thought is that we could have a few installs of AdminStudio to use where Wise doesn't work with newer technologies.
AND the main attraction :::: Import the 2500 SCCM apps and export a large percentage as App V or Citrix XenApp profiles ready for testing.

Is this doable ?

FM
Answered 10/28/2010 by: Future_machine
Senior Yellow Belt

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my advice would be get someone to train you properly first. as a fresh starter you will make mistakes.

MSI is a complex world and your chances of getting it right the first time without the proper training is about 0% if you intend making it work across all platforms.

It is pretty easy to get the first bit right, but creating an environment which supports windows 7 as well as SCCM, ZFDx, Xenapp will have its challenges.

Windows 7 will have its challenges as well, you will need a PKI infra setup to digitally sign everthing, you will need to understand MSI thoroughly (particularly sequencing) to get around the UAC. (assuming you leave it on)

A couple of weeks training would save you a world of pain.
Answered 10/28/2010 by: jmcfadyen
Fifth Degree Black Belt

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They don't use the MSI Microsoft standard purely Not a true MSI. They use the MSI as a wrapper, leading to problems.That depends on what option you choose when capturing. It's perfectly possible to get a pure MSI out of IS
I believe a fair proportion of IT shops are using both so maybe we can too. I wouldn't think so. Licensing costs would be too prohibitive.
Answered 10/29/2010 by: VBScab
Red Belt

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Thanks for the replies.

Got a retail quote of 14,000 EUR per seat on the full version of AdminStudio. We need around 12 to 20 seats (big migration coming up) so that is a chunk of change alright.

I am speaking with Symantec on the roadmap, or lack of. Maybe someone could make a bid for the product and take it off their hands.
Answered 11/02/2010 by: Future_machine
Senior Yellow Belt

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I think someone has the decimal point in the wrong place there!
Answered 11/02/2010 by: VBScab
Red Belt

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I wish [:(]

Click the link http://shop.flexerasoftware.com/product/fullproducts.asp

choose an EU country name.

and scroll down the product list. Go to the full version aka

AdminStudio 9.5 Enterprise with Virtualization Pack + AdminStudio Enterprise with Virtualization Maintenance Plan - Silver €13,392.00
Answered 11/02/2010 by: Future_machine
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buy it from Aus its only about 4k
Answered 11/03/2010 by: jmcfadyen
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