Hi, I work in a school and we wanted to buy a deployment tool.

We have 600+ machines actually on w2k, several hardware, and several variety of software.
Users have user rights, some power user rights...

We actually use Norton Ghost 7.5 Corporate edition, but this doesn't do all the job we want.
Is there a simple tool for deploy patches, hotfixes on client machines without tell the user to click somewhere or do something. They just don't have to do anything ( don't even see what happens if this exists (silent install)). And also we would like to know if these patches were deployed or not (logs or something like that).

I'm new to this technology, and didn't try another tool than ghost.

Could someone help me please?

Thanks in advance.
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Well it depends on your envirnment. Are you a Microsoft shop running W2K / 2003 Servers? Active Directory? NT4 Domains? Are you a Novell shop?

We are a Novell shop running Netware 6.x servers and ZenWorks for Desktops 4.01. That being said ZenWorks can live in a 100% Microsoft server environment, but if you are already doing AD you might want to think about Microsoft's SMS server instead, because with Zenworks you have to be running eDirectory, which can also run on MS servers, and with Account Management from Novell you can sync your AD accounts and your eDir accounts, but why add one more level of complexity? Now if you are a Novell shop with eDir running then your natural choice is ZenWorks. Now if you are a Linux shop, then again ZenWorks is an option for you as it runs under Windows, Netware, and Linux, again you have to setup eDirectory to get it to work. But ZfD is a complete solution with imaging, inventory, desktop security (through group policies), application deployment, etc, etc. No, I don't work for Novell ;-), just a happy ZfD Admin.
Good luck and hope this has helped.


Answered 04/16/2004 by: stewharr
Senior Yellow Belt

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You can get much of the information needed using the Expert NT/2K/XP/K3 Command Library and standard shell scripts (batch files).

Specifically, the :System_Info procedure, which provides

Service Pack
IE Version
Installed Applications

Answered 04/17/2004 by: guard
Senior Yellow Belt

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We actually work with netware shop (5 I think), which is not compatible with w2k (for some tasks (reg, etc)) and I don't think we will upgrade in the next few months.

the one who worked here before me worked with zenworks with Nt4 stations.
We upgraded all station to W2k this summer, and we have norton ghost 7.5 corporate edition imaging tool , and sometime use integrated AI Builder to push some tasks. But this doesn't work well for hotfixes or patches....

Ah! we don't use AD, we are in a novell environnement.

We now need a tool to push the hotfixes without user clicks...a tool which I can make groups for program installations.

Is that possible?
Answered 04/19/2004 by: sn00f
Yellow Belt

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Well if you just need something for hotfixes, then you might want to setup a MS SUS server. No AD necessary, just need a way to push out .reg files to the machines. You will have to install it on an MS Windows 2000 Server, but I know some departments on our campus who are using 800 mhz desktops for this role.

What version of ZfD are you running? Starter Pack?

You can actually install ZfD 4.01 on a NW 5.1 server, according to Novell's documentation on ZfD 4.01 at http://www.novell.com/documentation/lg/zdpr/index.html
But I would suggest you upgrade your NW to something newer ASAP, because I believe that NW 5.0 has been End of Lifed, therefore no support or patches. I would upgrade to at least 6.0. If you go 6.5 you won't be able to install ZfD 4.01's middle tier server, for now anyway. But in my shop that doesn't matter since all my clients are running client32. The Middle Tier server is useful for shops wanting to manage windows boxes that are not running client32, or are not inside the firewall, like roaming laptops, etc.

You can issue commands through the login script too, but I don't know how reliable that would be if you are not 100% sure that all your machines are at the exact same patch level. Look into WSH scripting, it can come in handy no matter what patch / application mgmt tool you choose. But if you already have ZfD I would stick with that, contact your Novell rep and see what they can do for you as far as pricing goes.

Take a look at this site:
It has links to some scripting resources that Gainsville College in Gainsville, GA uses. As far as patch mgmt goes these guys have it figured out.

Good luck and hope I have helped.
Answered 04/19/2004 by: stewharr
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SUS is an excellent suggestion, but keep in mind that the current version only has the ability to push out patches, etc., to the operating system. Supposedly, a future release will also have the ability to push out updates for Office applications and the like.

Another possible method/tool is GFI's Network Security Scanner. It can deploy patches to the OS as well as to applications. It audits machines and generates a report on what updates are installed or not installed. It works by downloading Microsoft's mssecure.xml from the internet, and running it against target machines to determine what is needed.

craig --<>.
Answered 04/19/2004 by: craig16229
Third Degree Brown Belt

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stewharr, I don't think the network Administrator would change the novell product now because of it's costs (I think). I know zenworks would be a right tool to deploy my patches, software updates and also new softwares.
As I already said, we have norotn Ghost to deploy images, but nothing to update hotfixes and patches (and we can't actually use unattended instead of images because it takes too much time peer machine).
So we need some tool like Netinstall or Zenworks, but I couldn't compare (til now) these products (like other ones)...A tool to apply Hotfixes AND softwares, and that's why I can't use a SUS server :-/
I'll try Netinstall the next days but I need other prodcts to compare with. I don't think SMS 2003 would be right just because of politic reasons (Chief says that :-) )

craig16229, thank you for your GFI link i'll check that as soon as posible. It is what I need.

Has someone other tools to propose?

thanks again
Answered 04/21/2004 by: sn00f
Yellow Belt

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Here are a couple suggestions depending on networking mix and allowable costs(all Windows boxes make SMS more appealing than Radia, for instance).

Novadigm Radia - Scripting isn't a strong point but everything will be an msi either going in or coming out. Kinda expensive but goes anywhere (eDirectory, AD, NT4 domain, Unix directories, really any x.500). U.S Navy and some other Large Firms use.

NetSupport NetInstall - fairly powerful scripting back-end ability to export script to MSI, kinda (some issues with major functions like re-ACL'ing registry/directories, if you write MSI's out of this that problem goes away). Really shines in Windows only environments with fat-pipe.

Novell ZenWorks - really the grandfather of all deployment tools. Some good stuff coming out in ZfD4 (added scripting means). Large support group. Can ride on Windows-only networks (really just has eDirectory replicate to AD). On many educational networks and in larger firms, highly scalable but really only talks to it's own NOS and makes ODBC-type calls to AD for Windows-only networks.

Really without having a clearer view of your network and the state of your apps (mostly msi, mostly bat file?). It's kinda hard to make suggestions except to point you to vendor sites and let you wade through the marketing hype.

Answered 05/10/2004 by: pm378597
Yellow Belt

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thank you for your answer !

actually I tried Netinstall and Ghost 8.0 corporate edition (we already have version 7.5). I know Netinstall is more powerfull than Ghost but those responsible said it would be too expansive for what we wanted (push AI packed files, hotfixes and execute commands. I finaly think that we will stay with symantec and buy Ghost 8.0....

Hope this will be suficiant.
Thank you
Answered 05/24/2004 by: sn00f
Yellow Belt

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Not sure if it's too late but check out www.matrix42.com they have a Empirum tool that will work with Novel and or AD but no domain is not a problem.
Answered 06/24/2004 by: aktiveradio
Senior Yellow Belt

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Microsoft SUS is great suggestion I think... If U dont mind, U could wait for WUS, it will be much better, but now I am using SUS, users with Users, Power Users and Local Administrator privileges and it is great I think. Updates are scheduled at 3am
Answered 06/25/2004 by: Soulin
Senior Yellow Belt

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The radia product can actually work with scripts very well. My personal feeling is let the Software distribution tool do the logic for you. If you know Radia really well you do not need to script that much.
Answered 06/13/2005 by: sdexpert
Senior Yellow Belt

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