All you software packagers/deployers out there... i'm interested to get an idea of your rule of thumb when it comes to whether you try to deploy the vendor install, or try to capture the vendor install into an msi (using a tool such as Wise Package Studio) and deploy that way. What criteria do you use when making this decision? What method do you prefer? What kind of standards do you try to stick by? Interested to read your opinions and ideas.

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We are always trying to work with the commandline. This will ensure we get technical support and keep the installer intelligence. Sometimes, we are using Winbatch to still keep the installer intelligence.

You should use repackaging only:
1. The software is not an MSI
2. You know exactly what is install (files) and you cannot use the setup intelligence and its easy.
Answered 07/12/2008 by: Francoisracine
Third Degree Blue Belt

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1) Is software an MSI?
1a) YES: Tranform and deploy
1b) No: Repackage

Im sorry to say that command line installing every package out there is a sure fire way of leaving your environment in a state that a) crashes and b) is unstable. The benefits of MSI far outway the crappy support you receive from software vendors anyway and if you do need software support you phone up the vendor and ask them if they will support the app if its repackaged. The usual response I receive is, yes we support the app just not the installation aspect of said app.

Answered 07/14/2008 by: Inabus
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I disagree with you. A snapshot will always be a snapshot. Then by striping the installer intelligence you are on your own. Also sometimes MSI are just not useable silently, other time the exe you will want to repackage is containing an MSI, other time the manufacturer was just using MSI for wrapping and it does contain installshield setup, MSI and many other thing.

MSI is just good for simple installation or for software manufacturer when they are in full control of their sources.
Repackaging or not http://www.myitforum.com/forums/m_164898/mpage_1/key_/tm.htm#165343

To Repackage or Not to Repackage

In fact, if your tech are not top, making a snapshot may create more problems than using the setup.exe. There will be always pro's and con's for repackaging or not. The answer will never be Yes or No. The very best practice is to use all tools in your hand and select the best one for each solution. Would you really create an MSI to deploy a shortcut? Sometimes, it might be best of repackage and sometimes not.

Answered 07/14/2008 by: Francoisracine
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ORIGINAL: Francoisracine
MSI is just good for simple installation
I would put 'LOL' but it wouldn't convey how funny I found that assertion. You mean simple installations like...oooh, I don't know....Microsof Office, Visual Studio, SQL Server. I picked the MS ones because they're good examples of MSIs being used for what are decidely NON-simple installations. Please note that I didn't say they were good MSIs :)
Answered 07/14/2008 by: VBScab
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The program you suggest are already MSI. I was speaking about repakaging. I agree with you, can repackage what you want but bigger the program you wish to repackage, bigger is the problem you might encounter. I would not repackage Oracle DS or Warehouse builder. And I know peoples did it successfully. But sometimes small program are harder than bigger one.

MSI= "intelligent" snapshot.

Nothing else. I saw here what bad snapshot can do and I cannot suggest to go to that way unless the technicians are very competent and if the internal processus to validate the MSIs are rigourous (hope its correct in english).
Answered 07/14/2008 by: Francoisracine
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Repackaging is the best thing to do if you can do it, it is hard to get accurate snapshots at times.
Answered 07/29/2008 by: HammerHead
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if the application is not in windows installer you do miss out on some very useful benefits.

1) application sociability (less breakage during uninstall)
2) self repair not available
3) elevated installs (this is very very useful from a deployment perspective)

the list does go on but these three a major points of contention with an app that is not Windows Installer based.

agreed sometimes snapshot is difficult but I would hardly say MSI is for simple apps. (although it does cater for that) This is huge vendor support for deployment of MSI's with all the major players. Be it Altiris / SMS / AD GPO / Managesoft / Zenworks (well sort of) / Landesk they all support it.

If your the person who is actually responsible for deploying the software MSI or not, you will quickly learn when it is in an MSI format your life can be made considerably easier (assuming a well constructed MSI)
Answered 07/30/2008 by: jmcfadyen
Fifth Degree Black Belt

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