Which packaging/deployment apps should we use?

I've been doing applicaiton packaging and deployment since Zen 2. We use Zen 4 right now and are happy with it for the most part. However we have determined that eDirectory is out the door, we are in the progress of migrating to an Active Directory. Zen isn't out of the picture, but we don't like what we see with the Zen on AD solution.

So that gets me to the point of this. Which other solutions are you using? Deploying off the shelf apps is easy, anything can do it. Our particular need is that we have to deploy home grown applications. Most of these are pretty standard apps, but the exe's and/or dll's are updated quite often (up to several times a week per app.) So with Zen we just update the file, bump up the distribution, and the next time they run it, bang, A new version.

From what I have seen with MSI's, this type of situation just won't work. To update that file, I need to either do a repair install on the machine, or push out a patch. Thats alot of patches, and the repair just doesn't seem like a clean way to do it. I have a couple copies of WISE that we have played with trying to find other ways to do this with MSI's, but I'm falling short I've also tried svs, but going virtual on a low end shop floor machine seems to just eat their 512meg of ram too quickly.

thanks, I look forward to any input you all might be able to provide.

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Answers (4)

Posted by: yarborg 13 years ago
Blue Belt
Wise Package Studio is my first choice for packaging. And I always use exe's...not MSI's for the reasons you have already mentioned. I also use SMS for deployment, which is pretty reliable, but sometimes a bear to manage if you have a larger environment. Especially when client health becomes an issue as it often does.

For software that requires weekly or daily updates I prefer to use a robocopy\mirroring solution. Using Microsoft DFS or another highly available file share we place the application files out on the share. On the client we have a "launcher", which is essentially a Wise script or something similar that the user kicks off. It kicks off Robocopy.exe and gets any changed files from the share, then it launches the application. This way you can easily deploy and backout updates without trying to target every machine. Yeah it sounds antiquatd but the technology is very simple and proven.

MSI's are the buzz and have been for a long time, but truth be told they will usually cause more problems than they are worth. Stick with Exe's and get comfortable with Wise Scripting as it is a very powerful tool.

Also, I use Install Solutions' tools for catching up missed machines and overall management of the environment. This is my company so I am probably a little biased, but I have used them in supporting 50,000+ machines and they are a life saver in many cases. Check it out www.InstallSolutions.net

Hope that helps.
Posted by: Grids 13 years ago
Yellow Belt
I would look attentively to products of scriplogic's like desktop authority and desktop authority msi studio. That’s all you need for packaging applications to msi and deploying through enterprise. We used SMS before for deploying but in a big network it's really pain. Desktop authority is also a full functional desktop management tool. In our company we have it on more than 700 desktops.
Posted by: kkaminsk 13 years ago
9th Degree Black Belt
I liked SpecOps Deploy for simplicity if you want a deployment solution. SMS is slowly shaking off it's earlier and more troubled days but it is more than a deployment solution so it is a handful to set up and manage. You should take into account what you are looking for in a solution before implementation because I've seen so many places set up SMS and barely use the functionality within it.
Posted by: cschwab 13 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt
Thanks! I got a bit side tracked with another project and am just turning back around on this. I'll look at some of the solutions you have mentioned.
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