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.
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.
so that the conversation will remain readable.