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    How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?

    Specialist

      I am a new customer to LANDesk as of this past year. We are going to rollout V9 to our client sometime over the next few months. Currently we are waiting for SP1 to hit. So in the meantime I have been learning the ins and outs of this product. I believe we have the Patch and Compliance module licked, and are moving to software distribution.

       

      The biggest pain point so far has been the fact that we are unable to send multiple Policy Supported Push or Straight up  Push Tasks to a single target device. You end up with errors on the subsequent pushes that an installation is already in progress. There is an ER in on that and we hope to get that flaw straightened out, link to the ER is as follows: http://community.landesk.com/support/thread/10471?start=0&tstart=0

       

      So after learning from LANDesk that the way to avoid these errors is to either use a different module, OS Distribution Provisioning, Security and Patch, or use Policy to distribute packages with Software Distribution, we decided to take the Policy Route and use Software Distribution to do what it is suppose to do, deliver software!

       

      The benefits we have found with Policy is that if you create a policy for each software package, and associate an uninstall routine for each distribution package, you in essence automate a lot of things. A machine that has been placed in a policy for say, Microsoft Project, will receive the software when it checks in for policy and policies also have the benefit of being able to queue up and not run into each other failing out with Another Installation Is In Progress message! You can also force policy via a script or the beta tools so you do not have to wait a certain amount of time for the machine to check in and start installing if you wish to see results right away, not so bad.

       

      If you leave this same policy out there, and say re-image a machine that is part of it, the said machine, as long as it has the same device name, will check back in and install that software! This alleviates the need for the technician to do anything other then re-image and place that PC back on the user's desk in our environment. LANDesk Policy will check in and install all software that the machine is part of policy for! Another great feature is that if there is a uninstall routine associated with the distribution package, and I need to uninstall that software from a machine all I need to do is go into the policy task and remove that machine, next time policy checks in it will see that it is no longer part of that Software Distribution Policy and remove the software automatically, no intervention required!

       

      So as admins of this system we are starting to paint the picture of creating our Distribution Packages on the back end, and having the normal day to day technicians use scheduled tasks to distribute software based on Policies the Admins Setup. We are looking to setup a policy for each peice of software we have in our Library, giving us the advantage of setting up delivery methods and such based on size of package to alleviate human error on the technicians part for say trying to deliver a 4-5GB package over the wire to an off-site location or even on site location, where as we would rather that type of software package be delivered by running from source!

       

      As I stated above we are very new customers to LANDesk, and I am trying to find out how people in the REAL WORLD deliver software with this system to their Enterprise Environments. The demo showed us how to deliver one package, I believe it was winzip, to one machine, any online training I have watched also showed us how to deliver one package, solargame.exe to one or multiple machines. We never really got to see how this thing worked on an Enterprise Llevel and are curious to see how the rest of the community uses this tool? We plan on using this to deliver software to machines locally on site and to machines around US, including Hawaii! Any reference or input would be appreciated!

       

      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
          Specialist

          Hi Ascott860!

          I like to share Landesk Things with you.

           

          So this is how we do it:

           

          First we have a Provisioning Task with Standard Software for every Site.

          So a new installed (imaged) client will get all his Standard Software.

           

          Second we are using a Policy Task (based on a Query) for important Things (like a alternative remote control Software for the support), that apply automatically

          on all new Systems.

           

          All other Software will be applied with a Standard Push Task (silent installation).

          So if someone needs a Software, he will ask us, to send the Software with a Landesk Push Task.

           

          From time to time, we are also checking for old Software.

          For this, we are also using a Policy Task, that ask the User, to upgrade his Software with the option to postbone the installation (other delivery Method).

           

          Btw. are you sure, that with deleting the client from a Policy Task, the software will be uninstalled?

          How is this done exactly, I never noticed such things!?

           

          Best Regards

          Troga

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
            Specialist

            Hi Troga! Thanks for the response!

             

            Yes you can definately setup your policies to uninstall the application if you say remove/delete the computer from that policy.

             

            The key here is as follows. With your Distribution Package you need to set an uninstall package in the Uninstall Assocation tab. It also says here that "Uninstall pacakges are only used with policy based deployment."

             

            Also from what I understand you need to setup your Policy, in scheduled task tab, to "Deploy packages in this task even if they were previously deployed". Software distribution on the agent side is smart enough to reconize it already has the software and it will not redeploy when policy checks in, UNLESS it was re-imaged and now does not exist on the machine, then you would get your automatic installation of the software as it is part of that policy!

             

            What I also learned is that if you have a computer that is part of various policies for software, and it is to be repurposed to another end user, you can delete the device out of your console and it will delete all associated policies for that device. So when you re-image or just simply bring that machine online when it checks in it will not get all the previously assigned software.

            • 3. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
              Specialist

              Okay, thank you for the good explanation.

              We dont use the uninstall Assocation Tab and the fully automatic uninstallation is also a little bit scaring for me.

              Exspecially if you are using Querys on the Policy Task, that not always will work 100% correct. ;-)

               

              Some Questions:

              How often will your Agent query for a new Software on your Clients and Servers?

              (You allready know the Landesk Support Tools, that are able to force a Policy Scan)

               

              Are you using preferred Shares on your Sites with a Sync Tool?

              I think preferred Shares are a must for enterprises with more than 2 remote sites.

               

              Best Regards

              Troga

               

              PS: Waiting for Landesk 9 SP1 is a good idea! Version 9 is buggy like hell....

              • 4. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                Specialist

                Yea we are not going to be using targeted queries for distibuting software. As much as I would love to use AD targeted queries to do software deployment, people and machines around this site are constantly changing departments and site locations. We have a baseline of software that goes on each device, after that each software distribution is at request and one offs. I have also started to setup a software catalog, for the end users, using the deployment portal for software that is of no charge and free.

                 

                We will be using two preferred servers in conjunction with our core. Our agent will query for new software once every four hours. The beta tool or policy sync script will help us inbetween check ins for need it now stuff.

                 

                The bugs are definately a bummer, but its basically the same with all new releases of any type of software. Can't wait for SP1!!

                • 5. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                  Specialist

                  Would appreciate any other user's feedback on Software Distribution in an Enterprise Environment! I believe Troga and I have learned something different from each other so far!

                  • 6. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                    Apprentice

                    We have base images with all of our companies core applications pre-installed built in. Basically everyone gets email so our image already contains specific email applications, everyone gets office so that is part of the image as well, so on and so on. This really speeds up our time to delivery when replacing a customers machine. That in combination with hardware independent imaging is a real time saver.

                     

                    When it comes to SWD, 90% of it is handled just as a scheduled task and scheduled accordingly by the technician that is deploying the application. We do use policies and queries from time to time to do distributions especially when we have to insure the client gets the application prior to say an enterprise upgrade. They are also very helpful when trying to make sure those laptop users get successfully deployed to when they aren't on-line all that often. We are getting in the habit of using policies more and more as time goes on.

                    • 7. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                      Specialist

                      Thanks for the reply Michael! Sound like we are along the same lines as far as the image goes. At some point I will research the OS Imaging and Deployment module. The hardware independent imaging sounds like something we can really put to use.

                       

                      So for your company you basically use scheduled tasks. Do your technicians find often that they have jobs bumping into one another and failing out? Are you using policy supported pushes? Pushes? Or straight policy? My thing is as it is with our current system I will have at least a dozen or so different technicians utilizing LDMS 9.0 at some point. One tech could quite potentially be pushing out a job to all computers in the yard, while other technicians will be doing trouble tickets and customer requests for new or re-installed software. If computer A is involved with a yard wide deployment of say Reader 10, and a technician just so happens to be re-installing another title of software there is potential for failure with policy supported pushes or pushes. From what I have seen the system does not like to queue jobs friendly unless you are using straight up policy. By the sounds of your getting in the habit of using policy more and more, I hope that we are planning on traveling down the path to least resistance as it looks to be shaping up as us utilizing policy for each software distribution package created. Just trying to wrap my hands and mind around how I can implement this to be somewhat Technician friendly!

                       

                      Thanks again for the input! Hope to hear from you as well as others. Lets keep this conversation going, feed off each other and bring to the table new ideas and ways to look at this system!

                      • 8. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                        Apprentice

                        We have not really ran into any issues with people scheduling tasks on top of each other. Every environment is different but in our case, we have appoximinelty 6000 clients which is supported by a team of about of about 6 individuals. We all work pretty closely together so we kind of know who is doing what at most times. We also have a change control process in place that keeps everyone in check. : ) We do have other users in our environment that use LANDesk such as our help desk but they don't do much as far as software distrubution.

                         

                        Most common delivery method we use is standard multicast distribution. Since the majority of our clients are remote over lower speed WAN connections, this is our most popular delivery method. In our office, we make the most use of Standard Push Distribution since we are all on the higher speed LAN and don't want to wait for the domain discovery process.

                         

                        As far as policies go, we usually use standard Policy, Required Installation.

                         

                        Hope this helps. Because every environment is different, I think you will see a lot of variance between businesses and how they leverage the tool.

                         

                        Mike

                        • 9. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                          Specialist

                          Definately agree with Environments being so different between each client! It's great taking advantage of this community to get ideas and help each other out. I definately will be looking into using the Multicast option for our slower links at remote sites! Re-evaluating how we get software to the endpoint has become Priority #1 since moving to LANDesk.

                          • 10. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                            Apprentice

                            I'm in a similar situation as the OP.  We just purchased LD and are starting to roll stuff out.  I'm really wanting to take our system to the next level, where systems are automagically given software.  The main thing that I see being a problem is #1) People wont delete the computer when a user leaves, and thus the new user of that computer may get some software they shouldn't.  2) People wont be able to figure out what software was given to a computer, and will have a hard time figuring out what tasks to add the users new computer to.

                            • 11. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                              Specialist

                              That definately could be an issue. As it is with my environment, if a user leaves the company or the computer is repurposed for someone else, we create a ticket for our technicians to re-image the machine. This re-image process also includes deleting the computer out of LDMS, which takes it out of all it's previous policies and gives the device a fresh start.

                               

                              As far as being a new customer of LANDesk, I am quickly realizing the need to change in house policy and processes. In the end I think its for a greater good, this system adds a lot of features my previous system could not provide. Thanks for the input!

                              • 12. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                                phoffmann SupportEmployee

                                It's a good way to deal with people leaving / devices being repurposed. I'm usually very partial towards "clean approaches", such as the tabula-rasa effect of re-imaging a device. I find it tends to create far fewer problems in the mid-long term from my experiences at various customers in regards to what works what doesn't work.

                                 

                                And policies should always be - at least - possible to be changed - it gets painful when those things are static and you have to crowbar a solution into a given frame ... change is not a bad thing, as long as it's carefully looked at and indeed assessed (and signed off) to be necessary and positive.

                                 

                                There's a variety of cringe-worthy stories I've picked up (by the distinct ill-pleasure of living through them) where I was faced with a "policy is policy for policy's sake and we won't change it so ner" mindset (so "no changes"), and this often caused considerably more pain than was necessary.

                                 

                                It seems unreasonable to live in an expectation that adaption is a one-way process, after all - much more fruitful to have it go both ways.

                                 

                                Good thread so far .

                                 

                                - Paul Hoffmann

                                LANDesk EMEA Technical Lead

                                • 13. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                                  Apprentice

                                  It would be nice if LANDesk had a method of seeing what polices were currently applied to a computer, and/or a way to swap policies with a new computer.  So for example, if I am setting up a new computer for Sally, I should be able to right click on her old computer and either copy or clone her computer's policies to her new computer.  If we have stuff going out to an OU/Department, that will make things really easy, however we don't often get stuff like that.  They are more often to say, "Please install this piece of software on all Engineering manager's computers".  When we ask who the engineering managers, and how are we supposed to know who they are, they just point to an org chart that changes every other day.  It makes things more difficult.  I'm sure I'll have my work cut out for me to come up with a system that will be effective and easy enough that my coworkers can all handle it.

                                   

                                  EDIT:  Okay, so you CAN see what policies are currently applied to a computer.  That helps a bit.  Hmmm

                                  • 14. Re: How do YOU use software distribution in your Enterprise Environment?
                                    Specialist

                                    In Sally's case theoretically you could find out what her old device ID is in your database, then associate the new device name to her old device ID with a script and you may be able to pull that off! But a nice GUI front end to do so with would be a sweet added feature, maybe a new ER!

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