4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 17, 2009 5:43 AM by Peter.Charnock

    Landesk Vs GPO Deployment



      My company already has Landesk in place but it is not currently used for software deployment. I have been looking into the deployment functions offered by Landesk and also Microsoft's SCCM.

      I want to find the best way to manage software on about 500 PCs with more reliability offered the using GPO software deployments. I am however struggling to replicate the way a GPO package will deploy software at either computer startup or user logon.


      I want to group apps into catagories such as critical, default and requested. i.e. critical will be antivirus etc, default will be flash player, office, etc, optional will be apps such as visio where I will add the computer to a group. 


      Using SCCM I could not find a way to get software deployed whist the user was logged off. (i.e. at computer startup) and so have moved on to Landesk.


      Using Landesk I like the idea of the policy assisted Push. I could use WOL at the weekend to boot the majority of PCs and push out the software whilst no one was in the office. This seems fine

      The problem I have with it is for the odd person in the office who will have apps open and the machines that weren't caught by the push. These machines will have active users logged onto them whilst the software is installed and if the apps are open the installation may fail or error. I tried out the delay install until logon but it still lets the user log on and open the app before the install package kicks in. the other issue I had with this is that it seems to delay the download until logon so there is a potentially large delay for a large package such as office.


      Please can someone give me some advice on the following points based on the above text

      1. When using Policy deployment how to ensure apps are closed for the install.

      2. Is it best practise with MSI deployments to uninstall the old package first?

      3. Is there a way to trigger software installs at logoff using a script?

      4. Some MSI packages detect open apps and hang until they are closed. If the deploy method hides all interaction from the user, will this just hang indefinitely?


      You may gather I have little experience with Landesk but any tips to my questions or anything else that may be relevant would be appreciated.


      Many Thanks

        • 1. Re: Landesk Vs GPO Deployment
          phoffmann SupportEmployee

          Re: 1 - There isn't a "LANDesk way" to ensure that App X is closed while you're trying to install it.


          How you could/should look into that problem is scripting - either BATCH, AutoIT or VBS (depends on your personal preference of poison to pick). Essentially, you can include stuff like the following pseudo code:


          IF process "WINWORD.EXE" is present

          THEN RUN "Kill process WINWORD.EXE"


          IF process "POWERPOINT.EXE" is present

          THEN RUN "Kill process POWERPOINT.EXE"


          (and so on)



          And so on ... this could be marked as a "pre-requisite" package for your particular job for instance - so it'd be run before the main package, or you could wrap the "real" package installation into the same batch/script file.




          Re: 2 - well ... that depends on the package. Normally, I'd say "yes" in most cases, but some MSI's may not require it. This should be covered as part of your package testing, really, to see if you require to do it. (I'd say "yes" purely on grounds of behavioural paranoia - anything that can go wrong can go wrong - and it'd be good to capture a broken uninstall first of all and seperately, if something will go bad) .




          Re: 3 -- There's no "at logoff" mechanism we have yet (much along the same line of thought, Microsoft's keeping pretty mum about it's "on reboot" stuff that Vista does, to install stuff there). The "best bet" here is either using the local scheduler's options (where we have filters for users having to be logged out, for instance), or using an "out of hours" maintenance window to push the job.


          We'd dearly like to be able to do that kind of magic, but so far we've not had too much luck getting Microsoft to cough up that kind of info.




          Re: 4 - I would suspect that yes, it would just hang (/ eventually time out). This is why I suggested trying to wrap the install into a script which does all the "clever detecting and killing" that you apparently need (it seems like a problem you seem to have to contend with quite regularly?).


          Hope this helps a bit.


          Paul Hoffmann

          LANDesk EMEA Technical Lead

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Landesk Vs GPO Deployment

            Thanks Paul for the info.


            I guess then the question is really for small packages such as flash is it better to deploy through Landesk or just stick to GPO. Is there anything obvious missing from the decision points below?



            Deployed at startup or logon

            Indirectly uses WOL




            Success/Failure Reporting

            Better bandwidth management

            Directly uses WOL


            Also are there any open process detection scripts and examples available here?

            • 3. Re: Landesk Vs GPO Deployment
              phoffmann SupportEmployee

              Well - depending on the layout of your network and size of your shop, you may want to consider "impact on network" as well (you did mention bandwidth management, but that could also be just talking about controlling use of available bandwidth - i..e dynamic bandwidth detection).


              GPO's will "blindly" just go to the install source + pull the package from there, whereas with LANDesk you've got the benefit of being able to either multicast stuff out (in preperation) or to automatically rely on stuff like peer download / preferred servers, etc. So it's a big question in regards to infrastructure as well.


              If you have only got a single site with (arbitrarily chosen number) 100 devices to worry about, I doubt bandwidth will be much of a swaying factor either way. But it's worth keeping in mind.




              Logon-time deployment can incidentally also be done with LANDesk quite happily (there's this "Run at next login" option, in a push delivery method, in case you missed it), which can help you a little as well.


              Generally I dislike having to deploy stuff at logon (regardless of whether it's with us or GPO, or anyone else), since the device is plenty busy just loading various apps and initialisting various bits so on as is. Throwing an install into there is sometimes necessary, but I don't overly like it (this is purely a personal opinion, mind you).


              I don't have any open process detection scripts - sorry - potentially someone like ZMan or so (who's fiddled a lot with AutoIT) has it, otherwise it's a matter of researching it + writing it (the main purpose was to make you aware of the possibility existing as well). There's a LOT of stuff you can weave complex stuff out of with a nice bit of scripting (and it's an often overlooked option).




              Final addendum - I'm of the opinion "if it works for you, use it". I won't tell you that you should use LANDesk to make your morning sandwich, if a toaster + knife work just as well if not better (so to speak ). It's really more about chosing which benefits / drawbacks of the respective choices work out better for YOU and your needs. In the end, it's just all about making educated choices - so I aim to educate insofar as my humble scribblings can do .


              Paul Hoffmann

              LANDesk EMEA Technical Lead

              • 4. Re: Landesk Vs GPO Deployment

                OK I have the following code which detects a process and returns a 0 if not running to proceed with the main package or 1 if running to fail.



                ' File saved as ProcessCheck.vbs

                ' Run as "ProcessCheck.vbs process.exe"
                ' script will return 0 if not running and 1 if running

                On Error Resume Next
                strproc = wscript.arguments(0)

                strComputer = "."
                Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:" & "{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")
                Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
                Set colProcessList = objWMIService.ExecQuery ("Select * from Win32_Process Where Name = '" & strproc  & "'")

                If colProcessList.Count > 0 Then




                End If


                Two questions are now evident

                1. How do I run a VBS as a package. I can only seem to do MSI, EXE or BAT?

                2. If the package is a policy and it fails, will it try again at another time? I will be able to find this out through testing I guess but thought I'd ask.