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About Software Deployment in Essentials

Updated: April 14, 2010

Applies To: System Center Essentials 2010

System Center Essentials 2010 allows you to centrally deploy software to your managed computers. Using Essentials 2010, you package the software for deployment, use computer groups to specify on which computers you want to install the software, and then run reports to monitor the deployment status.

To understand how Essentials 2010 deploys software, you should become familiar with the following terms:

Software package
The combination of files, settings, and related general information that is required to install software on managed computers.

The general information includes items such as the command line that needs to run on computers to install the software, hardware requirements that must be met before the software can be successfully installed, and a schedule for the installation.

Computer group
A collection of managed computers that satisfies certain criteria. A computer group must be configured for software deployment before you can deploy software to its members.

Approval
The step of approving a software package for deployment to computer groups. After a software package is approved, Essentials 2010 deploys the approved software to the specified computer groups.

Software Deployment Installation Files

During the software deployment process, you might need to work with the following types of installation files:

  • EXE applications

  • Windows Installer applications

  • EXE-wrapped Windows Installer applications

EXE Applications

EXE applications are characterized by an .exe installation file and possibly additional files, all of which must be located in a single folder.

For EXE application deployments, you can specify the following:

  • Installation parameters

  • Whether to add the software to Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel

noteNote
Programs that are published to Add or Remove Programs can be seen only by members of the local Administrators group.

Windows Installer Applications

Windows Installer applications are characterized by a Windows Installer installation file and possibly additional files, all of which must be located in a single folder. When you specify a Windows Installer file, Essentials 2010 retrieves information, such as the package name, directly from the file.

For Windows Installer application deployments, you can specify the following:

  • Installation and removal parameters

  • An installation configuration file

  • Whether to add the software to Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel

noteNote
Programs that are published to Add or Remove Programs can be seen only by members of the local Administrators group.

EXE Wrapped Windows Installer Applications

EXE wrapped Windows Installer applications are characterized by .exe and Windows Installer files and possibly additional files, all of which must be located in a single folder.

When deploying an EXE wrapped Windows Installer application, Essentials 2010 uses the Windows Installer files to monitor the installation status of the application.

For EXE wrapped Windows Installer application deployments, you can specify the following:

  • Installation parameters

  • The Windows Installer files to be used for deployment status detection

  • An installation configuration file

  • Whether to add the software to Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel

noteNote
Programs that are published to Add or Remove Programs can be seen only by members of the local Administrators group.

Software Deployment Process on the Management Server

Deploying software to managed computers consists of the following phases:

  1. Create a software deployment package. You need to specify the software source files that are needed for the deployment, the command line that installs the software, and other general information required for the software deployment.

    By default, Essentials 2010 stores the source files and other package-related files in the %SYSTEMDRIVE%\SCE\UpdateServicesPackages\<package> folder, or in the(%PROGRAMFILES%\Update Services\UpdateServicesPackages\ folder if, during Setup, you chose to not store updates locally.

  2. Select an existing computer group or create a new group that contains the computers that you want to deploy the software to.

  3. Approve the deployment for the appropriate computer group.

  4. View reports and alerts to monitor the progress of the deployment and to identify and understand problems that caused the software installation to fail on certain computers.

Using Computer Groups for Software Deployment

To deploy software to a managed computer, the computer must be a member of a computer group. You can either use an existing computer group or create a new group. In a single software deployment, you can deploy software to multiple computer groups.

Software Deployment Process on the Managed Computers

The agent on approved managed computers checks for new software deployments every 22 hours. After the administrator approves software for deployment, the agent, in its next cycle, detects that new software is available. The agent then determines when the software needs to be installed and displays a notification icon in the computer's notification area. The agent adds the software to Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel, if the software is configured as optional.

Users are notified about new software and new updates in the same way. For example, the same notification icon displays when new software becomes available and when new updates become available.

Restart Behavior

If a software installation requires that the computer restart, the agent complies with the current domain restart policies that are in effect on the computer.

ImportantImportant
Automatic Updates must be enabled on the managed computer to allow Essentials 2010 to deploy software to that managed computer. To view the status of Automatic Updates, open Automatic Updates in Control Panel.

Installation Schedule

The installation schedule of the software depends on how you configured the software package, and the settings of Automatic Updates:

  • If you set a deadline, the software is automatically installed at the deadline.

  • If you configured the package as optional, the software is added to Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel on the managed computer, and the user can install it at any time.

noteNote
Programs that are published to Add or Remove Programs can be seen only by members of the local Administrators group.

  • If you did not set a deadline, and the installation is mandatory (you did not configure it as optional) the installation time depends on how Automatic Updates is configured on the computer:

    • If Automatic Updates is configured to automatically download and install at a certain time, the software installs automatically at that time unless the user has already manually installed it.

    • If Automatic Updates is configured for automatic download and manual install, the user can install the software at any time.

    • If Automatic Updates is configured to notify users about updates, the software is installed immediately upon the user's approval of the notification message.

See Also

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