Software Deployment

What is Software Deployment?

Software Deployment is the process of remotely installing software on multiple or all the computers within a network simultaneously, from a central location. The word "Software Deployment" is generally used in the context of a large network (more than 20 computers). Software Deployment comprises but is not limited to the following activities:

  1. Creating and maintaining up-to-date and ready-to-install software packages
  2. Configuring the target computers before the installation or uninstallation of the package
  3. Installing or uninstalling the software on the target computers
  4. Configuring the target computers post installation or uninstallation
  5. Upgrading existing software.

Software deployment diverges into patch management and IT asset management for software updates and to have complete control and visibility over the software installed across your network.

Why do you need a Software Deployment Solution?

All the above mentioned activities can be taken care of manually or via an automated solution. Doing it manually might be fine if you have a network of say, 15 computers, but anything beyond that becomes labor intensive and cost ineffective and is prone to redundancy. Even after having multiple technicians working on it manually, one cannot guarantee that all endpoints have the latest versions of software installed and configured. Hence, you need a centralized solution for all your software deployment needs.

What are the advantages of Software Deployment?

Having a software deployment tool allows you to:

  1. Deploy software to newly added users/computers automatically.
  2. Maintain all software packages in a central location.
  3. Save time and effort by automating deployment.
  4. Enable users to install applications on their own, and reduce the number of help desk tickets raised.
  5. Automatically update software templates.

Automate Software Deployment from a Central Location

Distributing software to all machines in a network can be a daunting task for IT Administrators, especially at large enterprises. With an ever-growing number of endpoints, it is becoming a real challenge to roll out software across organizations. Desktop Central allows you to distribute software packages to all the computers in your network across Windows, Mac and Linux from a central console, without user intervention.

Desktop Central comes with a feature-set that has the following advanced options to offer greater flexibility and control over the software deployment process:

  • Create a repository of packages. This enables administrators to re-use packages any number of times to install or uninstall the software applications
  • Deploy both MSI and EXE-based software applications
  • Use the set of predefined templates to deploy software applications
  • Perform pre-deployment activities for software installation/ uninstallation
  • Install software applications as a specific user using the Run As option
  • Copy the installables to computers before installing software applications
  • Schedule deployment of software applications
  • Uninstall MSI and EXE-based software applications
Windows Software Installation

Desktop Central's Windows Installer feature improves the administrator's productivity by supporting remote MSI & EXE software/application deployment. Desktop Central can automatically install MSI & EXE software to users or computers at a scheduled time. Desktop Central supports software installation to users and computers or mass installation to OUs, Domains and Sites.

Creating Software Repositories

Software repositories are used to store software packages. These packages can either be for MSI-based software applications or EXE-based software applications. A software package added in Desktop Central will have the location of the installation files along with the installation and uninstallation commands. A package once added can be used to deploy the software any number of times by just defining a configuration.

Pre Deployment activities

One of the major reasons for software deployment failure is that the target computers don't meet the prerequisites. It can take up a lot of time to figure out the exact issue and then troubleshoot it accordingly. Desktop Central's pre deployment activities let you perform condition checks and apply configurations before installation, to ensure that the target computers meet all the requirements and have all the configurations set up.

Post Deployment activities

The software deployment process is not complete even after the software has been installed. You need to ensure that the application is accessible to user, all the previous versions have been uninstalled, shortcuts have been set up and all the application specific configurations are applied. Desktop Central's post deployment activities allow you to apply follow-up configurations, run custom scripts, change registry settings, create shortcuts, create/append path, and much more after the installation.

Self Service Portal

One of the most common task of an IT admin is deploying requested applications to users, for which a lot of help desk tickets are raised regularly. These tickets usually take up lot lot of time and resources to resolve. Using Desktop Central's self service portal, you can empower users to install applications on their own. All you need to do is publish most commonly requested applications to the self service portal and reduce the number of help desk tickets raised significantly.

Scheduled Software Deployment

Desktop Central allows administrators to schedule a software deployment to users and computers after a specified time. This is very useful in deploying the software after business hours to ensure users/computers are not affected due to this deployment. The network traffic will also be minimum at off hours.

Visibility on Software Installation Status

Desktop Central does not stop with just installing MSI/EXE software in the user machines; it also provides the status of the installation for the administrator to check whether the installation was successful in all the configured systems. The software installation status is made available in the Desktop Central client, which can be accessed from anywhere in the network through a web browser.

Uninstalling MSI and EXE-based Software

In addition to installation of Windows software, Desktop Central also provides an ability to uninstall the MSI software applications that have been installed using Desktop Central. The details of the installed software are maintained under the configurations. The administrator can just open the configuration, edit it and choose to remove the software that was previously installed.

For more details, refer to the Windows Installer topic in the online help.

Deploying Software Applications Using Templates

The Templates tab in the Software Deployment section comprises of predefined applications that you can use to create packages automatically. This functionality downloads binaries from the respective vendors' websites to create packages automatically. You can create a single package or multiple packages from the Templates tab and deploy them to target computers.