Windows deployment services

#6: Still BFF’s: Easy Software Deployment & Windows Deployment Services (Part 2)

Frank van Hoolwerff #SoftwareDeploymentTips 0 Comments

Part 2: How to deploy your software combining Easy Software Deployment & Windows Deployment Services.

Remember our last blog where we showed you how to implement Easy Software Deployment with Windows Deployment Services? If you followed that article, as a result you now have a setup where you can deploy images and your software.

Infograph 1: What kind of software deployment to choose?

1. What kind of software deployment to choose?

But now what? How do you plan on deploying the rest of your software? And in addition, what software will you put in your baseline? Or maybe you don’t even understand what a baseline is? Will you deploy the software to a user account or to a computer account? To help you out with all these questions, we wrote this blog so you can easily start with software deployment.

First of all, let’s use the infograph on the right (click to enlarge, it will open in a new window) so we can check what kind of software deployment we need to choose.

Next, let’s explain some of the things noted in the infograph:

What are computer based (software) applications? These are the applications that cannot be installed under user context or perhaps the software needs to be there before a user logs on. An application specialist / repackager knows these things, hence our guys at Provolve IT can help you out with these kinds of questions.

What are user based (software) applications? Unlike the computer based applications, these applications can be installed under the user content or sometimes even MUST be installed under the user content.

What are baseline (software) applications? These are the applications that EVERYONE in your organization needs, consequently, this software and middleware needs to be present on ALL computers that you manage with Easy Software Deployment or your other deployment software of choice.

So make a list of all your software and go through the flowchart with all of them.

Example:

Microsoft Office 2016
Computer based installation? Yes
Used by everyone? Yes
Baseline software

Adobe Flash Active X
Computer based installation? Yes
Used by everyone? Yes
Baseline software

Java Runtime Environment
Computer based installation? Yes
Used by everyone? Yes
Baseline software

Slack (check this software out, we love Slack!)
Computer based installation? No
User based Group Assigned Software

Microsoft Visio 2016
Computer based installation? Yes
Used by everyone? No
Computer based assigned software

Here it gets a little confusing: because Office Visio 2013/16 can be installed user based (click and run) and computer based, therfore it is your decision how you want to deploy the software. Again, with questions like these contact the guys at Provolve IT. They’d be happy to help you out.

 

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Infograph 2: How to install the applications

2. Installation of the software

So, now you have a list of your software that you are going to use and you also know how to deploy them: user based, computer based or baseline. But now what? How do you go on actually installing these applications?

Check the infograph on the right (click to enlarge, it will open in a new window).

Let’s explain a few things again:

Source Software: These are the (setup) executables you receive /download from the vendor.

Software deployable from vendor? Sometimes the software can be deployed out of the box. Nowadays vendors let their executables install silently out of the box with parameters or with an answer file.

Virtualization: You might want to use App-V or another virtualization technique for your software.

Does the software run from the network? Sometimes software can be placed in a shared network folder and the executable can be executed from there.

Repackage Software: When software can not be installed with your wishes by parameters, or the software can not be installed silently at all, or perhaps you want your software virtualized. Adjusting and creating a software installation is called repackaging. Again, our friends from Provolve IT can help you out with repackaging projects.

 

3. Deploy

Alrighty tighty then, we now have two data:

1: we know what kind of deployment the software is: either user based, computer based or baseline deployment.
2: we have a deployable software package.

Ok now what? We’ll have to create AD groups so we can connect those to the deployment tool. Consult the third flowchart on the right to get started (click to enlarge, it will open in a new window).

So, let’s explain a few things again:

Create User Security Group AD
If the software is a user based application, we need to create an Active Directory security group. Assign this security group to the software for a user based installation. Add the users that require the software to the security group and the software gets deployed.

Create Computer Security Group AD
If the software is a computer based application, we need to create an Active Directory security group. Assign this security group to the software for a computer based installation. Add the computers that require the software to the security group and the software gets deployed.

With Easy Software Deployment you can also just assign users, computers and groups to the installation item in ESD (without adding them to a security group), but I like groups. Groups allow you to add users through AD, without the need to change the application deployment scope itself. When you use default application sets for new users that join the company, you can just add them to the necessary

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Infograph 3: How to create AD groups

groups and the applications will be available after logon.

4. Naming the Security Groups

Choosing a security group name is easy, you can name it any way you want, but I really like to choose a standard for them, so I can easily see what purpose the security group holds.

For software I do not create domain and local groups, rather I only create a domain global group and put in a naming like this:

GSEC_APPL_CB_BL_Adobe_Reader_DC
GSEC_APPL_CB_MS_Office_Professional_2016
GSEC_APPL_UB_MS_Visio_2016
GSEC_APPL_UB_Slack

Let’s diagnose it down:

GSEC_APPL_CB_BL_Adobe_Reader_DC

GSEC: Global Security Group
APPL: Software
CB: Computer based (on computer based software)
UB: User based (on user based software)
BL: Baseline (you only use this on baseline software)
Vendor (the company who made / market the program)
Product (the name of the software)
Version (version number)

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5. Adding computers to a security group

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The security group has 4 computers, I added the computers manually, but do you remember our powershell script we used the last time? Read the how-to in our previous blog or directly download the powershell script here: Autoaddsystems.ps1

In addition, you can modify this script to add computers automatically to the security group for the baseline. You could use nesting to minimize the scripts, but I do not like nesting because you will lose the overview of members, so I rather expand the script.

In my example below, ALL computers from the OU Computers: APP.local\APP\Computers are added to the security group GSEC_APPL_CB_BL_Adobe_Reader_DC

# Replace all the %value% with your environment variables
 # %Domain% = Your Domain name
 # %OU1%,%OU2% etc = Example : OU=Staging,OU=Machines,DC=app,DC=local
 # %Security_Group% = The name of your baseline security group example: "CN=GSEC_Staging_Baseline,OU=Staging,OU=Machines,DC=app,DC=local"

$OU="OU=Computers,OU=APP,DC=app,DC=local"

$Baseline1="CN=GSEC_APPL_CB_BL_Adobe_Reader_DC,OU=Software,OU=Groups,OU=APP,DC=app,DC=local"

Get-ADGroupMember –Identity $Baseline1 | Where-Object {$_.distinguishedName –NotMatch $OU} | ForEach-Object {Remove-ADPrincipalGroupMembership –Identity $_ –MemberOf $Baseline1 –Confirm:$false}

Get-ADComputer –SearchBase $OU –SearchScope OneLevel –LDAPFilter "(!memberOf=$Baseline1)" | ForEach-Object {Add-ADPrincipalGroupMembership –Identity $_ –MemberOf $Baseline1}

Make this a scheduled task so your environment has one hastle less!

 

6. So, let’s make a baseline software deployment together!

1: Open Easy Software Deployment
2: On the prompt, select “Cancel”.

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If you selected “Don’t display this message again”, you can skip this step.

3: Select New Installation Category

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4: Give it a name you can work with, for example something which helps you recognize when it was created and what version the baseline is, perhaps you have to edit it in the same month.

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Now let’s add the installation item next, right click the Category and select new installation item:

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Select the software installer that you use for the baseline application, in my case I use an .exe .

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Click Next

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Click Next

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Select the executable and click Open.

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Give the software a name you can work with, I keep my naming similar to the AD group, because that way the link is easily made between the software and the security group.

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Click OK

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Go to Deployment Options and select Start on OS startup (system)

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Go to Availability Options

Click the browse … Button by groups

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Select the group we created accordingly.

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Next, hit Add.

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And voilà, we have a software installation item that gets deployed to a security group that is automagically filled with all your computers!

I hope you enjoyed this blog, because as a result you now know how to use Windows Deployment Services with Easy Software Deployment and how to go on with planning the software deployment with ESD. Also, if you never heard of or never used ESD, go ahead and take a tour on our website. After you get a free 30 day trial, download the guide, because it explains on how to create installation items in ESD and the possibilities of the software.

‘Till next time!

Frank


Software Deployment Tips is a recurring blog series about current news in the software/app world.
Each time we will handle a situation, which is important and relevant at that time, and we will show you how to quickly take care of it using Easy Software Deployment.

Written by Frank van Hoolwerff, our Senior Technical Consultant.

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