Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 – Software Distribution Practical

Back to getting hands on with SCCM in part 2 of Software distribution (the practical) blog.

I’ll get straight in to it as we’ve got a fair amount to cover in this blog, but I’m going to cover off the various elements which make up software distribution as a whole:

  • Distribution Point
  • Packages
  • Programs
  • Advertisements
  • Branch Distribution Points
Let make sure before we go any further that the client is configured for software distribution. Right click Advertised Programs Client Agent Properties from within client agents.

If this is not already enabled then lets enable it

We don’t have to worry too much about the notification at this point, you will see this later on and can change accordingly.

Now we know the client side should be OK, we need to check server side is OK as well.

Make sure we have the ConfigMgr distribution point set as a standard distribution point.

This is also where you can chose which remote computers can become branch distribution points.

If you using SCCM within a protected boundary, you can adjust the settings within the ConfigMgr site system options, as well as changing the account used.

For example you may wish to include only a certain subnet, or existing site boundary. In our case we only have the one site so this does not matter.

I’ now going to create a new shared folder called SourceFiles (c:\sourcefiles). I’m going to use this directory to start storing all the files required for app deployment and operating system deployment (to be covered later).

Make sure the computer has full access to this share

Expand software distributions, and you will be presented with two sub folders. Packages and Advertisements.

Right click and select new Package

We will now start to create a package we wish to deploy. In this example I am using Adobe Reader to deploy

On the second page select the location the .exe or .msi file is located

One quick check it’s worth making is the software distribution properties is set to store packages on the same drive you wish to use

You can also specify additional options but for this example we can ignore them and leave the default.

Back to the new package wizard, we wish to access the folder via the ConfigMgr share. This is a hidden share created by default

We can now set the priority, again leave these default. You can also chose to automatically down the content or chose to manually do this and manually publish to distribution sites.

Leave the MIF section as default

Click next and then Finish.

We’ve now created our first package.

If you right click  > properties you can adjust any items if required.

In the navigation pane (once refreshed) you will see your newly created package.

Access account is fairly standard, don’t worry about these.

Now we have our package, we need to create a program (remember the diagram in the last blog?) The program is contained within the package.

The program is the .exe or .msi which is going to run.

Quickly skip over to to find out the command line switches..

Even though we have specified to hide alerts, sometimes (and some .exe’s) don’t have the suppress alerts packaged with them. We can chose to make sure the program run’s hidden

Once it’s run if it needs a restart what action would you like to take?

Fill out any additional details. (size/what clients it can run on/maximum run time)

Now we can chose when we want this to run

We have many additional options (again I’m leaving these as default). We don’t need to run a program first before installing. But we could have a package which for example removes a certain application before installing this application.

If you have a licence key associated with the software you can enter it in here.

If for example SCOM is monitoring the server or workstation you can chose to ignore alerts/disable alerts from SCOM whilst this is running.

Click OK and Finish

We now have a program

Next step is to “send” this program to the distribution point

As we only have the one server we can only select MRSCCM02

Click OK then Finish.

If you now browse to that hidden file share I mentioned earlier:

You will see a new folder (we only have one package so far)

Within this folder we have the adobe reader .exe

We now need to advertise this to our clients. Right click > New > Advertisement

Click browse to select the package

Select the collection you wish to deploy (advertise) to

We can specify when we wish to advertise this

We can chose when we want to either schedule or just select to assign as soon as possible

Do w wish to allow system restarts outside of maintenance windows? What should the program re-run policy be?

If you are over a slow link (to remote office’s) you will want them to download from the distribution point, but in your head office you will want to “stream” the application (and by that I mean the client will simply run it from MRSCCM02 as oppose to downloading it locally).

Do we wish the user to interact at all?

We can leave the default security rights for now

Click OK and Finish

We now have our advertisement setup.

We can chose to re-run this advertisement or even disable the program (which will then try to remove it from clients)

Now we need to check to see how this deployment is getting on. Browse to System status

We can see the program has been installed on the distribution point successfully. (Note: the program hasn’t been installed, this just means the program is available and ready for installation to clients).

If we now click on advertisements, you will see the files haven’t actually be advertised out to clients yet (it can take sometime).

Once it starts to advertise to clients you can right click > view messages and here we can see the status

We can now see both XP machines have been received and the program has been started

Checking the logs again shows it’s now running using the command line switch we specified

Now if we hadn’t chosen to hide the notifications this is the alert the user would see:

The user can then chose if they wish to have the software installed

Now I actually got bored of waiting for adobe reader to install, so I quickly published VLC player as I knew this was a small and easy install.

As you can see, I set to advertise every 5 minutes and install each time (hence why we have 18 installations….)

Viewing the XP machine we can now see on the desktop

Finally if we check the start menu, there’s our newly advertised program

There we have it. I’ll admit it’s been a fairly long blog this one but when you think about it, it’s not actually that difficult. Just remember the package must contain a program (the “WHAT”). You then need to define the schedule of the advertisement, and which collection it is being advertised to (the “WHEN” and “WHO”).

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