Thursday, September 30, 2010

MS System Center Config Manager 2007 Tips for Deploying AutoCAD 2011 Products and other stuff as if this isn’t the ridiculously long title from the top of my pointy little head

Tip 1 – Package the Deployment in Accordance with Autodesk Guidelines

Use the Deployment utility to build a proper image.  I mean “proper” with respect to how Autodesk recommends building it.  And before you ask, because I get asked this all the time: NO, you do NOT have to grant any additional permissions to the share beyond READ-ONLY for users and computers UNLESS you chose to use a network log.  In that case, you only need to grant Change permissions to the account used to run your installations.  Do NOT grant Change permissions to “Domain Users”.

Build it.  Test it.  Rebuild it if necessary.  Test it again.  Repeat until ready.

Tip 2 – Fix the Package so it Works Properly

Then there’s the whole stupid-ass DirectX 9.0c issue.  So you will need to re-package the DirectX 9.0c components FOR EACH AUTODESK PRODUCT you intend to deploy via Config Manager, but the deployments won’t deploy with DirectX 9.0c and that causes the deployments to undeploy or de-deploy or whatever.  I’ve already blogged on this point, so go search back for what this is about and best of luck to you.  It works.  It’s just stupid as shit that a billion-dollar company touts support for Config Manager deployments and then doesn’t really make it work.

Tip 3 – Tweak the Advertisement

After you create the Package (do NOT use the Autodesk guidance here, make it manually), and create the Programs and edit the Program options (disable notifications, for example), then create the Advertisement and assign it to a null/blank/empty/unused collection until you’re ready to rock-n-roll.  Make sure you review the Advertisement settings and adjust them to suit your environment, your SLA terms with your users, your schedules (scheduled backups, scans, diagnostics, reports, etc.), and your sanity.

Tip 4 – Distribution Points are Important

AutoCAD 2011 products, like previous versions, are no toothpick wagon.  They’re pretty hefty deployments.  Several gigabytes of files that need to be pulled across the LAN and cached on the local hard drive to be extracted, expanded, exfoliated, expatriated and all that good stuff.  Make sure you took the time to place your distribution points and shares within close proximity (as it pertains to LAN throughput) to keep the traffic as localized to the targets as possible and avoid killing other LAN segments (assuming you have a WAN).  If you don’t have multiple locations then pop open a cold one and enjoy the freedom of not having to spend half your life managing that kind of mess.

Tip 5 – Baby Steps

Absolutely DO NOT push a big package like AutoCAD 2011 to all of your targets at once.  Even if it’s only going to 10 desktops, push it to 1 or 2 first.  Make sure that works.  Even better: Before pushing to any production computers, push it to a test computer (I push to a VM test computer as a standard practice).  Verify the results and move forward if all is well.

Tip 6 – Watch Out for Unplanned Restarts

If you don’t suppress reboots in the package and program options, you better make sure to set the post-install behavior in the Advertisement to suit.  Otherwise you will get some unclear or inaccurate results in your web reports.  I always disable/suppress reboots and capture the result code. 

Just keep in mind that if you choose to ignore the DirectX issue, your failed installations will still report “Successful” to SCCM and you will go off on a happy hour drinking binge, only to get a late night phone call that goes something like “Hey man, your deployments all failed.  You suck!!!”  That can lead to profuse vomiting like the back-alley scene in Team America (I love that scene by the way).

Tip 7 – Don’t Rush!

Take your time and be careful to document (take notes) what you’ve done.  It will help you with subsequent deployments for other Autodesk products (if you may have others).  If nothing else, it can save your ass months later when your network crashes and your backups don’t work and you bring the sleeping bag and spend all weekend rebuilding the network from scratch and you need to recreate the packages at 3:00 AM on Sunday.  Don’t laugh, I’ve seen that happen.

Tip 8 – Uhhh…

I forgot what 8 was going to be.  Oh well.  Seven tips should get you somewhere.  Seven days gets you to a weekend, right?

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