Thursday, October 28, 2010

Autodesk Network Deployments and SCCM 2007

I hear from some of you a lot of the same issues, and rather than responding individually (because I don’t really have enough time, sorry), it might be better (more efficient, of broader benefit) to respond here.

When you build a network deployment for an Autodesk product, it builds a folder tree and populates the files needed to install each client.  But due to one particular aspect of how it builds the deployment you have to be very careful of one thing:

You cannot use replicated SCCM Distribution Points to disseminate the deployment package to multiple servers over multiple sites.

The reason is simple: In the deployment .INI file is a key named DEPLOYMENT_LOCATION, which has an assigned value that points back to the UNC path of the deployment tree itself.  It’s self-referencing.  If you copy the tree, and run the setup.exe, it will refer to the install source key value and therefore always pull everything else from the original location.

Example: Let’s say you build the deployment on a server in New York, and you have offices with AutoCAD users in Los Angeles, Seattle, Tokyo, London and Berlin.  And let’s say you have a robust System Center Configuration Manager 2007 hierarchy that lets you deploy packages from one location to all the others using the standard WAN replication mechanisms in SCCM.  The package gets copied to the DP servers in each of those locations.  The advertisements points to the program on the local DP server and runs.  As soon as it kicks off, it will start pulling files from the New York DP server.

How to resolve this?  Don’t use the DP server replication process.  Create your own DP shares and copy the deployments manually and then edit the .INI key value to suit each server location.  Here’s another article that references this as well http://web.me.com/microdev/iWeb/docs/netopts/wp4-portable-deployments.pdf

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