"Software…Do I just deploy it or do I manage it?"
IT organizations are faced with the recurring dilemma of how to, not just deliver, but also manage the ongoing maintenance and lifecycle of the constantly changing software on end-user devices. This can be an overwhelming task if the correct technology is not used. Some organizations write scripts and bundle the software media to use “home-grown” deployment solutions. Other organizations use vendor tools that are task based (often referred to as “list and script”) and bundle the software and deliver it for automated installation. Both of these solutions require a second package to be created and deployed if there are errors with the software installation and in some cases require IT Support personnel to manually fix errors within the deployment or problems caused by users deleting the application files or installing other software that conflicts with the state of the deployed software.
More advanced organizations lean towards using a software management solution that allows them to build a single package that is intelligent enough not only to deploy the initial installation, but also repair, uninstall and even contain logic to support updates to itself all without the repetitive administrative work of deploying multiple packages and configurations to manage the application after the initial installation.
There are philosophical differences between Software “Deployment” and Software “Management.” Many organizations implement a Deployment technology to automate delivery and installation of software, configuration settings and patches to end-point devices, but is this enough? How do you manage the software going forward? How do you eliminate downtime and productivity loss due to unhealthy software? How do you reduce help desk tickets for broken software?
Software Management includes the entire lifecycle of that software, not just deployment, but also maintenance (repair and update) and removal (uninstall) of that software. Technology solutions like HP Client Automation manage the full lifecycle of the software through policy-driven entitlement using “Desired State Automation.”
Rather than packaging and pushing the software, then packaging and pushing fixes, updates and patches, and then packaging and pushing yet another package to remove the software, with a Software Management system, a single package contains the intelligence to install, maintain and remove the software. This significantly reduces the administrative overhead required to manage the entire software lifecycle. Through policy integration with Active Directory or other Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) sources, you can leverage the existing activities of admins or users that are already:
- Adding or removing a user or computer to or from a group.
- Moving an object between Organizational Units (OU).
These LDAP activities can drive policy entitlements for the end-user devices without knowledge of the sometimes complex technology and processes required to deploy and manage software.
Software Management is a slight paradigm shift from the common IT mentality of just “pushing software.” Not only does a Software Management solution like HP Client Automation reduce the administrative time spent managing software, it reduces the calls into the IT help desk or service desk. If the technology being used to manage software on the end-user devices is able to self-repair broken applications, end-user satisfaction and productivity will be higher because they will see fewer problems with the software as continuous verification of the “desired state” is ensured based on administrative policy.
Want to learn more? Feel free to contact me directly (email at bottom of post). And you may also want to check out my 10 minute demo of HP Client Automation OS Manager and the Evergreen Systems website client automation pages.
About the Author: Nate Aiken, Sr. Consultant, Evergreen Systems
Nate has a lifetime of computer knowledge and 12 years of experience working in IT service and support fields. He has more than 8 years of experience working with IT automation solutions. Nate has worked with many Fortune 1000 companies as well as several state and federal government agencies in planning and implementing IT automation solutions. You can email Nate at: "nate DOT aiken AT evergreensys DOT com"