How can I use Prism Pack to make my management suite work better?
Most of the popular management suite products have a built in software packager: the SMS Installer, ZENworks SnAppShot, Tivoli Autopack and so on. The trouble is, software deployment is only a part of what a management suite does … and it usually shows. Prism Pack is the perfect complement to management suites. Prism Pack gives you the easiest, fastest, most reliable and flexible software packaging around.
You can deploy Prism files with a management suite, so why not use the "masters"? (That's how eWeek Magazine refers to Lanovation's packaging technology.) Prism Pack actually makes your suite work better for you so you won't need to tear down and rebuild your entire network infrastructure. Plus, Prism Pack makes it easy to update mobile and remote PCs your suite probably isn't touching. Since Prism Pack is extremely easy to learn and use and reliable, it pays for itself the very first time you use it.
How does Prism Pack compare to scripting tools?
Scripting tools, for which Installshield and Wise are famous, were created with the software developer in mind. While they have evolved to use snapshotting (taking a before and after picture of an install routine) the capture process is still quite cumbersome and non-intuitive. Scripting tools do not allow for easy editing and customization - rather they require the editing of complex scripts. The skill level required to use these tools is that of a software developer or engineer.
Prism Pack is an excellent alternative to these complex tools. Prism Pack was designed for the network administrator. Its intuitive, graphical interface literally creates deployment packages for you. You click "next" and Prism Pack takes a baseline picture of your system. You install software, reboot your PC (if required) and click "next" when Prism Pack "finds changes" and creates your package. That's all there is to it.
If you wish to edit the package or customize it for a diverse environment, this functionality is all achieved via drag and drop or simple wizards and radio buttons in Prism Pack. You NEVER, EVER have to write or edit complicated scripts.
Prism Pack also has a built in conflict checker. Conflict Checker checks multiple deployment packages for conflicts in the files and registry pre-deployment. You can eliminate problems - like "DLL Hell" before they occur.
Can one Package work across all platforms (in a heterogeneous environment)?
Yes and no. If applications install operating system-specific entities (i.e. services on NT/2000/XP), separate Packages will be needed for 9x/Me and NT/2000/XP. If the application does not install items specific to the operating system, one Package will work across all platforms.
Can I create .exe and .msi files with Prism products?
Yes. Prism allows you to convert Prism Packages (.PWC) into standalone executables (.EXE) or Windows Installer files (.MSI) with a single mouse click.
What if the user had something open during the install - would the install fail?
No, the install would succeed. Prism would recognize the file(s) is in use, store the item in memory, and replace the busy file upon the next reboot. This is the same technology Windows uses to update busy files.
Can Prism install service packs and OS updates?
On NT, yes, on 2000/XP, yes and no. Windows 2000 and XP now utilize a feature called Windows File Protection (WFP). If Prism replaces one of these protected files during an installation, Windows will automatically replace the file Prism just updated upon the next reboot. Not all hotfixes update the files protected by WFP and thus the majority of OS updates can be properly installed using a Prism Package. Because service packs encompass all the hotfixes, Prism does not support the installation of service packs on 2000/XP.
What if I need to reboot during the installation and package creation - will all my changes be lost?
No. A reboot simply means Windows needs to update a file(s) that was in use during the time of the installation. Prism's flexibility allows you to discover the changes after the reboot has taken place, thus ensuring the resulting Package has all the updated files.
Do I need to visit each PC to get the client installed?
No. Prism has multiple ways of installing the Prism client without having to touch any target PC.
How big is the client, and does it use a lot of system resources?
The client comprises approximately 2 MB of disk space. System resources are completely dependent on how often the client is configured to poll the Prism server. A client polling once a minute will consume a considerable amount of bandwidth more than one configured to poll once an hour.
Does Prism work in a locked-down environment?
Yes. Prism installs a service on NT/2000/XP machines that grants Prism activities local system access. Prism will successfully install its Packages even if the current user does not have the necessary access to the operating system.
How big are the rollback files, and where are they stored?
The size of the rollback files is dependent on what was accomplished during the installation. If a clean install was carried out, the rollback file may only be 100 KB. If an upgrade was carried out, the rollback file will contain all the files, folders, and registry settings that were changed during the install. In this case the rollback file may achieve 50 MB in size. By default the rollback files are placed in the %TEMP%\Unapply folder. This location is configurable by the administrator. Click here for more details.
Can I change NTFS permissions using Prism Packages?
No. NTFS permissions are stored such that they contain user and machine-specific information that should not be replicated using a Prism Package. Microsoft provides utilities for modifying NTFS permissions that can be easily invoked using a Prism command.
Is there a way to customize the package for each intended target?
Yes. Prism allows the administrator to incorporate smart variables within the Package before distribution. Variables can extract information from the environment at installation time allowing the Package to be different for each machine it's installed on.
Is there a way to check for prerequisites before installing a Package?
Yes. Prerequisite checks can be incorporated directly into the Package (O/S, disk space, etc.) or Prism's scripting capability allows for more in-depth checking (existence of a file, checking environment variables, etc.).
Do I have to have a dedicated system for building Packages?
Yes. It is very important that you build your Packages on a clean system. By "clean" we mean a system that represents the lowest common denominator within your environment. This usually constitutes the O/S, service pack, and virus scanning software. By using a clean environment you can be assured every Package you create will be complete and capable of running independently of other applications.
Can I do unattended, after-hours installations? What about wake on LAN?
Yes. Prism can install Packages when no user is logged in on Windows NT, 2000, and XP. Prism does not have support for Wake on LAN.
Does Prism have centralized reporting?
Yes. Prism records all its activities, such as successes or failures, in the Prism Deploy Console that will be running on a machine controlled by the administrator.
I already have SMS, Tivoli, (whatever). Can Prism be used in this environment?
Yes. Prism provides the perfect complement to these larger suites. Prism's Packaging is transport independent so the Packages can be easily distributed through these already-existing pipes. Prism's deployment can also be leveraged from a help desk standpoint where technicians may not have the power or ability to install jobs using the pre-existing suites. Click here for more ideas on how Prism can integrate into these suites.
What if I want to provide cafeteria-style self-serve software installations. Does Prism have any advantages in this environment?
Yes. Prism's Packages can be installed a number of different ways. One popular method is to post Packages on a corporate intranet or a secured Internet site. This allows users to install Packages at their own convenience and even provide a first line of support should an application quit working. Prism can conserve bandwidth.
Can I take advantage of my existing Active Directory or NDS structure for creating Prism Deploy groups?
Yes. Prism can leverage a company's Active Directory infrastructure to allow the creation of Prism Deploy groups on the fly. In an AD environment, the first time a Prism client reports back to the Prism server, Prism creates Prism groups relating to the different OU's the client is a member of.
What happens if a connection is dropped in the middle of an installation (say for a remote user)?
Prism will rollback all changes made up to that point, thus returning the system to the state it was in before the installation began. This ensures the target system will be left in a known state.
Can Prism Deploy check for slow connections?
No. Prism has no mechanism for detecting or manipulating bandwidth.
Does Prism Deploy perform hardware or software inventory?