Last time we imported the O/S into MDT. This time we’re going to Import applications.
Applications are very much like importing an Operating system with one exception. There are minimal to NO restrictions out what qualifies as an Application. In a nutshell if you can run it and it does something to install code on the Operating System? That’s an applications. Even a good old fashioned BAT or CMD file. And that’s an important strength to know
First off the importing part. Within the Deployment Workbench, Right Click on Applications to see “New Application” and “New Folder”. Like the entry for Operating Systems you can Create an organizational Folder Structure. This is one spot where Organization will REALLY pay off.
You may find across all systems you will have some Common applications which you should have on every machine such as Acrobat Reader, Flash, Silverlight, etc and then applications would you must restrict based upon Licensing and sometimes just simple need.
Breaking THESE at least down into folders will make your life far easier in the long term as you will then be able to support multiple deployment configurations far easier in our later configurations. For now let’s choose “New Folder” and name it “Common Applications” by following the Step by Step wizard. It’s simply to ask you to name it, click Next twice and you’re done (Well you’re done after you hit Finish actually. Like each section you’ll see that wonderful option “View Script” which allows you to copy that to the side into a Giant Windows Powershell script for later use.
Let’s run through the “New Folder” Wizard two more times again and Create folders off the “Applications” called “Contoso Programs” and “Fabrikam Programs”.
This will give us a nice base structure for storing applications that may be unique to two different companies or Division but can both safely (From a licensing standpoint) leverage a common base of free software. When you’re done it should look like this when you click on “Applications”
Now we import an Application. When you choose “New Application” you will be presented with three different source types.
Application with Source Files
This will be any location containing the file structure to install an application. It does NOT necessarily only need to be the folder with the application calling the install. It should be the entire structure from the lowest folder down containing all files you WOULD or COULD deploy. So for most programs you would just simply choose the base folder on the DVD or CD (for the simpler route). In some cases it may just be the folder containing your MSI file to start off with.
When in doubt, for guaranteed results, take the bigger of the two. You can always improve and refine this later. This is one of the biggest strengths of MDT in that I can add and remove pieces without completely destroying all my work.
Application without source files or elsewhere on the network
First time I saw this I did a double take. “What do you mean without source files? Is the code INVISIBLE?” That part still makes no sense to me but in this case we’re referring to an application where MDT is just to POINT to the installer rather than bringing it into the repository. This is a very fast setup in an in existing network since nothing is actually copied. If you need to make this MDT deployment point 100% portable (As in you’re storing all the data on a USB drive or External hard drive) you may not want this option. If you’re in a large infrastructure where the applications and install media are updated centrally by another department you may want this.
This is actually more of a Grouping/Depends on Mechanism. A perfect example would be “When I am deploying for Windows 7, I will need shims for Office 97 but not when I am installing on Windows XP”. In this scenario you would use an “Application Bundle” which simply says “Use the following Application but make sure all of this stuff is installed with it and IN a particular order”
You can add dependencies to your Application as a whole, but the change becomes more global. This allows you to make special bundles of an Application or files. It is up to you to leverage this how you need.
Let’s at least start right Click on the “Common Applications” folder we created and choose “New Application”. We’ll select “Application with source files” and choose next.
The next screen will ask for some basic information on the application. It COULD be all jibberish if you wanted but it will make far more sense if you populate the fields with sensible and useful information
Who made this silly thing? Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Symantec, or your Cousin Ernie (A simple name will be fine)
Application Name (Mandatory)
What is this cutting edge application called? Office, Reader or Automatic Taco Cooker?
Which version ? Retail? 2010? Version 7 3/5 or just “X”. The Details are up to you
English, French, Pig Vulcan. Again put in what makes sense, not necessarily what is “funny”. Deployment is not a time to test the client’s “Sense of Humor”
Click on next and Browse to the physical folder, CD, DVD, Mapped Network Drive or USB key that has the install files. Depending on how much you have to import, how fast your hard drive is and your general perception of Space and Time, this could take from 3 microseconds to 3,000,000 years. But in general a standard application shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Maybe 10 for a really big one.
If you happen to have a 3 Petabyte application to import, at this point I’ll be honest; I have no clue on THAT one.
Click on Next, the following Window will simply display what the Application will display as based upon what YOU provided.
You next screen will show you the working folder the application will sit in as well as prompting for the actual command line to run the installer. Now don’t worry right now if you don’t know how to perform a silent install, that can be edited or added later. Right now just fill in the EXE, COM, MSI or even CMD to launch the Installer for this application. You don’t have to fill in the exact path name. If it’s it the root folder you’re done. If it’s a folder just under then only key in that name and the Executable name
Click on Next two much times, One for the Summary screen and one more to make it go. Click Finish and you’ve imported an Application. (And of course don’t forget the Power hidden under the View Script button either)
Are we done? Of course not. Unless you like clicking “next next next ,custom type type, next next” when a program installs.
That’s next time when we’ll look at editing your Command line in the Applications folder and show you Tips and Tricks on just how to setup a Silent install on an Application