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Chapter 16: SVS Task Server Plug-in

Created: 07 Jun 2007 • Updated: 12 Feb 2013
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The Altiris® Task Server is an infrastructure component that provides task sequencing and automation for Altiris solutions. The functionality is similar to what Altiris® Deployment Solution™ software provides with its job engine, but it is built on the Altiris® Notification Server™ infrastructure so that any Altiris solution can take advantage of its powerful features. For details on setting up and using the Altiris Task Server, see the Altiris Task Server Help and the Altiris Knowledgebase article Altiris Task Server 6.0 Best Practices (https://kb.altiris.com, article 27323). SVS Task Server Plug-in, which is part of Software Virtualization Solution, adds functionality to the Altiris Task Server. The plug-in lets you create tasks for managing SVS layers on client computers. Topics include:

About SVS Task Server Plug-in

SVS Task Server Plug-in adds functionality to the Altiris Task Server. The plug-in lets you manage SVS layers on client computers. When you use the SVS Task Server Plug-in, it normally involves the following processes:

  • Creating an SVS Command Task
  • Running an SVS Command Task
  • Viewing SVS Command Task Details

You can also create jobs that include one or more SVS Command tasks (see Creating a Job Using SVS Command Tasks on page 147) and view data about SVS layers on client computers (see Using Software Virtualization Solution Reports on page 114). The SVS Task Server Plug-in uses Software Virtualization Solution commands to perform these tasks. For an overview of SVS Command tasks, see About SVS Command Tasks.

Benefits of the SVS Task Server Plug-in

The SVS Task Server Plug-in offers the following benefits over managing SVS layers using Virtual Software Tasks in Software Virtualization Solution.

  • You can run the SVS Command tasks immediately and view detailed information on their status as soon as they finish running.
  • You can run multiple SVS Command tasks in a single job and reuse SVS Command tasks in multiple jobs.
  • You can create jobs that use conditions that determine which SVS Command task runs based on feedback from a previous task.
  • You can add additional task servers for scalability when performing SVS Command tasks on large collections of computers.

Related topics: Managing Virtual Software Packages Using the Resource Manager

SVS Task Server Plug-in Prerequisites

You must meet the following prerequisites to use the SVS Task Server Plug-in.

On the Client Computer

  • Altiris Agent
  • SVS Agent
  • Client Task Agent
  • Client Script Agent

For details on deploying the SVS Agent, see Deploy the Software Virtualization Agent on page 111. For details on the Client Task Agent and Client Script Agent, see the Altiris Task Server Help (https://kb.altiris.com, article 31802).

On the Notification Server

  • Altiris® Notification Server™ 6.1 R4 or later
  • Altiris® Task Server™ 6.0 or later
  • Altiris® Custom Console 6.5 or later
  • Altiris® Custom Console Data 6.5 or later
  • Altiris® Software Virtualization Solution™ 2.1 or later

Related topics: About SVS Task Server Plug-in

About SVS Command Tasks

SVS Command tasks provide basic functionality for managing SVS layers on client computers. For details on more advanced management functionality, see the article Using WiseScripts to Manage and Update Virtual Software Packages in the Altiris Knowledgebase (https://kb.altiris.com, article 27373). You can create tasks that execute the following commands on client computers:

Command Description
Activate layer Activate an SVS layer.
Deactivate layer Deactivate an SVS layer.
Reset layer Reset an SVS layer.
Send SVS inventory Send SVS inventory to the Notification Server.
Delete layer Delete an SVS layer.
Import layer Import a .VSA file on the client computer to create an SVS layer. You can use a UNC path to specify the location of the .VSA file.
Deactivate and delete layer Deactivate and delete a layer.

You can also manage SVS layers from the Resource Manager (see Managing Virtual Software Packages Using the Resource Manager on page 136). However, SVS Command tasks provide benefits that are not available from the Resource Manager (see Benefits of the SVS Task Server Plug-in on page 144).

Creating an SVS Command Task

You create SVS Command tasks to manage SVS layers on client computers (see About SVS Command Tasks on page 145). After you create SVS Command tasks, you can create jobs that contain one or more SVS Command tasks (see Creating a Job Using SVS Command Tasks on page 147).

To create an SVS Command task

  1. In the Altiris Console, select View > Tasks.
  2. In the Tasks view, select Task Management > Client Tasks.
  3. From the right-click menu, select New > Task/Job.

    The Create a New Task dialog appears.

  4. In the left pane, select Client Tasks > SVS Command.
  5. The configuration options for the task appear in the right pane.
  6. Enter a name and description for the task.
  7. From SVS command, select a command.
  8. In Layer name, enter the exact name of the layer as it exists on the client computer. The name is not case sensitive.

    If you select the Send SVS inventory command, this field is disabled.

  9. (Import Layer command only) In the File Name field, enter the path and name of the .VSA file to import.

    If you use a UNC path to specify the location of the .VSA file, you must use the advanced options to specify a user who can access the UNC path. By default, the import layer command uses the Altiris Agent credentials, which are system account credentials.

  10. To force a task to run when it would otherwise fail, select Force this operation to complete. This option is not enabled for Activate Layer and Send SVS Inventory.

    If you clear this option and a process from the layer is running, the task will fail. If you select this option and a process from the layer is running, the task will end the process and proceed.

    Caution
    If a task forces a process that is running from a layer to stop, you could lose data.

    For the Import layer command, if you clear this option the task will fail if the layer already exists on the client computer. However, if you select this option, the task will proceed and will replace the existing layer with the new layer.

  11. If a task imports a .VSA file from a UNC path or executes any SVS command on a computer running Windows Vista, click Advanced.

    The SVS Task Advanced Options dialog appears.

    1. Select Specific user.
    2. Enter user credentials that have access to the .VSA file on a UNC path or credentials that will work with Windows Vista.
    3. Click OK.
  12. Click OK.

The SVS Command is added to the Client Tasks folder and information about the task appears in the right pane. From this pane, you can edit the task, run it, or create a schedule for when it should run (see Running an SVS Command Task). Related topics: About SVS Task Server Plug-in

Creating a Job Using SVS Command Tasks

A job lets you run multiple tasks or jobs. By combining several tasks into a single job, you can perform complex operations. A job also lets you specify the conditions for whether a task will run based on the return code or success/failure of the previous task. (Example: You can set conditions so that one task runs if the previous task succeeded and a different task runs if it failed. For details, see the Altiris Task Server Help (https:/ /kb.altiris.com, article 31802).) The SVS Task Server Plug-in lets you add SVS Command tasks to a job.

To create a job that contains one or more SVS Command tasks

  1. In the Altiris Console, select View > Tasks.
  2. In the Tasks view, select Task Management > Jobs.
  3. From the right-click menu, select New > Task/Job.

    The Create a New Task dialog appears.

  4. In the left pane, select Jobs > Client Job.

    The configuration options for the job appear in the right pane.

  5. Enter a name and description for the job.
  6. To add an existing SVS Command task:
    1. Click Add Existing.

      The Add Existing Task dialog appears.

    2. In the left pane, select Task Management > Client Tasks.
    3. Select an SVS Command task.
    4. Click OK.
  7. To add a new SVS Command task:
    1. Select New > Task.
    2. In the left pane, select SVS Command.
    3. Create the task (see Creating an SVS Command Task).
    4. Click OK.
  8. To add a condition to a job:
    1. Select New > Condition.
    2. Complete the Create New Condition dialog.

      For details, see the Altiris Task Server Help (https://kb.altiris.com, article 31802).

    3. Click OK.
    4. After each condition, add the tasks you want associated with the condition.
  9. To have the job continue when a task fails, clear Fail job if any task fails.
  10. When you use conditions to execute a task if the preceding task fails, be sure to clear this option or the subsequent task will not run.

  11. Use the up and down arrows to rearrange the entries in the job.
  12. Click OK.

The job is added to the Jobs folder and information about the job appears in the right pane. From this right pane, you can edit the job, run it, or create a schedule for when it should run (see Running an SVS Command Task).

Related topics: About SVS Task Server Plug-in on page 144

Running an SVS Command Task

After you create an SVS Command task (see Creating an SVS Command Task on page 146), you can run it immediately or create a schedule for when it should run. You can run a task multiple times and specify a different collection of computers for each run. Although the following procedures are for SVS Command tasks, the procedures for a job are basically the same.

To run an SVS Command task

  1. In the Altiris Console, select View > Tasks.
  2. In the Task view, select Task Management > Client Tasks.
  3. Select the SVS Command task to run.
  4. In the right pane, click Run Now.
  5. Complete the Run Task dialog:
    1. In the Run Information section, enter a name for the run.

      You can create multiple runs from the same task, so use a name that clearly identifies it.

    2. In the Task Input section, select the computers on which this task will run.
    3. Click Run Now.

The task runs immediately and its status appears in the Task Status section (see Viewing SVS Command Task Details on page 149).

To schedule an SVS Command task

In the Altiris Console, select View > Tasks. In the Task view, select Task Management > Client Tasks. Select the SVS Command task to run. In the right pane, click Create Schedule. Complete the Create Schedule dialog:

  • Enter a name and description for the run.

    You can create multiple runs from the same task, so use a name that clearly identifies it.

  • From Schedule time, select when to run the task.
  • Select Custom Schedule to create a schedule that is not in the list.

  • In the Task Input section, select the computers on which to run this task.
  • Click OK.

The task runs as scheduled and its status appears in the Task Status section (see Viewing SVS Command Task Details). Related topics: About SVS Task Server Plug-in on page 144

Viewing SVS Command Task Details

When a task finishes running, you can immediately view status information for that task. Use this information to verify whether a task was successful and to troubleshoot tasks that fail. You can also use the Software Virtualization Solution reports to view data about SVS layers on client computers (see Using Software Virtualization Solution Reports).

Important The information in the Task Status section does not auto-update. Click Refresh to update it.

Although the following procedure is for viewing details about an SVS Command task, the procedure for viewing the details of a job are basically the same.

To view details about a task that has run

  1. In the Altiris Console, select View > Tasks.
  2. In the Task view, select Task Management > Client Tasks.
  3. Select a SVS Command task.
  4. In the Task Status section in the right pane, select a run of the task.
  5. Click Details.

    A dialog appears that displays summary information about the task and each resource on which the task ran with the status of the task for each resource.

  6. To view more detailed information, select a resource and click Details. The dialog that appears displays the task's return code, any error messages with reasons for the error, and the script that was output by the task.

Chapter 15: Configuring Software Virtualization Solution

Chapter 17: Using Software Virtualization with Altiris Deployment Solution