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Updating a Notification Server Behind a Firewall

Created: 10 Jan 2008 • Updated: 11 Jan 2008 • 5 comments
jeremyboger's picture
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I work for a large K12 district in Indiana. We have over 16,000 students, 1,800 teachers and staff, 8,000 wired clients, and around 500 wireless clients. Because of all of the security concerns we have to deal with in a school district, we have our firewall setup to lock down any and all items from the outside world. The only way items can come in through the firewall is if we specifically designate the IP address and port.

Updating Altiris Notification Server is not possible because of this. We are unable to use the download feature on the update page. After a whole lot of wasted time (because the boss didn't want to open anything up in the firewall for this), I did find a solution. It is a bit of work, but it does work.

The first thing I have to do is paste the SolutionCenter.xml file to the correct location on the Notification Server's local hard drive. By default, the location the .xml file is stored is C:\Program Files\Altiris\Patch Management\Downloads. This has to be done so that NS knows what the current available version of all modules is.

After I have the .xml file in place, I go to the updates page for the NS console to see which installed solutions I need to update. Once I determine the solutions that need updated, I have to manually download the packages. These packages are stored at the same location as the .xml file (C:\Program Files\Altiris\Patch Management\Downloads.) All of these packages are located at http://www.solutionsam.com/Solutions/6_0/. It takes a little bit of work to figure out which package needs to be downloaded, as well as all of the packages that need to be downloaded for each solution.

Once I have downloaded all of the packages, I can then update the solutions. To do this, I follow the normal update procedure from the NS console on the actual NS server. From the configuration tab, go to Upgrade/Install Additional Solutions. In the right window, click on the currently installed tab. After finding the solution that needs updated, click on the Update button. The install will then proceed as normal, minus the actual download of the package. Since it already sees the package downloaded, it will skip past that part and proceed to the actual install.

After several hours of working on this problem, this was the best solution I could come up with. This should be very helpful to other K-12 IT personnel. I'm sure we are not the only district with these restrictions in place. Although it is not the most convenient way to update Notification Server, it is better than having an old, outdated version of Notification Server to manage clients.

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jeremyboger's picture

One item I forgot to mention....

On the upgrade/install additional solutions page, you need to click on the Settings tab in the right window. In there, you need to tell NS where the solutioncenter.xml file. Again, per my tip, the default location is C:\Program Files\Altiris\Patch Management\Downloads on the NS server.

Jeremy I. Boger
Network Technician
MSD of Lawrence Township

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jjesse's picture

Great article, as a consultant I find myself keeping a local copy of solutionsam on a usb drive due to not wanting to get stuck not having internet access.

First time I was stuck behind a proxy that was locked out, was the last time.

Nice job

Jonathan Jesse Practice Principal ITS Partners

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scottwed's picture

Normally, you should find it under:
\Program Files\Altiris\Notification Server\Include\xml6

Scott Wedekind

 

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scottwed's picture

If you are having difficulty figuring out which files to put on your USB drive, you can use KB 34917 to locate the required files for your suite or solution:

List of all Notification Server 6 Solutions' install files by Installation Group

Scott Wedekind

 

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jeremyboger's picture

Thanks for the heads up on the KB article. We are in the middle of a fiasco moving our NS database to a new server and Altiris is forcing us to do a complete regen. This article is going to save us when going to download all of these packages again!

Jeremy I. Boger
Network Technician

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