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ImageInvoker (version 0.3) for Client Initiated Imaging

Created: 07 Jul 2010 • Updated: 23 Jun 2014 | 100 comments
ianatkin's picture
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 Please note that this version of ImageInvoker has now been superceeded.  Please take a
look at version 1.0
 to download the latest version 

 

What is ImageInvoker?

ImageInvoker is a handy Deployment Server(DS) add-on designed to reduce the TCO of using DS in your environment. It provides a self-service imaging interface in automation, a deployment portal if you will, so that desk-side IT staff can schedule the immediate deployment of images without requiring the assistance of a DS administrator. 
 

For those familiar with DS, liken it to Initial Deployment turned on its head, and given a hefty dose of steroids.

ImageInvoker not only makes IT staff more efficient by accelerating the imaging process, but it also removes the need train Deployment Server administrators just to facilitate day-to-day tasks like computer builds, rebuilds and rollouts. A further benefit of using the interface is deployment accuracy. With Deployment Server's drag'n'drop capability, a computer can be incorrectly targeted when scheduling imaging tasks. With ImageInvoker,  the imaging interface is accessed desk-side at the PC, removing completely the risk of imaging the wrong computer.

I created this tool to allow me (a Deployment Server administrator) to empower IT technicians so that they could safely take more control in computer deployments with minimal training. By giving them safe access to Altiris' deployment technology through a controlled portal, I've found that I've no longer need to be contacted at all for rollouts and rebuilds. This has had the knock on effect of leaving me more time  for maintenance, upgrades and new feature rollouts. The increased efficiency of the IT staff, also eases pressure on the helpdesk . A win-win all round.

ImageInvoker takes just 30 minutes to deploy and configure on your Deployment Server, and requires no additional hardware. Try it out, and see how ImageInvoker can lower the TCO of owning Altiris Deployment Server in your environment. 

The ImageInvoker add-on extends Deployment Server 6.9's imaging capability as follows,

  1. It removes the need to stage computers for Initial Deployment
    In DS, computers can be 'staged', which means that skeletal computer objects can be created in advance of their physical delivery to site. Once these computer objects are created, the DS admin can then schedule imaging jobs as appropriate so that once the machines are delivered to desk they can be imaged via  Altiris' Initial Deployment. Depending on how much information is provided to the DS admin in advance, 'Initial Deployment' can be either fully automatic, or manual. In the manual mode the IT technician can select the appropriate computer object from a list in automation, linking the physical hardware to the skeletal object in Deployment Server.
     
    Whilst Initial Deployment is useful, staging can be a major pain. ImageInvoker works by  providing IT technicians a list of image jobs instead of computer objects. Once the image job is selected, there is the facility to configure the computer's name. All this means new computers can be deployed without requiring the input of the DS admin at all.
     
  2. Allows computers to be imaged with either their existing name, or a new name
    One niggle with Deployment Server, is that there is no process equivalent to Initial Deployment  for existing machines. This native feature only applies to new computers.  With ImageInvoker however, there is little difference between the treatment of new and existing computers. Existing machines can be deployed just as simply through the ImageInvoker interface as new ones.
     
    ImageInvoker therefore delivers a single portal for dealing with the deployment of both new and existing computers.
     
  3. Allows either single jobs or entire folders of jobs to be instantly scheduled
    The Deployment Server administrator can present either single jobs or whole folders of jobs as single menu items in the portal. This is done simply by using a tag string in the name of the job, which takes the Deployment Server administrator just seconds. The portal names can also be tailored to be technician friendly, allowing a less detailed descriptions to be presented through the portal. 
     
  4. Accessible from both the Linux and WinPE automation environments
    With version 0.3 of ImageInvoker, both LinPE and WinPE automation environments are supported, providing for more flexibility in your environment.
I'm pleased to say that with this 0.3 release of ImageInvoker, we are losing the beta tag. It has been used now across enough institutions over the last 18 months for me to happlily declare the engine stable.  Before installing ImageInvoker though, I do still highly recommend that you take a full backup of your current setup. If you are using VMWare, now would be a prudent time to take that snapshot too. This is just a general precaution, and simply good practice for installing anything on your servers.
 

The topics covered in this download are,

 

1. Basic Installation and Configuration of ImageInvoker

In what follows you'll see how to install ImageInvoker and see how to configure it to image a computer. Once the installation is complete, we'll take you step-by-step through the three basic configuration tasks which are required to get ImageInvoker up and running. These tasks are,

  1. Regenerate the Linux and WinPE automation environments (to put in place our  ImageInvoker links)
  2. Tag jobs for the portal in the deployment console with the (MI) string
  3. Commit the menu items.

So let's proceed now to the ImageInvoker install.

1.1 Installation Requirements

The only installation requirement for ImageInvoker is that Deployment Server 6.9 is installed. The resource requirement for the ImageInvoker service is very minimal -the service only consumes about 10MB of RAM.  As long as the server is capable of running Deployment Server, it's capable of running imageinvoker too.

At this time, DS6.9 and all service packs are supported by ImageInvoker. DS7.x is not supported at this time.
 

1.2 Installing ImageInvoker (User Attended)

Installing ImageInvoker is a breeze, and should take just a couple of minutes. Just follow the following steps,

  1. Download the ImageInvoker_v0.3.0.0.zip  (the zip of the Microsoft Installer file attached to this article) to your Deployment Server
     
  2. Extract the MSI from the zip folder
     
  3. Execute the MSI on your Altiris Deployment Server. It may take about 10 seconds for the following screen to appear because of some custom actions and prerequisites which fire off in the background. Be patient.

    II2-Install.JPG

    Click Next to proceed

  4. On the next screen you should be presented with the destination folder as being the eXpress share. Click 'Next' to proceed. (If the custom actions have got this all wrong let me know but for now you can click 'Browse' to select the correct location)

    II-Install2.JPG

    Click Next to proceed.

  5. This is the  point where we need the credentials for the ImageInvoker service. These need to be the same as those used for the Deployment Server Services, so the account name is auto-populated for you. Just enter the password you use for the Altiris Services and click Next.

    II-Install3.JPG

    If you implement DS Console security, the service account you use for Deployment Server must be entered in as an account in the console with administrator rights. If you do not, the service won't have the necessary rights within the console to execute tasks selected from the menu.

  6. Now, to the point of no return. If you're happy -click Next to proceed

    II-Install4.JPG

  7. And that should be it -ImageInvoker is now installed. Click Finish to exit.

    II-Install5.JPG
          

  8. And that's it. The install has completed. If you are the curious type,  open up now your services control panel to confirm the service is installed and up and running,
    II2-service_check.JPG

1.3 Installing ImageInvoker (Silent Installation)

Silently installing the ImageInvoker MSI is straightforward. All you need to set on the command line is the  Deployment Server service account password -all the rest of the data needed by the installer will be discovered.

So, the command line is simply,

msiexec /i imageinvoker_v3.0.0.0.msi MYPASSWORD="password" /qn

 

1.4 Configuring PXE Automation Images

Now that the ImageInvoker service is up and running, the it's ready to accept requests from your automation environments. However, in order to put in place the automation startup scripts required by ImageInvoker, we need to regenerate our Linux and WinPE PXE automation images.

Regenerating your PXE images performs a complete rebuild of your automation environment, combining the most current automation files and drivers with your customisations. Specifically, the ImageInvoker installation has copied a shellscript called menu.sh into the Bootwiz linux folder hierarchy, and similarly a menu.bat into the Bootwiz WinPE folder hierachy.  The regeneration process will update the automation filesystems with these files. For Linux, this will be quick as the image is fairly small -about 15MB. However when  WinPE regenerates, you'll probably want to go for a coffee.

  1. Open the PXE Configuration Utility
  2. In the Boot Menu tab, locate the Regenerate Boot Images frame. Tick the automation environment you'd like to load up ImageInvoker in, and  click Regenerate. In the screenshot below shows both Linux and WinPE being made ImageInvoker 'aware'.

  3. Once the regeneration is complete, click Save. This will push the regenerated automation images down to the PXE Server(s). 

 

1.5 Tagging Jobs for the Automation Portal

Configuring jobs so that they can be accessed through the portal in the imaging menu is simple -just rename them so that they contain the  (MI) substring. This substring marks out the job as being destined for the portal as a  Menu Item. Using Deployment Server's own interface for the portal in this way means that anyone accessing the Deployment Console  is instantly aware should any of the jobs they are working on be exposed portal-side. 

The figure below shows an example of a job hierachy before and after this menu item tagging process.

II-Configure5.JPG

Above I have targeted three objects for the Image Menu,

  • The job DoD Disk Wipe
    This is an example of a single job being tagged for the portal. The (MI) string could be present anywhere in the name, but for clarity it's been appended to the job name. In the portal this will be exposed as "DoD Disk Wipe"
     
  • The folder Deploy Public Access Computer
    This is an example of tagging an entire folder of jobs for the portal. In the portal, this will be exposed by default as the single item "Deploy Public Access Computer"
     
  • The folder Deploy Staff Computer
    Another example of tagging an entire folder of jobs for the portal. In the portal this will be exposed by default as the single item "Deploy Staff Computer (MI)".

The important point to note is that when you tag folders as menu items, not only are all the jobs within the folder  processed, but subfolders are processed too. This means you don't need to change the way you organise your jobs in order to use the menu. Also, remember the tag (MI) can be anywhere in the folder or job name.
 

1.6 Committing Jobs To The Portal

To commit these jobs to the menu do the following,

  1. In the Deployment Console, from the menu-bar select Tools -> Altiris Tools
  2. Select  "ImageInvoker: Create Automation Client Menu" from the tools list
     
  3. To get the menu up and running click "Re-generate Client Menu". Note that the time to enter the Client Menu Wizard is set to 5 seconds.

    II2-ConfigUtil3.JPG

     

  4. A popup box should then appear detailing all the changes which are about to be saved to the menu,
    II2-ConfigUtil2.JPG

    Here we can see our three menu items (corresponding to the job hierachy example above). Two of the menu items are in fact folders of jobs, whilst the Wipe Disk item is a single job. Click 'Yes' to commit the menu.

As the Menu Creator tool writes a refreshed menu file for your clients, remember to run this each time you want your job and folder name changes with the (MI) tag to sync down to your clients. Menu Creator also accepts the silent switch (/S) which means that you could even schedule a daily task to automatically re-write the menu for the current job hierarchy if you wished. 

 

2. Imaging Computers With ImageInvoker

2.1 Imaging Computers already known to DS

To illustrate how ImageInvoker works, in what follows we'll  PXE boot a known computer into the Linux and WinPE automation environments so we can see how jobs are invoked.

 

  1. The 5 Second Countdown

    In both Linux and WinPE, the normal boot sequence is interrupted for 5 seconds while you are offered the option to activate ImageInvoker. After these 5 seconds have elapsed, the normal boot process will continue. However, if you press 'i' within these 5 seconds, the normal automation loading sequence will pause, and ImageInvoker loaded up. Figures (a) and (b)  below shows the how this on both Linux and WinPE respectively.

    Press 'i' before the countdown has finished to invoke the ImageInvoker's wizard.

  2. The Image Invoker Portal (aka the Client  Menu Wizard)

    Now you'll find yourself presented with the first screen of the wizard -"Select Deployment Option". Note that all the menu items have been named as the folder and job names, but excluding the (MI) tags we used to mark them as menu items. I fancy making this computer a public access machine. Figures (a) and (b)  below shows the how this on both Linux and WinPE respectively, where i've used the  arrow keys to move down to the  "Deploy Public Access Computer" option.


    Hit 'Enter' to select the highlighted menu item

  3. Computer Name Override

    This stage of the interface provides the opportunity to change the computer's name. This computer is currently known to Deployment Server as 'VMWARE-564D04FD' -a virtual machine. We can change this here, but for now let's just hit enter tomove to the next screen.


     

  4. The Job Scheduler
    After hitting enter here, behind the scenes the job(s) corresponding to the selected menu item will be scheduled. While the job scheduling is in progress, you'll see as per the screens below,


     

  5. Job Scheduler Complete
    After a few moments, if the job scheduling has been successful you'll be presented with the following screen. And after a few moments, the agent will load and imaging will begin. 

If you take a look in the console you'll now find the jobs scheduled just as if you had dragged'n'dropped them there  yourself. Well, almost. The one minor exception that they have been scheduled for the beginning of the day. This scheduling time is the only difference between scheduling jobs with ImageInvoker and performing the scheduling manually by drag'n'drop.

One feature of ImageInvoker to note, is that in order for these scheduled jobs to be instantly scheduled, ImageInvoker will delete any jobs pending. So if you find you've put on the wrong image job, don't panic. Just reload the menu, and select the correct menu item and the previously scheduled jobs will be magicked away..

 

2.2. Imaging Computers unknown to DS

As I mentioned above, there is little difference between imaging new and existing machines with ImageInvoker.  When new computers are booted into the portal and they are not known to DS,  the Computer Name Override screen is the only screen that changes, and this is just to emphasise that the computer isn't in the database. Example I show screenshots for the Computer Name Override screen in both Linux(a) and WinPE(b)

 

In this scenario, as the Deployment Console can't find the computer in the database,  ImageInvoker knows it must create a computer object for it. By default, the name of the computer object is set to the computer's serial number (to ensure uniqueness), but you can of course override this and generally should. The rest of the process is exactly the same as for deploying existing machines, as above in section 2.1

Deploying new computers has never been easier.

3. Securing ImageInvoker with a Password

The mechanism for delivering automation (and therefore ImageInvoker) in these focuses on PXE. There however are certainly scenarios where ImageInvoker would work very nicely on automation CDs and Flash Drives, and creating these directly with BootDisk Creator will works just fine.   One issue which emerges particularly in the PXE scenario, is that anyone who PXE boots will by default have access to the ImageInvoker client portal. 

If you don't want  curious users re-imaging their computers by mistake, its best to password protect ImageInvoker so that anyone interrupting the automation boot sequence, attempting to load ImageInvoker, is prompted to enter a password before being able to continue.

3.1 Setting a Menu-Protect Password

To enable the password lock do the following,

  1. In the Deployment Console, from the menu-bar select Tools -> Altiris Tools
  2. Select  "ImageInvoker: Create Automation Client Menu" from the tools list
     
  3. Enable the client menu password by clicking the check-box

    II2-ConfigUtil5.JPG

     

  4. A password dialog box will then appear. Enter in your password and click OK

    II2-password1.JPG

     

  5. Now click Re-generate Client Menu.  The pop-up box similar that below will appear. The important point to note is that the first option should now read "Client Menu password: Enabled (updated)"

    II2-password2.JPG

Once these changes are committed, all clients trying to use access ImageInvoker will be prompted for this password. Three login attempts are permitted before portal access it denied.

4. Timeout Options with ImageInvoker

As we've seen in section 1.6, there is an option within the ImageInvoker Configuration Utility  to configure a timeout window within which entering the Client portal is permitted. Once this time elapses without user interruption,  the automation boot process will simply continue as if ImageInvoker was not installed. This gives you the option of loading up ImageInvoker, should you wish it.

By default, a 5 second timeout window is configured. This means that the automation sequence is only delayed 5 seconds should you choose not to load ImageInvoker. This timeout can be tuned for your environment.

In some situations, it can also be useful to configure the client portal to load without a timeout,  and wait indefinently until the user to enters a password and/or select a deployment option. This is particularly useful when imaging using automation USB sticks and  CDs. If you are using these media the chances are you are intending to image a computer, and therefore the objective of loading automation will be to load ImageInvoker. When WinPE is being loaded in particular, the 5-second window can also often be missed, which is frustrating.
  
The way to resolve this is to set a timeout of zero. This can be done globally using the ImageInvoker Configuration Utility, or by using a local override on the command-line when calling ImageInvoker

.

4.1 Global Configuration of Timeout

To change the default timeout  do the following,

 

  1. In the Deployment Console, from the menu-bar select Tools -> Altiris Tools
  2. Select  "ImageInvoker: Create Automation Client Menu" from the tools list
     
  3. Set a new Timeout by selecting the timeout textbox, and entering your new value,

    In the above example, I've chosen to increase the timeout from the default value of 5, to 10.
     

  4. Click "Re-generate Client Menu", and click "Yes" to accept the changes.
     

4.2 Local Timeout Override

We can override the global 10 second timeout configured above on a case-by-case basis, by changing the command-line that calls the ImageInvoker client. This is useful for example when requiring a zero timeout for those  automation CDs and flash drives.  In some environments, you might even want to create specific PXE boot options which are only ever selected manually, and  force-load ImageInvoker.

4.2.1 Implementing Override in Linux

Here we will cover how to override the global defaults to timeouts under Linux. Specifically, we wlll in what follows set a timeout of 0 in a Linux PXE image so that when this Linux option is PXE booted, ImageInvoker will load and wait indefinently for user input.

  1. Load the Linux image in BootDisk Creator.
    If the Linux image is a PXE image, just select the option to "Edit Boot Image" in the PXE Configuration Utility. When you load up the image in Bootdisk Creator, you'll be taken straight to Step 8, which allows you to edit the configuration.

    In the left-hand pane which allows you to navigate through the files, browse to menu.sh under "Linux Additional Files -> startup" 

     

  2. Create a custom menu.sh in the Linux configuration Folder
    Right-Click menu.sh and select copy from the context menu. Right-Click the startup folder in you Linux configuration and select  paste. This will provides a local copy of menu.sh which we can then customise so that it is specific to this configuration.  This will override the 'global' version in the "Linux Additional Files" folder.

    In the right-hand pane which displays the contents of menu.sh, scroll all the way to the right, and add after the text "imaging_menu" the timeout override text "-t 0" as shown below. This will set a timeout of 0.
     

     

  3. Compile the automation environment
    Click 'Next' to begin compiling the Linux automation environment. When prompted to save changes to menu.sh, click "Yes". Note that when editing a PXE boot image, don't forget to save this down to the PXE server when returned to the PXE Configuration Utility.
     

4.2.2 Implementing the Override in WinPE

Here we will cover how to override the global defaults to timeouts under WinPE. Specifically, we wlll in what follows set a timeout of 0 in a WinPE PXE image so that when this WinE option is PXE booted, ImageInvoker will load and wait indefinently for user input.

  1. Load the WinPE Image in BootDisk Creator
    If the WinPE image is a PXE image, just select the option to "Edit Boot Image" in the PXE Configuration Utility When you load up the image in Bootdisk Creator, you'll be taken straight to Step 9, which allows you to edit the configuration.

    In the left-hand pane which allows you to navigate through the files, browse to menu.bat under "WinPE Additional Files -> startup" (it doesn't matter if you are using WinPE 1.6 or 2.1)

  2. Create a custom menu.bat in the WinPE configuration folder
    Right-Click menu.bat  from the context menu. Right-Click the startup folder in you WinPE configuration and select   This will provides a local copy of menu.bat which we can then customise to be specific to this configuration. This will override the 'global' version in the "WinPE Additional Files" folder.

    In the right-hand pane which displays the contents of menu.bat, scroll all the way to the right, and add after the text "WinPE_Client.exe" the timeout override text "/t 0" as shown below. This will set a timeout of 0.

  3. Compile the Automation Environment
    Click 'Next'  to begin compiling the WinPE automation environment. When prompted to save changes to menu.bat, click "Yes". Note that when editing a PXE boot image, don't forget to save this down to the PXE server when returned to the PXE Configuration Utility

5. Overriding Portal Menu Item Names

If you've got to here, ImageInvoker should be working well for you, but you've perhaps got a niggle. Sometimes, you don't want the job name in the portal to match the name given in the Deployment Console. Perhaps you have a very technical naming convention, which more suits your internal build process rather than human intuition. ImageInvoker has an menu text override option to cater for this.

5.1 Overriding Job Names

If you don't want to use the job name as the menu text for a job, the override is to set a description for the job. Once you've set a description, run the ImageInvoker Menu Creator from the Altiris Tools menu to refresh the client menu file.

 

II-Job2.JPG

Figure showing how menu item names can be overridden using the job description field

 

5.2 Overriding Job Folder Names

As there is no description field which can be added to folders, the mechanism to override job folder names is to create a dummy job to detail the override data.

  • Create a job with the name (MI) and place it in the root of the menu item folder
  • Put in the description field your menu item text
  • Add to the currently empty job a single run script task
  • In the Run This Script box, enter in the text REM MenuItem and ensure the job is configured to run in Windows
  • In the Script Run Location inset, configure the script to run on the Deployment Server, and uncheck the box to Run when the Agent is Connected

This job therefore does absolutely nothing, and will not impact on your deployments. Its sole purpose is to provide this mechanism to give you a menu item name. Re-run the ImageInvoker Menu Creator from the Altiris Tools menu to refresh the client menu file.

II-Job3.JPG
 

 

6. Troubleshooting ImageInvoker

If ImageInvoker is not behaving as expected, try some of the troubleshooting tips below. If these fail, drop me a line on connect and I'll see what I can do.

6.1 Checking the Installation

There will always be situations where the Installer hasn't behaved as I anticipated. If you have problems with the install, its likely that ImageInvoker will not have installed properly. The install does the following things,

  1. Locates the express share, and Deployment Server service account
  2. Creates the ImageInvoker folder .\express\ImageInvoker
  3. Copies  menu.sh to .\express\Bootwiz\Include\LINUX\SHARED\startup
  4. Copies  menu.bat to .\express\Bootwiz\Include\WinPE\SHARED\startup
  5. Copies menu.bat to .\express\Bootwiz\Include\WinPE2\SHARED\startup
  6. Installs and starts the ImageInvoker service
  7. Installs 2 custom SQL functions called  dbo.Custom_IsFolderwithinFolder & dbo.Custom_IsEventwithinFolder

So the first port of call is to check all the above is in place, and if it hasn't let me know.

Next I'd check that the regeneration of the automation environments has worked as planned. In Linux  automation confirm that the menu file /startup/menu.sh is present. For WinPE, this location is X:\startup\menu.bat. If these files aren't present, try regenerating your linux environment again.
 

6.2 The Log & Comms Files

For troubleshooting, ImageInvoker logs to three locations:

  1. C:\ImageInvoker.log
    This is for critical service errors such as failure to locate the deployment share
     

  2. .\eXpress\ImageInvoker\Logs
    Here you can find the runtime logs of  the ImageInvoker service and the Menu Configuration Utility. The log files are datestamped.

ImageInvoker Comms are stored under,

  1. .\eXpress\temp\ImageInvoker_In
    This is where the client-server comms files are written
     
  2. .\eXpress\temp\ImageInvoker_Good
    This is where successfully processed client communications are moved to
     
  3. .\eXpress\temp\ImageInvoker_In
    This is where client communications which failed to process are moved to
     

If you have problems, and want me to help you troubleshoot, zip up the logs above email them across to me.

6.3 Uninstalling ImageInvoker

ImageInvoker should uninstall cleanly using Add/Remove program. Uninstalling will remove the service, the files and ImageInvoker menu creation item from the Altiris Tools menu. The only items left on your system will be the logs, and two custom SQL functions in the eXpress database.

 

7. Version 0.3 Notes

 

7.1 Install Requirements

ImageInvoker's only software requirement is that Altiris Deployment Version 6.9 is installed. I've tested ImageInvoker on DS the following 6.9 Service Packs,

  • DS6.9 SP2
  • DS6.9 SP3
  • DS6.9 SP4

I see no reason why you couldn't use ImageInvoker with previous DS6.9 releases, but your mileage will vary. Feel free to respond on this connect thread with success stories for these earlier releases.

The footprint of ImageInvoker on the Deployment Server is designed to be very small,

  • Disk Utiliisation 4MB
  • RAM: 10MB
  • CPU -negligible

              

7.2 Enhancement Requests

I've received various enhancement requests since releasing the first prototype of ImageInvoker to Connect. As the amount of time I could spend developing ImageInvoker is limited (I have a day job!), I can't give any firm commitments as to timecales. I tend to prioritise by considering the enhancement usefulness and ease of implementation.

Pending Enhancements (in no particular order)

  1. Ability to narrow down menu-item scavenging to particular folder hierachies (actioned v0.2, but bug found)
  2. Factoring into ImageInvoker remote console usage
  3. Log-file cleanup options
  4. Auto-generation of unknown computer names
  5. Password protection through Active Directory 
  6. Make Menu wizard text user configurable
  7. Deployment Server 7.x support
  8. Ensure queries are case accurate for case-sensitive collations in SQL Server
  9. Implement mechanism for a sub menu system

 

History of Actioned Enhancements

  1. Password protection of the client menu interface (using MD5 checksums) (actioned for v0.2)
  2. Ability to change the menu timeout (actioned for v0.3)
  3. Ability to silently install the ImageInvoker MSI (actioned for v0.2)
  4. Automate the addition of the menu.sh shell script to Linux Automation (actioned for v0.2)
  5. Set log datestamping to ISO format (YYYY-MM-DD) (actioned for v0.3)
  6. WinPE Support (actioned for v0.3)

Note that DOS support is no longer being considered for ImageInvoker as Symantec are not moving forward with DOS automation the 7.x branch of Deployment Server.

7.3 Known Issues

13-01-2010
ImageInvoker has a SearchRoot bug. The Menu's are built taking the new scope into account, but the ImageInvoker ignores this parameter in this build. On rethinking the logic for searchroot, this needs a re-write rather than a patch. I'll work on this once the WinPE work is complete. Destined for a later version of 0.3.
 

7.4 FAQ

Q: I am worried that this product is free and doesn't have any official support. I don't want to rely on it now, and then find it will no longer be developed.
A: I use this too much myself now not to develop it. ;-)

Q: My automation images have the keyboard and mouse lock enabled. Can I still use imageinvoker?
A: Yes. The keyboard/mouse lock feature is only enforced once ImageInvoker exits.  This applies to ImageInvoker clients in both Linux and WinPE.
 
Q: I exclusively use DOS automation Why isnt this supported?
A: Unfortunately, DOS has been de-emphasised for some time now in Deployment Server 6.9, and its not even available as an automation option in the 7.x. Although I personally think DOS is great, it is not really supported any more, either by Microsoft of Symantec. I do not therefore intend on writing an ImageInvoker client for this OS.

Q: I've tried this on Deployment Server 7.1 and it does not work. Why not?
 A: The engine for Deployment Server 7 is  tied to Notification Server, and as such ImageInvoker requires a complete re-write to support it. This is a lot of work, and as Symantec are also working on various portals, I am also waiting to see what emerges on the Symantec's front. 
 
 

License:

Altiris EULA
By downloading this software, you agree to the terms and conditions in the Altiris End User License Agreement

 

Support:

 

User-contributed tools on the Connect are not supported by Altiris Technical Support. If you have questions about a tool, please communicate directly with the author by visiting their profile page and clicking the 'contact' tab.

 

Comments 100 CommentsJump to latest comment

adc-gmcb's picture

I can inform that tha same issue is with WinPE menu.

The same text, this version of imageinvoker..................

Hope for a fix soon

Best regards

Anders

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murmansk's picture

Solved travelling in time to 01-01-2010 before launching WinPE_Client.exe, and then synchronizing with the deployment server.

Before using net time, you have to update your TimeZone (WinPE has a default timezone of PST (GMT-8))

Thanks for your software Ian!

(This is only an ugly patch. I recommend waiting for Ian update if you are not in a hurry)

 date 01-01-2010 && %ALTIRIS_SHARE%\ImageInvoker\WinPE\WinPE_Client.exe
rem Date sync
reg.exe import %ALTIRIS_SHARE%\Medusa\WPE\TimeZone.reg
net time /set \\%ALTIRIS_DS_SERVER% /yes
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mwyatt's picture

Murmansk,

I was trying to implement your workaround but I can't seem to get it running and I'm hoping you might be able to shed a bit more light on the process.

1. What is the TimeZone update for?
2. I change the DS time to 2010 but receive the same errors. 

Thanks for any assistance!

PS. Great software Ian!

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Frankvh's picture

Whe had to proceed cuz the complete environment was unable to deploy new machines.

 

It is a easy fix.

 

Go to the PXE manager select the linux configuration and click edit the Linux configuration.

Click Edit Boot image

In the left pane goto Linux additional files (below) Expand startup and select menu.sh

now in the rightpane do the following, give two ENTERS before the if statement
On the empty line in between type the following: date -s 10/10/2010

Save the config, and youre done.

It looks like this

 

#!/bin/bash # Author:   Ian Atkin # Description: Launcher script for ImageInvoker # Date:   2010/1/11
date -s 10/10/2010
if [ -f "/mnt/ds/ImageInvoker/Linux/imaging_menu" ]; then /mnt/ds/ImageInvoker/Linux/imaging_menufi

Please when IAN releases a new version update to that one.
 

 

 

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ianatkin's picture

I've compiled a new MSI with some updates which resolve the expiry issue and some others which have been raised in these comments.

This needs to undergo a little testing and validation until it's released. The new MSI will be available within two days.

Kind Regards,
Ian./

 

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

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gerardsweeney's picture

3 guesses what I finally demonstrated to the rest of my team on Monday? :)

 

Ian - as the risk of repeating other posts - your work on this fantastic utility is greatly appreciated.

 

I look forward to seeing the next version at your earliest opportunity.

 

Kind regards,

Gerard

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ianatkin's picture

Never toy with the Demo Gods Gerard!!

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

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ianatkin's picture

Finally there.  here is the 0.4 release... It has some old bugs fixed and hopefully no new ones have been introduced in the process.

Many thanks to Darren Collins for helping me clean up my MSI !

Good Luck!

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

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planecoIT's picture

Ian,

Love the concept behind this utility!  I've been running just a simple bash script that auto detects what thin client its on and prompts our technicians for the images that are only for the thin client they've currently booted up and once selected it launches rdeploy from the ds share.

When I came across this tool which basically mimics what mine does my stomach nearly fell to the floor!  I'm assuming you invoke rdeployt just as I do from my bash script but the GUI and custom naming "pre-image" really bring the whole thing together. 

My question is do you or anyone else know if this works well with thin clients?  We use CE.net and XPe based HP thin clients and upon my first try of ImageInvoker it boots up and I can see the MIs I've designated in DS Console, and I can change the name but once its done it seems to exit ImageInvoker and just sit there at the command line.  However I do notice that a job gets created in the DS under the name I just specified but it appears like nothing happens.

Thank you for this amazingly polished tool and your obvious hardwork involved in creating it! 

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ianatkin's picture

Hi planecoIT,

Could you post this one to the 0.4 version? This version is now dead!

http://www.symantec.com/connect/downloads/imageinv...

Kind Regards,
Ian./

 

 

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

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