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101 Points About Altiris Deployment Solution 7.x

Created: 13 Dec 2012 • Updated: 13 Dec 2012 | 2 comments
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yogeshsadhu's picture
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101 points about Altiris Deployment Solution 7.x                                

I have tried to cover most of the features / functionality / utilities of Altiris Deployment Solution in this document. Hope this will be useful for existing and new Deployment Solution users.

  1. Altiris Deployment Solution helps reduce the cost of deploying and managing servers, desktops, and notebooks from a centralized location in your environment.
  2. The  product is deployed over the Symantec Management Platform (SMP) and is a part of the suite known as the  IT Management Suite (ITMS).
  3. Deployment Solution offers OS deployment, configuration and software deployment across hardware platforms and different OS types.
  4. Easily create jobs and tasks that automate deployment and migration functions including imaging, scripted OS installations, configurations, and software deployments.
  5. Supports industry standards hardware management capabilities such as Intel vPro, PXE, and Wake on LAN technologies
  6. Role-and-scope-based security secures management features from unauthorized personnel.
  7. Supports WinPE and Linux pre-boot environments.
  8. Deployment Solution can perform hardware-independent, mass-deployment of images of a reference system to new and existing systems using Symantec Ghost and Rdeploy technology.
  9. The Deployment Plug-in is installed on client computers to manage deployment tasks. This plug-in enables you to Perform different Deployment tasks.
  10. Automation folder stores the preboot environment. With the help of the preboot environment (WinPE and Linux PE) the client computers are rebooted to the automation environment.
  11. You can enable the policies that install the Deployment plug-in, automation folder, and Deployment site server component to the computers that you select. You need to enable these policies to complete the Deployment Solution installation.
  12. The PXE server can be configured on Symantec Management Platform and the site server. This configuration helps to reboot the client computers to WinPE and Linux PE environments using the network interface.
  13. Deployment Solution uses DeployAnywhere component to perform hardware- independent imaging  by finding and adding the required missing drivers for the computers to be imaged.
  14. DeployAnywhere supports only the Windows operating system.
  15. Scripted OS install a feature of Deployment Solution supports heterogeneous Operating System (OS) deployment, including Windows and Linux, on client and server machines. The product reduces end-user downtime by automating the OS deployment process.
  16. DeployAnywhere can evaluate the target OS and report any missing critical drivers that are required to boot the target computer and enable the network connections
  17. The scripted OS installation feature of Deployment Solution lets you install the Windows and Linux OS on bare metal computers that are added to a network as well as on managed computers.
  18. Deployment Solution OS installation, which is resolved as a task in Deployment Solution, uses default Answer files that are packaged in Deployment Solution to perform unattended installation
  19. User can also use their own custom answer file if required in Scripted OS install task.
  20. Linux Scripted OS Install task, uses configuration file, which takes care of deleting old partitions(if present) creates new partitions along with sizes and file system types, packages, setting locale, firewall settings and most importantly automatically pushing Altiris agent, DS plugin & Automation package folder.
  21. Deployment Solution Configures each system based on standardized criteria, such as job function, user type, or location.
  22. Deployment Solution has a task to Prepare a client machine for create image task , this task uses Sysprep to remove the computer name (SID), the operating system license, and some hardware-dependent drivers.
  23. For Linux, Prepare for image capture task runs a pre-image script to remove the configuration-related settings and prepare the computer for imaging.
  24. You can create disk image and backup images with the Create Image task. A disk image is the image of the hard drive of a computer that you can deploy on another computer.
  25. Deployment Solution lets you create disk images of Windows and Linux operating systems (OS), during deployment of image all the OS settings from the captured images are deployed on the client computer.
  26. The backup images retain the data and software of a specific computer. A backup image contains a snapshot of the hard disk of a computer.
  27. A backup image can be restored only to the computer that it was captured from. You can restore the image name same as the computer if you use %COMPNAME% token as the image name.
  28. Back-Up Image is used to back up a single computer. These images should be deployed only to the same computer where they were created from.
  29. Deployment Solution uses %compname% as the default name of the backup image.
  30. Deployment Solution allows you to upload and download images through HTTP Web server.
  31. In Create Image task user can provide source drive of the client computer , by default drive 1 is selected.
  32. Create Image and Deploy Image task also provides provision to add extra command line option to imaging in the Advanced tab.
  33. User can split the image by providing image span size while performing Imaging task.
  34. User can chose compression level while imaging for optimized size and optimized speed. default option is Balanced for size and speed mode.
  35. A new folder and an image file is created each time you run a task to capture an image. If you run the same task on the same computer three times, you have three different folders and image files for that computer.
  36. The Deploy Image task lets you restore a computer and deploy a standard Sysprep-enabled disk image for Windows computers and Linux computers. All of the existing data of the client computer is lost and the computer is restored to the state of the standard image.
  37. An operating system license can be provided so that it will be used to boot the computer back to a working state after the task runs.
  38. Option of using Current Key is available only for Windows Vista and later versions of the Windows operating system.
  39. In Deploy Image task user can use option of Generate Sysprep configuration using Inventory data OR a Custom Sysprep configuration file also can be provided.
  40. In Deploy Image task user can specify the credentials that require to join the client computer to a domain.
  41. Deploy Image task provide an option to chose  the partition for deployment at the same time resizing of the partition is also possible.
  42. An Image can be deployed to multiple client machine simultaneously using multicasting mechanism, user can also change the default settings.
  43. You can configure the number of computers on which you want to multicast the image. You can override the default multicast settings that were set in Settings > Deployment > Image Multicasting . If the threshold count is 2, there must be at least two client computers and one master computer before multicasting is used in this session.
  44. Deploy Image task lets you specify the files and folders that you want to preserve when the image is restored. This option is not supported for Linux client.
  45. Disk images are stored on the Deployment share of the Deployment site server. Each image is stored in a separate folder that is specified by a GUID. Information about the image is also stored in the CMDB as an image resource.
  46. For Linux operating systems, deploying disk images and backup images does not fully support the reiserfs file system.
  47. Deployment Solution provides option to create or update a system configuration setting through the configuration editor. These settings are applied to computers after you deploy a disk image or apply a system configuration using the Apply System Configuration task.
  48. The system configuration settings of a client computer comprises the network setting, domain name, computer name, IP address, and so on.
  49. When you distribute a generic Sysprep-enabled image, the system configuration settings are applied to the computer for the initial setup. The same configuration settings can be applied to multiple computers using the name range feature.
  50. Deployment Solution reboot To task lets you boot the client computers in an automation, production or PXE environment. After you boot the computers you can perform the deployment-related tasks on the computers.
  51. The Capture Personality task lets you capture a computer's personality. You can also choose how much data to capture, whether the files are compressed in your package, and where to store your package.
  52. Personalities are the files that contain the user data and application settings. Personalities contain the documents, the registry settings, and the configuration files that are associated with applications. They also contain many other Windows settings. Personalities are usually captured as part of an operating system migration or as a backup.
  53. Deployment Solution includes templates for several common applications. You can use the tools that help you to create templates for new and custom applications.
  54. You can distribute a personality through a self-extracting executable file that is called a Personality Package.
  55. The Copy File task lets you copy files and folders from one client computer to another. You can use the Copy File task to copy files such as .msi or .exe to install applications on the client computers.
  56. Deployment Solution also lets you execute a copied file on a client computer using the command-line switches.
  57. In Copy File task you can execute the *.msi, *.vbs, *.cmd, *.bat, *.vbe, *.wsf, and *.exe files using the command-line switch. You need to provide the required credentials to execute the command-line instructions.
  58. You can also copy files and folders from the local computer on which Symantec Management Platform (SMP) is installed.
  59. You can delete copy file contents packages that are no longer required.
  60. Using Deployment Solution user can perform Disk operation like Create partition and Delete partition.
  61. You can use Partition Disk option to create partitions on your disk providing percentage of the total drive or specific size.
  62. Partition disk can create partitions of format Fat32, NTFS, and EXT.
  63. Different  type of partitions can be created such as Extended, Logical, and Primary. By default, Extended is selected.
  64. You can use the Erase Disk task to wipe a disk clean. Hence, the partitions along with data are removed from the client computer. When you reallocate hardware, you can use this task to ensure that none of the old data can be retrieved.
  65. You can either delete the partitions of the disk, erase the system disk, or configure the task to erase all the disks.
  66. You cannot perform an Erase Disk task for a disk that is connected through a USB or FireWire interface.
  67. Secure erase option can be used to erase data more than once.

          The following group of operations is performed on the hard drive six times:

          All addressable locations are overwritten with 0x35.

          All addressable locations are overwritten with 0xCA.

          All addressable locations are overwritten with a pseudo-random character.

  1. You can add OS install files to your package in Deployment Solution. You can configure the import parameters for your package. You need to have JRE 1.5 or later installed to add files to your package.
  2. You can use the Deployment Solution Resource Import Tool to import OS files from the OS sources.
  3. You can delete the scripted install packages that are no longer required.
  4. The Preboot Configuration lets you create or edit the preboot environment to execute the deployment tasks. The preboot configuration lets you create the PXE image and the preboot installation files for Windows and Linux.
  5. In Deployment Solution The PXE image is used to boot the client computers in the preboot environment over a network.
  6. A PXE image is saved on the site server while the automation folder is installed on the client computer.
  7. Deployment Solution provides a provision to add drivers to the driver database to ensure the successful completion of Windows scripted OS installation and Windows image deployment tasks.
  8. By adding drivers to the driver database, you eliminate the need for manual driver installations. When you add drivers to the driver database, missing drivers and newly discovered drivers are automatically added to the image.
  9. Driver management console has driver listing of two driver database types DeployAnywhere and Preboot, DeployAnywhere driver database is used to make imaging and Scripted OS installation hardware independent ; Whereas preboot driver database is used for WinPE environment , which insures that you can reboot the client computer successfully to automation or PXE.
  10. Driver management The driver list displays the driver as : Vendor name . Device name . Driver Version. Also displays the type of the device and supported OS’s.
  11. You can add drivers to the Preboot database. You can use these drivers for your preboot PXE configurations needs.
  12. Deployment Solution provides BootWiz.exe which can be used for addition of drivers in to the Preboot driver database, Which is a standalone utility.
  13. A Driver database can be managed by command line utilities , using Drivermanager.exe, Bootwiz.exe.
  14. Using Bootwiz.exe Boot package can be created as Floppy, USB , ISO Image , CD – DVD.
  15. The Initial Deployment Settings lets you add tasks or jobs to execute on the unknown computers or managed computers of Windows operating system. The configured tasks execute on the client computers after the computers boot in the preboot environment or the automation environment.
  16. The Predefined Computers lets you either add or import the predefined computer details into the Symantec Management Platform .SMP recognizes a predefined computer from the name that you specify through the console menu or through the CSV file and makes an entry of the predefined computer in the CMDB.
  17. There are several tools and utilities which are part of Deployment Solution which are directly or indirectly being used by Deployment Solution console operations.
  18. Deployment Solution provides The GhConfig tool which lets you apply configuration settings directly to a computer. You can use this feature to apply post-clone configuration settings without using NS Console.
  19. Ghconfig utility also can be useful in finding out the OS details.
  20. Deployment Solution provides Ghost Explorer by which you can list all of the files and directories that are within an image file.
  21. Using Ghost Explorer you can add, recover, and delete individual directories and files to or from an image file.
  22. Deployment Solution provides GhRegEdit which is a utility for editing the Windows registry. You can run GhRegEdt and GhRegEdit32 from the command line or from a batch file. Before you use GhRegEdit, you should verify that the registry is not read-only.
  23. You can use GhRegEdit32 to edit the registry without starting the operating system. You can also edit the registry as the operating system runs.
  24. Deployment Solution provides OmniFS , which is a general-purpose utility for manipulating files and directories in a locally attached NTFS, Linux, or FAT file system (including FAT hidden partitions).
  25. Deployment Solution provides Gdisk utility which can be executed from different platforms like from production Windows OS, WinPE OS (Automation), Linux OS, but user should make sure they have provided the correct disk and partition number while any delete or erase operations.
  26. DriverManager64.exe can be used to perform add , delete operation on driver database, User has to provide the driver database path which should be “C:\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\Agents\Deployment\Task Handler\DriversDB” [or at the Altiris installation directory, if not default] and the location of the DA driver source directory while addition and name of the driver while deletion.
  27. RapiDeploy is a disk imaging tool that runs on the Windows (x86, x64, ia64) and Linux (x86, x64, ia64) operating systems. It supports NTFS, FAT (12, 16, 32), EXT2/3, and RAW file system. It also Supports HTTP and multicast imaging  options.
  28. Deployment Solution has The tool Resource Import tool which is used for importing existing Windows and Linux images. It is also used for adding Windows-scripted OS installation files.
  29. Deployment Solution Resource Import Tool lets you import images that are located on HTTP Web server.
  30. Deployment Solution uses Tokens for different tasks , there are some default Tokens present e.g. %COMPNAME% and user also can use user defined tokens in the Deployment Solution tasks.
  31. Deployment Solution provides the following reports that you can access from the Reports > All Reports > Deployment and Migration menu: Computers with Deployment Plug-in Installed & Computers with Deployment Tasks Execution Status.
  32. You can use jobs to group several tasks together, so that they all run consecutively. You can combine deployment-specific tasks with other tasks in a single job.
  33. Jobs also have the condition statements that you can specify. Your tasks are then executed only if they meet the conditions that you specify.
  34. Deployment Solution lets you delete the disk images that you have created. When a disk image is created, an image package and an image resource for that disk image are also created. Hence, when you delete a disk image you also have to delete the image package and the image resource associated with it.

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shivc's picture

Thanks Yogesh..

These points are very useful.


Shiva Yadav

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fjasonduarte's picture

Great to have this, as we are starting to use this more!

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