Automated software deployment using DeepFreeze and Active Directory and possibly others
Posted on 2009-04-07
We have 600 or more workstations in a school environment that are frozen with Deep Freeze.
We need the ability to centrally deploy any software to these machines from a central location.
From what I have read there are options in Active Directory that will allow you to deploy software using MSI's. I realize not all softare applications have MSI's but there are tools available to create them. Bear in mind, this is all conceptual as I've never used this. (we aren't currently using A/D but still using Novell. Although this is changing).
With this concept in mind, I have some questions:
1. Can you deploy software through Active Directory to a 'computer' and not to a 'user'. Hence, deploy software to a lab environment.
2. I understand the machine must be restarted and/or logged in for the deployment to take place. Which is it? I can remotely restart a computer but remotely logging it in is not practical. Since the machines are using DeepFreeze I will have to either put them in Maintenance Mode or thaw them out. This requires a reboot. If the softare was deployed on that reboot without having to log in, I could see this working.
3. Windows updates have been a big burden using DeepFreeze. What is the best method for deploying them?
4. Is there a much better solution to what we're trying to do. Nothing is too drastic, if it will put us where we need to be. My assistant has looked at solutions from KBox and Altiris. For the cost, I don't see the big advantage vs. using the above method.
Could someone please shed some light on deploying software to workstations using Deep Freeze (or even the best solutions for workstations NOT using DeepFreeze)