Method to install 3rd party software and patches remotely

Hi Experts.  I currently manage 200+ Windows XP Pro workstations in a Windows 2003 Server AD environment.  I have been using group policy to push out software but that has become a pain in the @ss and before I begin pushing out additional software, I thought I would see what other admins have been using.

I see Windows System Center but don't know much about it.  I would appreciate if you provide some kind of technical reason with your recommendation.  Thanks Experts.
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samiam41Asked:
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JBlondConnect With a Mentor Commented:

My favorite is System Center Essentials
http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/essentials/en/us/default.aspx

It's a small version of Microsoft System Center Operations Manager and limited to 500 workstations and 30 servers and also offers software deployment, reporting and a lot more. A trial version can be downloaded at the Microsoft website.


Another method: Repackaging. I use Advanced Installer for this.
http://www.advancedinstaller.com/

It's an application to create MSI packages and I deploy them using group policies.



Another application I know and work with is enteo Netinstall (now belongs to Frontrange) which is a part of the enteo v6 Client Suite:
http://www.frontrange.co.uk/DownLoads/ListProductLiterature.aspx?ccid=144

It's very powerful but you'll need some training in the beginning.
With the Client Suite you can manage and deploy operating systems, software, collect an inventory of the whole network and much more. It's more an All-In-One solution...
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iCoreKCCommented:
We use LanDesk.   http://www.landesk.com/

We have had very good results and have used it for over 7 years.  It has come a long way in that time and we prefer it to SCCM or other like apps.

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samiam41Author Commented:
Thanks for the post.  I just checked out the site and saw several versions of LanDesk.  Which one would work best in this situation?
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JBlondCommented:
An open source solution
http://wpkg.org/

Also have a look at http://www.appdeploy.com/tools/

What should this software do?
Only install software and updates for it?

How many applications do you want to manage with it? Maybe Repackaging in an alternative to a complete software deployment solution.




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samiam41Author Commented:
Great questions.  

I am looking for the software to be able to push out or remotely install various 3rd party applications (Adobe reader, Attachmate Extra!, etc..) and related patches to our 200+ Windows XP Pro workstations (without end-user interaction).  The ideal software would provide the technicians a report on successful or failed installs.  
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samiam41Author Commented:
Please note that I am not looking for a patch management solution that includes Windows software.  I am using WSUS v3 for that; I just need something that will eliminate the need for our helpdesk to make desktop to desktop visits.
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samiam41Author Commented:
Perfect!  That gives me something to work with.  Thanks for your help.
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dannlhCommented:
How about something like Kaseya?

dh

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samiam41Author Commented:
Great work!  Thanks for all of the information you provided on this and time spent.  I am working on rolling out the SCE now.  I hope to work with you again!

Take care,
Aaron
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