1.6 Deploying Software Applications
1.6.1 Software Installation and Maintenance Technology
The software installation and maintenance technology in Windows Server 2003 uses Group Policy in
conjunction with Windows Installer to automate and manage software installations, updates and removal
from a centralized location. Group Policy can be used to assign the software application to a group of users
that are members of an OU, and allows you to manage the various phases of software deployment.
There are four phases of software life cycle:
Preparation: preparing the files that allows you to use Group Policy to deploy the application software.
This involves copying the Windows Installer package files to a software distribution point. The Windows
Installer application files can be obtained from the application’s vendor or can be created through the use
of third-party utilities.
Deployment: the administrator creates a Group Policy Object (GPO) that installs the software on the
target computers and links the GPO to the appropriate Organizational Unit. During this phase the
software is installed.
Maintenance: the software is upgraded with a new version or redeployed with a patch or a service pack.
Removal: to remove software that is no longer required, you must remove the Windows installer
package from the GPO that was used to deploy the software. The software is then automatically removed
when a user log on or when the computer restarts.
Windows Installer consists of Windows Installer service, which is a client-side service, and Windows
Installer package. Windows Installer package uses the .msi file extension that replaces the Setup.exe file and
contains all the information that Windows Installer services requires to install the software. The software
developer provides the Windows Installer package with the application. If a Windows Installer package does
not come with an application, you can create a Windows Installer package or repackage the application,
using a third-party utility. Alternatively you could create an application file (.zap) that uses the application’s
existing setup program. A .zap file is not a native Windows Installer package.
Advantages of using Native Windows Installer packages:
Automatic File Repair when a critical application file becomes corrupt. The application automatically
returns to the installation source to retrieve a new copy of the file.
Clean Removal without leaving orphaned files and without deleting shared files used by another
Transformable. You can customize a Windows Installer package to meet the requirements set by your
company by using authoring and repackaging tools. Transformed Windows Installer packages are
identified by the .mst file extension.
Patches. Patches and upgrades can be applied to the installed applications. These patches use the .msp