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I'd like to know your thoughts on a solid commercial, or open source, software deployment and patching tool. We've been down the route of WPKG (good, but quite a lot of work and no reporting of roll-out progress), GFI Languard - doesn't handle custom package deployment very well and the 3rd party patch detection was poor (we have custom in-house software to deploy occasionally).

Any ideas are welcome as we're wasting huge amounts of time on login scripts/writing custom XML scripts to deploy software, that's without starting the 3rd party patching.

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4 Answers 4

If you are a Microsoft shop, SCCM would be a good fit.

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In a Windows environment you can use WSUS for operating system updates.

Also take a look at the Admin Arsenal website. They have some interesting products.

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For commercial products I'd do a comparison between Microsoft's SCCM, IBM's Tivoli Endpoint Manager, and maybe Symantec's Altiris products.

I've only got experice in Tivoli Endpoint Manager (TEM, formerly known as BigFix). It does software deployment + OS patching + 3rd party app patching, with pre-made tools for software deployment and patching, and also good methods for running custom tasks. It can target Windows, *nixes and OS X.

There's an active community at http://forum.bigfix.com/, you could send a question with more details on your needs there and see if it fits.

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If the main concern is roll-out progress, then wpkgCreateReport and "Ugly perl script to check if packages are installed on a set of workstations" (rename that attachment.bin link to something.pl -- it's a perl script) may be of use. Both of these are linked at WPKG's contributed software page.

Note that for either of these, you'll need to ensure that your wpkg.xml files get copied up to a central location after the runs finish. Either do this with an "Execute after" in WPKG client, or automatically point it to the server according to these instructions.

I'm elbow-deep in testing WPKG at the moment. 50-60 packages down, two major ones (and roughly a dozen minor ones) to go.

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