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I do some development on Windows 7, and I would like to standardize the various tools we use (versions of Java, maven, etc). I know for *nix platforms, I can use Chef or Puppet, but is there a tool designed for this for windows (I believe Puppet has Windows server support, but no guarantees on Windows 7).

Basically, when a new developer comes on the team or we update versions of tools, it would be nice to have an easy way for developers to update their systems. I guess I could write batch scripts to do this, but I didn't know if there was a more mature toolset for windows.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I use Active Directory Group Policy for this. Software Installation policy and Administrative Templates do most of what I need. I write scripts when I need more functionality (I consider scripting to be pretty "mature", personally).

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager is a "heavyweight" solution to Windows configuration management but, thusfar, I haven't been impressed by the "ROI" versus just using Active Directory's built-in functionality. I'd rather write a script to do what I want than be pinned into a corner with SCCM's functionality that, ultimately, I end up having to customize with scripts anyway.

I target for 100% of server and desktop computer configuration and user configuration all to be handled by Group Policy. Generally, though, there's a line I draw for software or configuration that needs to be performed on a small number of computers (typically 5 or less) where I'll configure things manually. (It really depends on whether or not I'll ever need to scale to beyond a small number of computers and what the work would be to deploy a repeatable solution.)

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-1. Try doing comlpex visual studio this way and you are just one thing: dead. GPO does not deal with teh complex scenarios easily. – TomTom Feb 13 '12 at 15:29
@TomTom - where in the question does he mention using Visual Studio? – EEAA Feb 13 '12 at 15:32
He does not, but also java has similar requirements. Uless you manualyl apck up everything nicely it is just painfull. Very painfull. – TomTom Feb 13 '12 at 15:34
Thanks. I'm not against writing windows scripts when needed, so I'll give this a shot. – Jeff Storey Feb 13 '12 at 15:36
@TomTom: I'd agree that some software doesn't lend itself well to using only the built-in functionality of Group Policy w/o scripting. (I don't know what you make of you mentioning Java, though. The JRE, for the last few years, has deployed very well via GPO.) For software that's more complex I'll use a script. I try not to have to do so, but sometimes it's the only way. – Evan Anderson Feb 13 '12 at 15:50

You can ensure installations of stuff with Group Policy, and things like WPKG. There's also one of those type things built into Windows Deployment Services.

You could always just build an image, then use something like Altiris, or simply slipstream the packages into the installation image, then deploy that with WDS.

Puppet on Windows is still a bit scary-beta, and Windows server has tools for pushing this kinda thing out.

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thanks, I'll checkout some of these tools. I don't think an image is practical in this case though because there might be times where I want to do things like upgrade the version of tool X without a complete reinstall, but make it easy for all developers to do it in an easy way – Jeff Storey Feb 13 '12 at 15:19

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