This is the second part of the new features presentation of Lights-Out 2.5 and and today we are looking at the new client deployment methods.
Lights-Out 2.5 supports now 3 client deployment methods
- Downloading from internal website with manual installation (already exists)
- Creating a pre-configured installation package for user installation (new in 2.5)
- Using Direct deploy in Active Directory (new in 2.5)
We will now look at each option and explain the advantages/disadvantages of each.
Downloading from internal website with manual installation
This is the already existing method. The user on a client computer must download the software from the internal web page and then interactively install the software. At the end of the installation, the client computer is connected to the server. This requires knowledge of server credentials.
Creating a pre-configured installation package for user installation
The administrator creates a pre-configured installation package on the server that remains valid for 7 days, during which time a client computer can connect to the server without further requests. This installation package can be installed and distributed interactively or via command line option / s (silent) without user interface. Server credentials are not required.
See below for more details on creating a pre-configured installation package.
Using Direct deploy in Active Directory
This method requires that client computers are connected to an Active Directory. This is true for example, for Windows Server Essentials, if the client computers are running a Professional Edition of Windows. Direct Deploy allows to install multiple client computers without further action on the client machine.
See below for more details on using direct deploy.
Comparison of the 3 methods
The following table compares the advantages and disadvantages of the 3 methods of client installation.
|Download||Pre-configured package||Direct Deploy|
|Requirements||none||Package must be created in advance||Client and server computers must be members of an Active Directory|
|Distribution||Via internal web server and download by user||Not specified, share, e-mail, USB stick or software distribution etc. are possible||Directly|
|Installation||Manually by server admin||Manually by end user||By domain admin|
|User group||Server admin||Local PC user||Domain admin|
|Silent installation||Not possible, server join requires manual input||Possible||Automatically|
|Advantages||Simple distribution||Easy local installation by end users||Direct distribution to many computers in one step|
|Disadvantages||Server credentials are needed during installation, time consuming||Installation package must be created and distributed once and is then valid for 7 days||Computers must be up and running|
|Use case||Home users||Home and corporate users||Corporate users|
Let’s take a look at the new methods.
A pre-configured installation package is created on the server and remains valid for 7 days. During this time a client computer can connect to the server without further requests. This installation package can be installed and distributed interactively or via command line option /s (silent) without user interface.
Step 1 – Create an installation package
As an administrator, open “Lights-Out 2 Create Client Package” on the server. This can be found in start menu -> Lights-Out 2 for Windows -> “Lights-Out 2 Create Client Package”.
This commands executes LightsOut2.Client.JoinServer on the server. If necessary, complete the external URL and port and then click on Export.
Select an output directory, ideally on an accessible share, and then click OK.
The installation package is now created and then saved in the selected location.
Step 2 – Distribute package
The created installation package can be distributed to the clients in the usual ways: by a share, by email, by USB stick or automatically via software distribution systems.
Step 3 – Run installation package in interactive mode
The client computer user can run the installation package directly. The installation package is not code signed because it was created directly on the server, the warning can be ignored.
The package displays the validity and the destination server.
Clicking on Install is then executing a standard, interactive client installation, but there is no “connection to the server” phase because this information is included in the package!
Step 4 – Silent execution of the installation package
If you use a software deployment system, you can run the package in silent mode. Again, the server must be accessible during installation; otherwise automatic connection will fail!
"\\path to installer\LightsOut2.Installer.ClientPackage.<servername>.exe" /s
Direct Deploy allows you to install the client software across an entire Active Directory network.
- Client and server computers are connected to an Active Directory. This is true for example, for Windows Server Essentials, if the client computers are running a Professional Edition of Windows.
Windows Firewall must allow remote administration. This can be done via Group Policy
Default Domain Policy | Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | Network | Network Connections | Windows Firewall | Domain Profile
Windows Firewall: Allow inbound remote administration exception
- Client computers must be up and running.
Using Direct Deploy
As an domain administrator, start Direct Deploy on the server start menu -> Lights-Out 2 for Windows -> “Lights-Out 2 Client Direct Deploy”.
Choose your language and then enter administrative credentials. If necessary, check the default values and add the url/port for external access.
Click Next, Direct Deploy is now scanning all online machines in your Active Directory. Depending on the number of computers, this process may take some time.
The detected computers are then listed with their installation status:
The example found 3 active computers without Lights-Out client software. Select the computers where you want to distribute the client software from the list (1) and then click Install (2).
In this example, the installation is done on vwin7en and vw10pro2016:
The installation is done one after the other and can therefore take some time.
At the end, a scan is performed again and the new state is displayed.
Now the options on the left are also available. By selecting from the left list, the client software can be reinstalled (1) or removed (2). Remaining computers can be installed (3).
Note 1: Run the query again if the display does not meet your expectations.
Note 2: A software update via Direct Deploy is usually not necessary as it happens automatically.
You can repeat the above steps at any time to install additional machines.
This concludes Part 2 of the new features of Lights-Out 2.5.
We wish all our users and readers a healthy, successful new year 2018!