Provisioning software on a new computer (or a computer that was recently imaged) is a common software provisioning scenario. There are two main methods that Tivoli Endpoint Manager (TEM) customers typically use to provision software on new computers (note that both methods can be applied).
Many customers will create “gold images” which are captured and re-imaged using an OS provisioning technology (such as IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager for Operating System Deployment (TPMfOSD), TEM OSD, Ghost, or other products). The gold image will contain the OS, common desktop configurations, and software. Provisioning software on a gold image like this is convenient because customers will need to install the software only once (on the gold image) and not have to install the software after the image is applied to the computer.
Provisioning software on an image does have several downsides that make it less ideal for many customers. One downside is that different users and groups typically need different set of software installed. To deal with this issue, different images need to be maintained for each group, which can often be expensive to maintain. Another downside is that the images need to be frequently updated as new software is available.
To avoid the downsides of provisioning software on an image, customers can use TEM to “top-off” procedure that will identify and install updated software on a new computer after imaging. The top-off procedure typically works as follows:
· Customer puts the TEM Agent on the gold image (using the method described at http://support.bigfix.com/cgi-bin/kbdirect.pl?id=127)
· The computer is “tagged” at imaging time or immediately afterward with an identifier that indicates which software needs to be installed (see “Tagging Notes” below for more information).
· The customer sets up a TEM Baseline that will contain Fixlet messages to install each piece of software
· A “policy action” is taken to deploy the Software Baseline to all computers that are tagged appropriately
· The previous two steps are repeated for computers that need different software baselines.
With this “top-off” method, the agent on the newly provisioned computer will automatically install the software from the baseline. To update or change the software, customers will update the baseline and the policy action.
To detect when the top-off is completed, you can add an action to the end of the baseline that will record the time when the top-off baseline completes. Here is an example Task and that will set a client setting "ProvisioningTime" and a property that will return the Provisioning Time in a property. Place the Task at the end of your top-off baseline to record when the provisioning is complete.
For most customers, IBM recommends putting common software applications on the gold image to simplify the post-image procedure and to reduce the time spent after imaging. To avoid image sprawl and frequent image updates, however, IBM recommends using the “top-off” procedure to install new group-specific software, update old software, and install new patches.