Managing Snapshot Packages

The basic philosophy behind the Snapshot Mode of the BMC Client Management - Software Distribution is very simple: Memorize the configuration of a system before an installation and use it to find the changes, which took place after the installation. The Package Factory is responsible for the generation of the software package, which is to be distributed to a number of clients. The generated package file will be placed on the master server from where each client will collect it and install the contents via their relays. This means that you need one or more reference devices on which the applications can be installed and customized before distributing the resulting package throughout your network.

Note:

You need to pay some thought to what software you want to distribute. Make it small and simple so you can work with it easily and satisfy yourself that it installed correctly. Select something you are familiar with and make some simple configuration changes. You can then verify that a configured package arrived and not just the canned version installed by the setup program.

Note:

You will need to ensure that you have 2 devices at hand. One on which to create the package, your reference device, the other will become your target device. The CM agent must be configured and working correctly on the target device.

The console operation of the snapshot packages is based on the idea of a snapshot, which contains all the system configuration information. This is created by the console in a custom format file, which is used later on to find the changes. After the snapshot has been created the software product(s) to be distributed to your network are installed on the reference device.

With the required software product or products installed, use the console and the saved snapshot file to find the system changes. These changes are stored in temporary lists, which are then processed to create the actual distributable software package.

The distributable software package is an archive file which contains all the new files on the system and an installation script which describes where the files are to be placed and which configuration files have to be changed. The package can only be created if the Console has already created the list of changes.

Note:

This node will only appear in the Package Factory for devices running on any type of Windows operating system.

Creating a snapshot package consists of three major steps which are reflected in the subnodes of the snapshot package:

  1. Snapshot: Creating a snapshot of the reference device and then installing the new software.
  2. Changes: Finding all the changes of before and after installation.
  3. Package: Creating the actual software package.

How does a snapshot package work?

A snapshot is an image of the state of the system taken by the console and kept for later reference. The snapshot contains information about all files and directories on the reference device together with information about the Registry and services and drivers.

  1. The Packager allows for selecting the files that are included in the package and wrapping this information into a .zip file. You can also select another file extension for your compressed package in the respective configuration file.
  2. The Packager then forwards the .zip file to the master server.
  3. The master server distributes the .zip file through the cascade of servers and relays to the target computers.
  4. The agent on the target opens the .zip file and calls the configured command line.

The following chart illustrates the steps of creating a Snapshot Package : 

The following topics provide more information about managing snapshot packages:

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