Autodesk Software Deployments 101

28 Apr, 2013 By: Pete Markovic

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: This article demystifies a time-saving method for rolling out software, and also explains how easy it is to reconfigure a software deployment after it has been built.

Editor's Note: This tutorial courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies.

For quite a few releases now, Autodesk has incorporated a software deployment method to aid CAD administrators in delivering their software to users' desktops. By building a software deployment, CAD admins can be assured that they're delivering the same configuration of the software to each user. This deployment method can also greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to upgrade a department to the latest version of software.

Very little has changed in how these deployments are created and distributed since Autodesk first introduced this method. With the 2013 versions of its software, however, Autodesk began including tools to facilitate using Microsoft's SMS/SCCM tools. If your company uses Microsoft's SMS/SCCM tools, consider using the software deployment, as it will fit into your IT's architecture very nicely.

This article is not going to explain those tools, but rather some of the basics for setting up and reconfiguring the deployments to be delivered successfully. Whether you are a beginner or novice in creating these deployments, understanding just a few of the basics can save you a lot of time and headaches.

When Do Software Deployments Make Sense?

Before setting out to create software deployments for your Autodesk software, you need to determine whether you will benefit from using software deployments. If you are working in a mixed environment with multiple suites or serial numbers, or if you have fewer than five users, installing the software manually may be the best option for your situation.

Consider the following factors when making your decision:

  • How many users? Typically environments of five or more users will benefit from software deployments.
  • How many different software suites (e.g., Product Design Suite Premium, Ultimate, etc.)? A different deployment package will be needed for each software suite.
  • How many operating system platforms? A deployment package will need to be created for each (32-bit, 64-bit) platform.
  • How many serial numbers for stand-alone products? Network licensed products will benefit from deployment packages, but if your licenses are stand-alone and each has a different serial number, deployment packages can be difficult to use.

Create a Software Deployment

Creating the software deployment is very much like simply installing the software. After executing the setup.exe file for the software you want to install, select the Create Deployment button, rather than the Install on this Computer button.

Deployment dialog:

  1. Give the deployment a descriptive name, keeping it as short as possible to avoid any installation issues with a path that exceeds Microsoft Windows' capabilities (255 characters). In this example, PDSU is used to abbreviate Product Design Suite Ultimate followed by the version (year) and the platform.
  2. Deployments must be created on a network share. This share can be on the same PC as you are using to create the deployment. Be sure you have full access (Read, Modify, and Delete) to the network share. If you are not familiar with how to create a network share, plenty of documentation and examples exist on the Internet for your particular operating system.
  3. Select the target platform you are creating the deployment for.
  4. Running the installations in silent mode will keep dialogs from appearing during the installation of the software. Creating a local log file in the workstation temp folder is highly recommended for troubleshooting any issues that may keep the deployment from installing. The network log file will maintain a list of computers that have executed the deployment package so that you can track which workstations the software has been deployed to.

The remaining steps are the same as they are for installing the software. Follow the installation prompts, selecting the appropriate software and configuration for your deployment.

Some applications (e.g., AutoCAD) allow you to set up software options in the deployment to ensure a common configuration across all users. These options are only available in the creation of deployments and are not available during a manual installation.


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About the Author: Pete Markovic

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