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Consultants Corner: (Client) Push Comes to Shove

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Gregg Hinchman

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Posted: 21 Aug 2007
 

"Summer is here, I'm still waiting there. Winter is here, and I'm still waiting there.? Umm ... not sure about you, but in my little corner of the world summer has hit full force - bright lights, no rain, and a lawn that is just waiting for a lighted match so it can go up in flames.

This summer has brought lots of angst for GroupWise administrators, specifically with the patching for GroupWise. And of course, in order to properly close the "man-in-the-middle" hole, a new client has to be pushed out to users. For some small shops this is just a walk around the office with a CD; for larger shops it's a long process of testing, re-testing, and then hopefully pushing the client to end-user desktops. There are several options to push the GroupWise client:

  • ZENworks Application/NAL App for users to click on
  • SetupIP, for those wanting to set up a web server
  • Auto Update that comes with GroupWise, for years now, to distribute the client

Briefly, I will say I have done all three of these with some degree of success and occasional failure. Building a ZEN application for GroupWise on a Windows box is just not a lot of fun. And usually IF I am hired to do it, it takes me a few days to get it right - mainly because the customer needs the corporate look/feel to be maintained. Oh, and because Windows versions with service packs can lend ... fun ... to the equation. SetupIP - well now, that's a bit easier. And with SetupIP, even users not connected to a Novell network can get the client just by tripping out to a web page. Of course, I have seen my fair share of trouble with this as well. Web servers give me the willies sometimes, and then there are the firewalls, and so on. Not impossible - just not as easy as ... autopush.

If done correctly autopush (AutoUpdate) can work like a charm. Of course there are a few cavaets, such as having to be logged into a Novell environment, and having to be on the organization's network at the time, whether VPN or in the office. Realistically, that is the largest population for most organizations. So this article is about Auto Pushing the client - aka AutoUpdate.

WARNING: "Danger, danger." If you implement what I show you from this point forward in your production environment, your users will get pop up messages to update their client. This will likely happen before you are truly ready. I HIGHLY recommend you test this out fully, including the client push, in your test environment first.

Set it Up

First, let's get the right client. As of this article, it's GroupWise 7 Service Pack 2, Hot Patch 1a for the backend agents. For the client, there is a beta version out that fixes many issues found in the just mentioned version of the client. So get this client, which is GroupWise 7 SP2 HP 2 rev. 1. It's an FTF (Field Test File). You can find it at:
http://download.novell.com/Download?buildid=SOMtYe4YkkU~

Once the client is downloaded,

1. Expand it and place it under the post office directory, or on the same volume as the post office. The key is that the POA must be able to access it without you first assigning rights to the POA. Here is what I prefer: store it under the Post Office Directory in a SDD directory and a sub-directory based upon its version.

Figure 1 - GroupWise Client SDD

Next, we need to set up a new Software Distribution Directory. Do not use an existing one, unless you want users to get prompted to update before you are ready.

2. In ConsoleOne, connected to the Primary domain, go to Tools > GroupWise System Operations > Software Distribution Directory Management.

3. From here, select the Create button and create a new SDD pointing to the new client.

This is another key point. In the UNC path, you must point to the directory where the client is - in this case, the 702hp2a sub-directory. But do not drill down to the client sub-directory, as auto update assumes the client sub-directory. I also like to provide good detail about the version, date and build.

4. Click OK.

Figure 2 - Building an SDD for the GroupWise Client push

Now that the SDD is built, it has to be assigned to a post office. This is the point of no return. Once you do this, it is likely any user logging into the post office will get a pop up message to update their client.

5. In ConsoleOne, right-click the Post Office object and select Properties. At the GroupWise tab, bring up the Post Office Settings window and change the Software Distribution Directory to the new one we created - GWClient702hp2r1.

6. Click Apply and Close.

Figure 3 - Setting the SDD for the Post Office

7. Next up, you want to set this to "Force auto-update check by the GroupWise components".

7. Go back to the SDD Management option of GroupWise System Operations.

8. Click Update, then check the "Force Auto-Update check" box.

This, in combination with the post office setting, gets the POA all excited to start checking the registry of each and every box where a user is launching/logging into GroupWise.

Figure 4 - Going back to set "Force Auto-Update"

Figure 5 - Setting "Force Auto-Update"

Push It Out

Now when you got to log in to the post office with your older GroupWise client, you should see a prompt to update your client. But wait - I need to backtrack.

It's time for me to regress a bit and talk about a few topics that will make pushing the client a bit easier for you and your end users. The reason I address this now is because if you are testing, you will want to play around with these after you get the SDD infrastructure set up. The Build and Bump in the Windows workstation must be modified after you have pushed out the GroupWise 7sp2HP2r1 client on your test workstation, IF you want to use it again to test. I prefer to just change these, then to run the uninstall for the GroupWise client when I am trying to modify the SETUP.CFG to work as I like. If you are testing and find the GroupWise client does not work as it should, then use the Uninstall and make sure to clean out the registry as well. Here's the list:

  • Setup.cfg
  • Software.ini
  • NewSoftwareBump
  • BuildNumber

SETUP.CFG

The SDD\702hp2a\Client\SETUP.CFG file has several parameters in it that will make pushing the client easier and potentially nearly silent. Let's look at a silent install SETUP.CFG. I have clipped one for you so you can use it if you like. Here's what I like to do:

1. Set the DefaultIPAddress, DefaultIPPort, ShowDialogs=No.

2. To let the end user know there is something going on, set the ShowProgress=Yes and ShowFinish=Yes.

The next parts are handy moving forward.

3. Under AutoUpdate, set Enable=Yes and ForceUpdate=Yes so that users have only two choices - Update or No GroupWise.

4. Do not allow grace logins, so GraceLoginCount=0.

5. You can annoy the user with PromptUntilUpdated=Yes.

There are a few other things you may or may not want, such as pushing GWCheck, enabling integrations for document management, and notify. Just go thru it - most of it makes sense. When you are done with the SETUP.CFG, copy it into the Client\WIN32 directory.

~CLIP~

[GroupWiseSetup]
Version=7.0
StandardInstall=Yes
Path=C:\Novell\GroupWise
Folder=Novell GroupWise
LaunchMessenger=No
LaunchNotify=No
OutlookFirewallException=No
;IPAddress=x.x.x.x
;IPPort=xxxx
DefaultIPAddress=ngwnameserver.domain.com
DefaultIPPort=1677

[ShowSetup]
ShowDialogs=No
ShowProgress=Yes
ShowFinish=Yes

[AutoUpdate]
Enabled=Yes
SetupIPEnabled=Yes
ForceUpdate=Yes
GraceLoginCount=0
PromptUntilUpdated=Yes

[Startup]
Notify=No

[GWTip]
Default=No
Hide=No
Workstation=No

[GWMailTo]
Default=Yes
Hide=No
Workstation=Yes

[PDAConnect]
Default=No
Hide=No
Silent=No

[GWCheck]
InstallGWCheck=Yes
GWCheckEnabled=Yes

[IntegrationApps]
Microsoft Excel=No
Microsoft Word=No
Microsoft PowerPoint=No
Corel Presentations=No
Corel Quattro Pro=No
Corel WordPerfect=No

[Languages]
Default=English

~END CLIP~

SOFTWARE.INI

This is an easy one.

1. In the Client\WIN32 directory look for the SOFTWARE.INI file, open it and set the DiskSpace= so that the client will not try to install when there is not enough disk space. Though I cannot personally attest to this option actually working, it's still a Best Practice.

2. Under the STARTUP section, set the EnableLangDlg=Y.

3. Save the file.

~CLIP~

[Info]
DiskSpace=90000	;DiskSpace requirement in KB

[Startup]
EnableLangDlg=Y

~END CLIP~

NEWSOFTWAREBUMP

OK - time to crack into the registry of your test workstation.

1. Go to Start > Run > Regedit.

2. Browse your way down the Local_HKey_Machine|Software until you get to the GroupWise entry.

Figure 6 - Registry entry

3. Go to the GroupWise > Client > 5.0 entry and find the NewSoftwareBump setting.

4. Modify it by right-clicking| Modify and set it to 0 (zero).

Figure 7 - Modifying the NewSoftwareBump

BUILDNUMBER

1. In the GroupWise entry, modify the BuildNumber.

I like to change it from the GroupWise 7 sp2 HP2r1 number of 3060 to 2060. Its a quick easy number to change and remember if you need to change it back.

Figure 8 - Modifying the BuildNumber

Testing

The tools are in place, and you have the knowledge - now you just need to test.

1. Log in to the post office and see what happens.

Figure 9 - Logging in to the client

Figure 10 - Auto-Update Message: Assumes no Grace Login, and end-user MUST update

Figure 11 - Installation Status and No End-User Prompt

Figure 12 - Installation Finished

2. In the GroupWise client, go to Help > About. You'll find all the details about the version, date and build.

Figure 13 - GroupWise Client > Help > About > Client Details

The End! Whew! It was a bit of work, but it will pay off for you, hopefully, in the long run.

Notes

  • If your users do not have Administrator rights to their workstations, the GroupWise Client will likely not install - or, it will install incorrectly. Only ZENworks can help with this for a client push of GroupWise.
  • If your users do not have the Novell Client installed on their workstation and cannot log into eDirectory, then your choice is SetupIP - not Auto Update.
  • Your GroupWise Post Office Agents must Always be at the same version and service pack level (or newer) as the GroupWise client you are pushing.

Summary

To recap, we've had a long dry summer with a new GroupWise client that needs to be pushed to be security-compliant. We set up our software distribution directory, we set the post office to use it, we configured our config files, and we tested the push of the client using AutoUpdate. Heck, we even had fun bump'ing and build'ing. All that is left is to say, "You will not have to be 'Waiting in Vain' to get the new GroupWise client on the desktop any longer."

As always, I can be reached at Gregg@HinchmanConsulting.com , if you have any comments, article ideas or just want to help a quirky consultant support his GroupWise habit.


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