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Deploying MSI package to SCCM

Brief overview of Microsoft SCCM and how PACE Suite approaches publishing to it

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) is a software designed for centralized system management and refers to enterprise-wide administration. It helps administrators manage large groups of Windows-based computer systems. A member of the Microsoft System Center suite of management solutions, System Center Configuration Manager increases IT productivity and efficiency by reducing manual tasks and letting IT stuff focus on high-value projects, maximize hardware and software investments, and empower end-user productivity by providing the right software at the right time. Configuration Manager helps administrators deliver more effective IT services by enabling secure and scalable software deployment, compliance settings management, and comprehensive asset management of servers, desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.

One of the primary features of System Center Configuration Manager is its ability to distribute software to client computers. Software is distributed as an application or a package. A software application (package) gives an administrator the ability to systematically distribute updates to clients. The updates can be new software, command lines, registry modifications, scripts etc. This gives administrators the ability to centrally manage and standardize an entire network of client. PACE Suite supports direct publishing of Windows Installer (MSI), both as an application and as a package, to Microsoft SCCM.

Traditional process of software delivery to the end user involves an Application Packaging Specialist who prepares MSI for deployment and passes it to a Configuration Manager Admin who then creates the application with Windows Installer (MSI) deployment type).

traditional publishing of MSI to SCCM

PACE Suite allows to automatically add an application to Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager with the help of a Wizard. Application Packaging Specialist has to have at least Application Author security role in SCCM or know the credentials of this role. MSI Editor (a part of PACE Suite) substitutes Configuration Manager Admin role and creates applications and deployments directly in SCCM.

publishing of MSI to SCCM with PACE Suite

For Applications, MSI Editor defines the following publishing options:

MSI to SCCM publishing options

  1. Installation behavior, which can be one of the following:
    • Install for User – the application is installed only for the user to whom the application is deployed
    • Install for System – the application is installed only once, and it is available to all users
    • Install for System if resource is device; otherwise install as user – if the application is deployed to a device, it will be installed for all users. If the application is deployed to a user, it will be installed for only that user
  2. Logon requirement, which you can specify to be:
    • Only when a user is logged on
    • Whether or not a user is logged on
    • Only when no user is logged on
    • Maximum allowed run time (minutes) – specifies the maximum time that the program is expected to run on the client computer. You can specify this setting as a whole number greater than zero. The default setting is 120 minutes
  3. Device restart – options to enable Configuration Manager to enforce specific OS reboot behavior regardless of the application’s intended behavior:
    • Determine behavior based on return codes – handles reboots based on the codes configured on the Return Codes tab
    • No specific action – no reboot required after installation
    • The software installation program might force a device restart – Configuration Manager will not control reboot; the actual installation might force a reboot without warning
    • Configuration Manager client will force a mandatory device restart – Configuration Manager will force a device reboot—either by notifying the user or without notification
For Packages, the publishing options in MSI Editor are:
  1. Can run when – sets the logon requirements for this deployment type as one of the following options:
    • Whether or not a user is logged on
    • Only when a user is logged on
    • Only when no user is logged on
  2. Run mode – defines wheteher elevated rights are required:
    • Run with administrative rights
    • Run with user’s rights
  3. Action after install (uninstall):
    • No action required – means that no restart or logoff is required for the install (uninstall) program
    • ConfigMgr restarts computer – SCCM restarts computer. It is useful when install (uninstall) program requires reboot but does not initiate it
    • Program restarts computer – Installing (uninstalling) the program requires reboot and the program actually restarts computer
    • ConfigMgr logs user off – SCCM logs users off after install (uninstall) program
  4. Estimated disk space defines approximate value of disk space which package needs in KB, MB, GB.
  5. Maximum allowed run time (minutes) – specifies the maximum time that the install (uninstall) program is expected to run on the client computer. You can specify this setting as a whole number greater than zero. The default setting is 120 minutes.


Publishing MSI package to SCCM with PACE Suite

Here is the step-by-step guide on publishing any MSI to System Center Configuration Manager.
NOTE For publishing MSI packages to Microsoft SCCM 2007 (SP1/SP2/R1/R2) or SCCM 2012 (SP1/SP2/R2/R2 SP1) server, ensure that your system contains Microsoft Management Framework 3.0 and Windows Remote Management (WinRM) service enabled.

First, launch MSI Editor from the desktop or the start menu shortcut. Then, select Open… from MENU.

MSI Editor

Choose an MSI package, which you want to publish to the SCCM server and click Open.

choose MSI for publishing

Then, select Publish package to SCCM… from MENU.

PACE Suite publish to SCCM

Specify an IP address or a hostname of your SCCM server, user name and password for connecting to the SCCM. Enter a network share, where the package should be uploaded, and credentials for connecting to the network share. Click Next to choose a publishing model. Click Test connections… to check connections to the SCCM server and network share.

specify SCCM credentials

Select a suitable publishing model and click Next.

select a model for MSI publishing

Review and update package display information such as name, manufacturer, version and others. Click Next to choose publish options.

manage SCCM display information

Select the necessary publish options and click Next.

choose SCCM publishing model

Select which of files and folders, located in the package folder, should be copied to the network share and click Next to publish your package to the SCCM server.

publish MSI to SCCM

Wait while the opened package is publishing to the specified SCCM server.

publishing to SCCM

Make sure that Publishing finished successfully and click Finish button.

successful publishing

Now, you can go to SCCM server virtual machine and log in with SCCM user credentials, which you used on the first step of the publishing Wizard. In SCCM, select Software Library workspace. Depending on the model you have chosen, open either Applications or Packages group. Then, select your application (package) from the list. Click Properties button on the ribbon. Go to Programs tab and check Install program and Uninstall program fields and click OK when done.

Important: It is not possible to publish MSI again with the same name. Therefore, before new publishing of the same MSI, remove published application from SCCM or use another name.
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