One of the biggest hurdles that administrators have to deal with is application life-cycle management. Whether an organization has 10 PCs or 30,000, no one likes the idea of going from workstation to workstation with an installation CD every time a new version of an application is released. What you might not realize though is that Windows Server contains tools that you can use to deploy applications throughout your organization. With this technique, you will be able to deploy applications through the Active Directory using Windows Installer packages (.MSI files).
For enterprise license holders, we provide the equivalent MSI setups of most of our products and so it’s a lot easier to deploy applications through the Active Directory than it used to be.
As you may already know, in an Active Directory environment, group policies are the main component of network security. Group policy objects can be applied either to users or to computers. Deploying applications through the Active Directory is also done through the use of group policies, and therefore applications are deployed either on a per user basis or on a per computer basis.
There are two different ways that you can deploy an application through the Active Directory. You can either publish the application or you can assign the application. You can only publish applications to users, but you can assign applications to either users or to computers. The application is deployed in a different manner depending on which of these methods you use.
The MSI setups for our products are generated with ‘Advanced Installer’ authoring tool, and they have a good article on how to deploy a MSI with GPO – http://www.advancedinstaller.com/user-guide/tutorial-gpo.html