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I'm writing this blog after a rollacoaster week which has resulted in the release of ImageInvoker 2.0 RC1 for Ghost Solution Suite (GSS) 3.x and drinking a vast quantity of coffee and the odd beer! The good news is, RC1 has been thrashed testing wise and we're so confident we'll support you if you install RC1 in a production environment.

What's ImageInvoker?

ImageInvoker is an imaging and deployment portal for Ghost Solution Suite 3.x automation environments including PXE and boot media. ImageInvoker includes secure authentication, deployment menus, computer naming and job scheduling. If you have techies provisioning machines and you don't want them to have to use the GSS Console, ImageInvoker is definitely of value.

For those who don't want to hear the full story, you can fast forward and download ImageInvoker 2.0 RC1 here. However, if you're more interested in how we pulled together this great enhancement product for Symantec Ghost Solution Suite read on. 

Day 1 (July 10, 2017)

Ian Atkin from Oxford University, Altiris specialist and author of ImageInvoker 1.0 for Symantec DS 6.9, spent a week at the ENGL office in his stakeholder capacity. We've been working with Ian since December 2016, where we foolishly accepted a challenge to port ImageInvoker 1.0 for DS 6.9 to a new modern architecture that would be future proof and support Ghost Solution Suite 3.x. We persuaded him to visit the office so he could focus on ImageInvoker without the distraction of Oxford pubs and erm, work.

The first day started well, until Ian realised he was in the perfect position to get his wish list into the 2.0 product. So we finished the day with 6 new features that we hadn't planned for. Ooops!

Day 2 (July 11, 2017)

This turned out to be the worst day of the week where we discovered some performance issues which we spent the day troubleshooting. Lunch was good (chilli-con-carni if I recall), but apart from that it was painful. Hey, this is the world of software dev, it's not always easy.

Day 3 (July 12, 2017)

After a whiteboard session and more coffee, we had a light bulb moment and set about updating the ImageInvoker service and client communications. We created a test harness and thrashed the service by spinning up a mix of virtual and physical hardware to emulate a live environment with multiple clients were being run sequentially. 

With positive results attention was drawn to tidying up some of the client UI and increasing performance by stripping out the BETA debugging and streamlining client to server comms. It was coming together!

Day 4 (July 13, 2017)

After kicking off some dev builds following some late night and early morning tweaks we were ready for release testing. We dedicated a day to go through all release tests time and time again with both the Linux and WinPE ImageInvoker client. A couple of issues came up which were quickly quashed and tested.

Day 5 (July 14, 2017)

What a week! I'm writing on Day 5. All release testing has been completed. Documentation and web site has been updated and ImageInvoker 2.0 RC1 is available to download.

Heath Upton (ENGL) and Ian Atkin (Oxford University)

What's next

Your job is to download RC1 from here and give us feedback. We're already planning the official release, which will be a matter of weeks.

Like I said, it's been a rollacoaster, but fun!