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In BETA 1 we supported monitoring of Windows deployments using ENGL Imaging Toolkit. With BETA 2, we've extended support to include any task-based deployment solution. In this blog, I'll configure Deployment Monitor to track the progress of Windows deployments using Symantec Ghost Solution Suite (GSS). If you're using a different Windows deployment solution, don't worry as this blog will point you in the right direction.

 

Installing Deployment Monitor

You'll need a physical or virtual machine running Windows Server 2016 or Server 2012 R2, IIS and SQL Server (local/remote). Ensure you check out the system requirements found in the BETA 2 documentation before installing Deployment Monitor.

Note: Remember to only ever install BETA software on non-production servers!

 

Configuring Deployment Monitor

Once Deployment Monitor has been installed and a license has been applied, open the Web Console.

  1. In the Management Solution tab, select Other.



  2. In the Deployment Process tab, enter the number of deployment phases that constitute a complete Windows deployment. Deployment Monitor uses phases to calculate the overall progress of machine builds. Phases can include a number of tasks, but we'll come on to that later. For example, if you have Imaging, Configuration, and Application installation phases, enter 3.



  3. In the Status Updates tab, add log files that Deployment Monitor will collect during status updates from the machine being deployed. The OnError flag ensures the log file is only uploaded to the Deployment Monitor server when a status update is sent with an error.

 

Sending status updates

Once Deployment Monitor has been configured for custom deployment, you need to copy the included DMStatus.exe (there are 32 and 64-bit versions) to a share that is accessible to the machine at deployment time. For GSS, we recommend copying DMStatus to a folder on the eXpress share.

DMStatus gathers machine inventory and log files, which are sent to the Deployment Monitor server. Using DMStatus command-line switches, the Deployment Monitor server, phase index, task description and optional error message can be sent.

DMStatus.exe /server:”<server>[:<port>]” /phase:”<index>” /task:”<description>” /error:”<error_message>”

A typical GSS job includes several tasks. For Deployment Monitor, we need to think of how those tasks will be grouped into phases (see Deployment Process settings above).

Before each phase and GSS task, we need to run DMStatus to ensure Deployment Monitor correctly calculates machine progress. Use the GSS Run Script task to call DMStatus with the correct command-line switches. At the end of the deployment process, DMStatus must be run with the last phase number and a status of finished, which tells Deployment Monitor that the deployment has completed.

The following lines illustrate the order that DMStatus should be called:

dmstatus /server:"deploymon" /phase:1

dmstatus /server:"deploymon" /phase:1 /task:"Restoring Windows 10 image"

dmstatus /server:"deploymon" /phase:1 /task:"Installing critical drivers"

dmstatus /server:"deploymon" /phase:2

dmstatus /server:"deploymon" /phase:2 /task:“Installing drivers"

dmstatus /server:"deploymon" /phase:3

dmstatus /server:"deploymon" /phase:3 /task:“Installing Office"

dmstatus /server:"deploymon" /phase:3 /task:“Installing WinZIP"

dmstatus /server:"deploymon" /phase:3 /status:"finished“

 

Sending status update with an error

If you detect an error during the deployment, run DMStatus with the optional /error switch. In the Web Console, the error will be visible in red from the live and history views, as well as the detailed status.

dmstatus /server:"deploymon" /phase:2 /task:“Installing drivers" /error:"Failed to install drivers" 

 

Web Console

In the Web Console, there are live progress and build history views. 

For a given machine, detailed status displays all phases and tasks.

In BETA 2 the log viewer has had a face lift and includes full text search and highlighting, and the ability to find errors and warnings in all uploaded log files.

 

 

Downloading BETA 2

Deployment Monitor 2.0 BETA 2 includes support for both ENGL Imaging Toolkit and custom task-based deployment solutions.

To get involved, sign up for the BETA and get testing!

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When working with Imaging Toolkit, VMware can be a great help, as it allows you to take snapshots (so you can go back and repeat steps more easily), and comes with built-in network connectivity (which makes it easier when creating base images) and does not require any special drivers (again, this helps to keep the base image as "clean" as possible).

I'm going to talk about how to incorporate VMware into the process (and will also be of help when working on any new Imaging Toolkit project). Other virtualisation solutions can also be used, provided you follow the guidelines in this TID, but this TID specifically covers VMware.

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After months of hard work, we're days away from handing over Deployment Monitor 2.0 to BETA testers. We're extremely proud of what we've achieved and here's an overview of the new features.

 

Modern framework

With Deployment Monitor 2, we've recreated the product from scratch. We took all the good things in Deployment Monitor 1.x and added a modern twist. The Web Service, which talks to the database and does all the hard work, has been designed with REST API methods that we intend to document and expose for your own use. The Web Console, which is the browser front-end to Deployment Monitor, has been developed to include responsive HTML5 components.

 

SQL Server support

Deployment Monitor 2 supports both local and remote SQL Server connections. We've also removed the requirement for SQL Server Express, for example a remote connection to an instance on SQL Server 2016 SP1.

 

Live and History views

We've updated the Live and History views with customisable columns and ordering. As part of this, ENGL Imaging Toolkit customers have the ability to add multiple ENGL Build-data Attributes as columns.

The Live and History data grids will now dynamically refresh whenever there are changes on the Deployment Monitor server. This makes for a more fluid experience without full screen refreshes. As part of the dynamic connection between the Web Console and the server, actions such View log files, will enable/disable depending on whether a machine build has sent log files or not. We've also made it possible for you to remote control ZENworks devices from both the Live and History views.

 

Detailed status

The detailed status window gives you a report of all status updates received for a given machine.

 

Log viewer

With Deployment Monitor 2, it is now possible to define multiple log files that will be collected as the machine is being deployed. Additional log files to be collected can be defined in Deployment Monitor settings. Not only can you specify a list of log files but you can specify whether the log file is uploaded to the Deployment Monitor server always or only when a deployment error is detected.

The log viewer now includes tabs for each log file. ENGL Imaging Toolkit deployments will always collect Zim and Ztoolkit log files during status updates, which now appear in a single tab named Imaging Toolkit. Errors and warnings are highlighted and all files for the selected machine build can be downloaded as a ZIP.

 

Imaging Toollkit support

Imaging Toolkit 10.0.6 includes support for Deployment Monitor 2.0 BETA. If you're running an earlier version of Imaging Toolkit, it's time to plan the upgrade so you're ready for Deployment Monitor 2.0.

 

What's next?

Whilst BETA 1 is focused on deployments using ENGL Imaging Toolkit, in the next BETA release we'll support non-Imaging Toolkit deployments. Whether you're running ZENworks, System Center, or Ghost Solution Suite, you'll be able to monitor your OS deployments using Deployment Monitor 2.0.

 

Get involved

You've asked for the features and we've delivered. Time for you to help us. Your feedback is important to us. If you can spare a few hours a week to test Deployment Monitor 2 and report issues to us, please register your interest here. We have a limit to the number of BETA testers we can accept, so please sign up now.

Deployment Monitor 2.0 BETA registration

 

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Our teams are having a great time exchanging dialogue with Deployment Monitor 2.0 BETA testers.

A LOT of blood, sweat and tears went into v2 and it's beyond exciting to hear when customers take the time to install the BETA and provide feedback.

Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. But it's worth it in the long run, as we turn a product we thought customers wanted, into a product we absolutely know customers want, because they took the time to tell us, and we're listening!
 
If you want to get involved with the Deployment Monitor 2.0 BETA, sign up here...
 

 

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I'm pleased to announce that ENGL Driver Manager 6.0.2 is now available to download.

This release includes improvements to Ghost Solution Suite integration, Windows Server 2016 support (Admin machine) and stability fixes.

https://www.engl.co.uk/products/drivermanager/releasehistory
https://www.engl.co.uk/products/drivermanager/compatibility#gss

Regards,
ENGL Team