Welcome to the IBM Installation Manager community. My name is Mark Guertin, and I've been involved in the install and deployment space in Rational for over 10 years now. The last 4-5 years I've been heavily involved in the Enterprise Deployment Voice of the Client and Design Partner programs as well as presenting at the IBM Innovate conference on deployment topics, and my experiences at these events have led me to create this blog. I hope to use this as a way to discuss Installation Manager, some of the less well known or understood features, and other deployment topics.
So what's in a name?
The first post in this blog is going to start with a really basic discussion point. As the title states, I want to look at a different way to discuss the Installation Manager (IM). The basic idea is to stop referring to IM as an "installer", and start calling it an "application". More fully, it's an "application that IBM uses to install other applications". This seems like a trivial thing, but I've found in talking to people that this reframing helps them better grasp the reality of Installation Manager.
Why is that the case? Using the term "installer" conjures up a certain set of expectations for people. An "installer" is expected to behave like InstallShield, MSI, RPM, or any of a number of other true installers. These all have a few things in common:
Little to no overhead from an administrative perspective. This means a couple of things:
- No need to manage the version of the installer
- No need to manage dependencies on other libraries
- No need to explicitly install it on target systems
- Straightforward to use. On Windows, it's "double-click setup.exe and go", for example.
- No need for managing repositories, or converting repositories from one type to another
Many of the conversations I have with our clients revolve around frustration that Installation Manager doesn't behave like they expect. When we change the terms we use to refer to Installation Manager, however, we change people's expectations.
If we call it an "application for installing other applications", now we understand instinctively that we'll need to more actively manage the version of Installation Manager itself, and that it will have a different means of interacting with it. While this isn't a large change, I've found this seems to help some people better grasp Installation Manager and its quirks.