The good news is that we've actually done quite a lot in this area and are continuing to do more. Our install process for the Optim products allows you to operate in one of three modes:
- An install image can be uniquely installed on each desktop. This does require each user to install the product, but we support the Rational Installer update process, which allows the users to easily check to see if updates are available in the internet and automatically install them without having to manually download updates or feed CDs into their PCs.
- You can also choose to install the Optim products on a file server that acts as the production image of the product. A small launcher file is invoked on the end user's desktop, which will load the Optim product into the end user's PC from the file server. With this approach, you only have to maintain the copy of the product that is stored on the file server, and individual users are upgraded instantly each time you apply maintenance to the file server image.
- You can also choose to package the installer using tools like Microsoft's Systems Management Server (SMS) product to deploy the installation to multiple end user desktops. Here is a link to the documentation on this mode of installation in the Installation Manager Information Center. We’re working on getting this information into the Information Management installation documentation as well. We’re also working on creating sample scripts to aid in the packaging and deployment, reducing the development time that is typical when using these tools.
All three modes require less manual labor than the traditional technique of using CDs or DVDs to install and upgrade products. The last two modes fully automate the process for the end users, so that an organization only has to perform maintenance on the centralized file server image (mode 2) or maintenance occurs automatically as a deployable update (mode 3).