New Software Distribution Features in Topaz (Part 2)

by Dana Daugherty

Currently, there are 8 new software distribution features included with Topaz. This is the second part of a two-part article that focuses on these new features.

While this new version of SMS 2.0 is still in beta, at this time the new Topaz software distribution features include:

Currently, there are eight new software distribution features included with Topaz, the new beta release of SMS 2.0. This the second of a two-part article from Dana Daugherty that focuses on these new features.

X      Delta replication. This new feature provides the ability to automatically replicate only the source package files that have changed. SMS 2.0 must replicate a complete source folder when only one file is modified. So for example: My package is 500 MB in size. I need only to update a wrapper file with a size of 100 K. I have 50 distribution points, some connected by 128K WAN links. SMS 2.0 does not have the capability to only replicate the 100 K wrapper file. It is all or nothing.  

X      Support for MSI packages. Windows Installer (MSI) technology is the new standard in application setup packaging. Msiexec.exe is a OS resident service that is responsible for managing the installation of Windows Installer package files. The package files use the .msi extension. SMS 2.0 did not do a good job of properly supporting MSI packages. Microsoft took MSI package distribution into consideration when developing Topaz.

Windows Installer support features added in Topaz include:  

o       Package creation directly from .msi files. This functionality has actually been added to the Create Package from Definition Wizard.  

o       Package elevation for MSI packages. The Topaz desktop and mobile clients request that the operating system run the MSI package with elevated rights. 

X      Mobile Client support. The mobile client is designed for traveling and home-based users. Topaz contains several features to support software distribution to traveling and home-based users: 

o       Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). BITS supports these features:

'         Download and execute. As it sounds, the client downloads a complete package and then executes it rather than attempting to execute it over a slow link.

'         Byte-level checkpoint restarts. This feature allows clients that connect for a short, inconsistent amount of time to begin downloading a package from the point where the last byte was copied during the last download session as opposed to starting over with the download.

'         Bandwidth throttling. The mobile client adjusts its bandwidth usage based on what is available. Supporting BITS features requires the following: 

o       Roaming is the ability for a mobile client to be managed by a management point that is local to the site the client is visiting. The mobile client requires management points for sending and receiving information in using Microsoft Message Queue Service (MMQS). The client can then be directed to a local distribution point..

This article was originally published on Mar 4, 2002
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