Video: Automating Windows Server Deployments with Login AM
Hello, my name is Mike. My colleagues used to come up to me and ask: can you quickly provide us with some servers for our new project? My colleagues were often disappointed because it just took too long. I wanted to help them, but they just didn’t realize how much time went into installing and configuring the required software. I was looking for a way to quickly build servers according to our company’s standard but without having to start from scratch. Login AM showed me the way.
We are now in the Login AM dashboard. Here are all the packages I created myself. Let’s take a look at the package for Microsoft Office 2010. These packages contain all the instructions needed for deployment, configuration, security and even user environment settings. Most of these packages contain standardized instructions provided by Login AM. Some packages contain PowerShell scripts which I wrote myself.
I have packages for end-user applications like Microsoft Office and virtualization systems like Citrix XenApp and Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host servers, but I also have packages for installing SQL servers, and web servers. I also added my own personal touch by creating a template category where I added predefined packages. These templates can help me create new packages even faster. It’s like having my very own service catalog.
Layers allow me to organize packages into logical sets. So I don’t have to handle packages individually when defining new server types. I have created a number of layers. For instance, I have layers that turn freshly installed Windows servers into Citrix XenApp servers or into Microsoft SQL servers. Some packages are mandatory within our organization and need to be installed on every single server. For these packages I created a separate layer. This layer contains antivirus software and some monitoring agents.
Finally, when I’m happy with my packages and layers I can add them to our collections. I have already created some collections and defined their building blocks by adding layers. In case of a call center farm, the building blocks are: Citrix XenApp 6.5, the layer of mandatory software, some common applications used by everyone and finally a layer of call center desktop applications. When we look at our finance farm we find the same list of layers, except for the call center desktop which has been replaced by the finance desktop.
So now we have defined two separate farms using mostly the same packages. However I don’t want two identical farms. I want to be able to differentiate settings per collection. This can be achieved by going to package settings.
On the left you see a list of packages which are assigned to this collection and have override settings available. By selecting the XenApp package you will see a list of all the settings I’ve created for this package. This is really great, because I can override specific settings for this collection. For example I can override the farm name to be Finance Farm and when we go back to our call center farm I can make sure that our call center farm is actually called Callcenter. This very unique feature saves me a lot of time when defining and building new systems or even complete environments.
See you next time at Lunch and learn. Do you want to share this experience with me? Download Login AM and start automating today.