Software Distribution Overview

The WOLTECH domain was designed to ease, automate, and monitor the distribution of software to computers. We have an extensive list of Software Packages that have been packaged and configured for distribution via the domain, and new packages are being added everyday.

Each departmental organizational unit (OU) contains a Software Packages OU with multiple OUs within it. These sub OU’s are automatically populated with groups to install all software that the department is licensed to use (via NCSU, your college, freeware, etc). OU Admins can also create their own departmentally licensed software packages.

The Operating Systems and Special Configurations OU’s are discussed elsewhere.

Contents

Software Distribution Architecture

The following process and diagram explain how group policies, groups, and OUs come together to distribute software on the WOLFTECH domain. The diagram shows a University licensed package (MATLAB), college licensed package (OPNET Modeler), and departmentally license package (Microsoft Office).

For each software package:

  1. A domain local group is created in the Software Packages OU of the OU in the hierarchy that the software is licensed.
  2. An SCCM Application is deployed to a Collection that used the membership of the group as its membership criteria. Optionally, a group policy is created and linked to the OU. The group policy is filtered to apply only to the domain local group.
  3. Global groups are automatically created by a script in each sub-OU’s Software Packages OU. These groups are added as members of the domain local group.
  4. To configure software to be installed a machine, an OU Admin simply adds the machine as a member of the group that was created in his/her OU’s Software Packages OU.

It’s important to note that there is a rigid naming standard in place for all domain objects. This is necessary to promote organization, prevent conflicts, ease delegation, and allow for future automation. Before creating domain objects, please thoroughly read the Naming Conventions page.

Freeware or University Licensed Software – Group Memberships

University licensed software is distributed through a series of nested groups.

  1. A domain local group is created in the NCSU Software Packages OU (wolftech.ad.ncsu.edu/NCSU/Software Packages/NCSU Software).
  2. An SCCM Application is deployed to a Collection that used the membership of the group as its membership criteria. Optionally, a group policy is created and linked to the NCSU OU. The group policy is filtered to apply only to the domain local group.
  3. Global groups are automatically created by a scriptcreated in each college’s Software Packages OU (wolftech/NCSU/[COLLEGE]/Software Packages/NCSU Software). These groups are added as members of the domain local group.
  4. Global groups are automatically created by a script created in each Departmental Software Packages OU (wolftech/NCSU/[COLLEGE]/[DEPT]/Software Packages/NCSU Software). These groups are added as members of their college’s group.
  5. To configure software to be installed a machine, an OU Admin simply adds the machine as a member of the group that was created in his/her OU’s Software Packages OU.

College Licensed Software – Group Memberships

College licensed software is distributed through a series of nested groups.

  1. A domain local group is created in the college’s Software Packages OU (wolftech/NCSU/[COLLEGE]/Software Packages/[COLLEGE] Software).
  2. An SCCM Application is deployed to a Collection that used the membership of the group as its membership criteria. Optionally, a group policy is created and linked to the college’s OU. The group policy is filtered to apply only to the domain local group.
  3. Global groups are created in each of the college’s departmental Software Packages OUs (wolftech/NCSU/[COLLEGE]/[DEPT]/Software Packages/[COLLEGE] Software). These groups are added as members of their college’s group.
  4. To configure software to be installed a machine, an OU Admin simply adds the machine as a member of the group that was created in his/her OU’s Software Packages OU.

Departmentally Licensed Software – Group Memberships

Departmentally licensed software is distributed through a single group.

  1. A domain local group is created in the department’s Software Packages OU (wolftech/NCSU/[COLLEGE]/[DEPT]/Software Packages/[DEPT] Software).
  2. An SCCM Application is deployed to a Collection that used the membership of the group as its membership criteria. Optionally, a group policy is created and linked to the department’s OU. The group policy is filtered to apply only to the domain local group.
  3. To configure software to be installed a machine, an OU Admin simply adds the machine as a member of the group that was created in his/her OU’s Software Packages OU.

Available Software Packages

See Software Packages.

Laptops and Software Installations

My domain laptop is not brought into NCSU everyday. Does wolftech software update from home? 

Software Application updates depend on a couple things:

  1. What changes has the machine been told to make via group policy – received from the domain controllers (which cannot be seen offsite w/o VPN)
  2. What changes has the machine been told to make via the SCCM agent (which can be seen offsite)
  3. Access to the application installation shares / fileservers which could be used for scripts or files needed by group policy – (which cannot be accessed offsite w/o VPN)

So for the most part, software deployment works from off campus.  But there are many software packages that also deploy some settings via Group Policy (like license files). So if you run the NCSU VPN client and then the cmd “gpupdate” the VPN client ‘places the laptop on campus’ so it can see the domain controllers, file servers, and the cmd tells it to talk to them to get the newest batch of instructions gathering any needed GPO-based settings.