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Deploying software updates on a time restrictive environment

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131174D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Nov-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-09
Document File: 5 page(s) / 75K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This article describes a method to leverage the interaction with the login / logout procedures on a Windows machine to control software deployment operations in time-restrictive environments.

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Deploying software updates on a time restrictive environment

Introduction

  This article describes a methodology to face specific needs related to software application deployment activities in a time restrictive environment. The proposed approach leverages the existence of a way to intercept login/log-off requests on Windows systems.

Background knowledge

  Management operations could fail if the user is working on the target machine (e.g. application upgrade of an application being used by the end-user); on the other hand, the user's productivity might be impacted by a management operation running in background while s/he is doing her/his daily job (Help Desk environments, or other high availability environments).

  The following examples should help clarifying some typical restrictions dictated by the specific business:

Helpdesk with 24x7 service: in such an environment, the only chance of performing management operations without impacting the operator is to leverage the short time windows between each shift and the next one.

Branch offices adopting the policy of turning off all the machines when the operators leave the office in the evening: in this case, the operations can be done neither during the night because the machines are turned off, nor during the day because the operator's activities might be impacted (e.g. operations requiring a reboot). The only chance is to leverage the operator's login as a trigger for pending operations, denying the ability to log into the system as long as the operations are not completed.

  TCM supplies a way of interacting with the WINLOGON process via a dynamic library, which allows managing a deployment action after checking either for running or pending management operations and deciding if an operation can be started or a running operation has to be paused.

Description

  The solution described in this article addresses the scenarios described above.

This result can be achieved by leveraging:

the WINLOGON process, which, on a Windows machine, allows intercepting (and interacting with) the login and log-off attempts;

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application specific flags used to mark an operation in order to be able to manage it with this solution.

  The suggested solution leverages a new dynamic link library that has to be registered within a Windows environment to interact with the login process. The library will check either for running or pending management operations. It can be extended to provide

the ability to detect which user is requesting the log-in: users with specific properties can log into the machine, regardless of the settings related to a running distribution; this allows performing control / troubleshooting activities on a running distribution;

the ability to leverage a priority associated with a queued distribution in order to restart the most urgent at the next available time slot.

Login scenario (branch offices)

  Intended as the capability to use the time a user logs into a Windows machine as a tr...