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Unattended install


JeffVandervoort
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This currently is not fully supported. However you can deploy the .msi through Group Policy and then run a script to import the registry settings.

First export the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MMSOFT Design\PC Monitor key from a fully configured computer, remove ComputerIdentifier and ComputerName then import it on all the computers.

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Thinking it through further, to be useful...

I need to be able to set a config that will work on ANY machine. Unlike "secure by default", where we only want to install services we need, in monitoring, we want MPCM to monitor EVERYTHING that's installed, and ignore anything that's not. Is that how MPCM works? For example, if I enable IIS monitoring on a machine where IIS is not installed, do bad things happen?

In particular, I notice unique IDs for network connections and hard disks. Those sure won't be usable globally. Don't know what all the possible ramifications are of this, but it sounds like settings that monitor "All Adapters" and "All Disks", with per-machine exceptions, would make a lot of sense.

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And the "Count" registry value has to go. I've written software, too, and I know how convenient it is to store the upper boundary, but it makes it tough on the end user.

My current plan is to push the settings I'm interested in by Group Policy Preferences, but my comments apply to the ADM/ADMX files I very much hope you furnish soon. This needs some rethinking by MMSoft.

As much as I like MPCM (from my 3-computer trial), my one negative comment (now that I've bought a larger license) would be that it is not very well designed for enterprise deployment, whether by GPSI or SCCM.

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I would agree with this, we haven't yet added support fully for enterprise deployment. You can install automatically at the moment and apply a default configuration, after that you can use the "Manage Registered Computers" feature in PC Monitor to edit remotely the configuration for every computer.

The configuration can be changed as well from the Dashboard.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Marius, this was among my first threads here. I think I read here recently that the PCM service will now auto-start after install in the next version, which will help. You've already acknowleged that PCM isn't quite enterprise ready, so I'm sorry to beat a dead horse.

But this isn't even on your Roadmap. IMHO, it seriously needs to be.

The more I get into this, the more I realize how CRITICAL it is going to be for PCM to support Group Policy ADMXs (or at least ADMs) to be usable in the Enterprise. And/Or SCCM. My current preference would probably be ADMXs.

Would prefer that you avoid using a proprietary management console, but if you do, make sure it's a genuine MMC snap-in and not one of those sluggish, clumsy Java- (or PowerShell-) based consoles that too many vendors use these days. Esp. if it ties us to a specific Java or PowerShell version. Those are the worst. Bad enough I have to install .Net 4 everywhere for PCM! I've found that causes some headaches with MS App-V and Forefront UAG. MMCs avoid all that (in the Windows world, anyway).

I'm doing a pilot system right now that, if all goes well, will scale to dozens, then 100s of servers in the next few years. I'd like to bring PCM with me; I think it's a great product. In pilot, I'm trying to design everything with an eye toward that scalable future while keeping costs down. But PCM, while handy and inexpensive at my current scale, is not scalable.

Right now, the need to touch each machine is merely a nuisance. Ultimately, I need to be able to drop a machine in an OU and have all its settings--including PCM--applied automatically so I can stamp out new servers as quickly and consistently as possible.

With PCM's current design, it is very difficult to manage with the only tools I have available: .REG scripts and Group Policy Preferences.

If PCM Server included ADMXs, I'd have already purchased a license. In the long run, I won't consider a PCM Server license without ADMXs.

Even wearing my former SMB consulting business hat, I'd be asking for the same thing. Even when you have 8 or 10 servers, if you also have a tight IT budget, GPOs become your best friend. PCM really needs to support this.

A STOPGAP: If you do nothing else in the short term, the "Count" registry entry is a KILLER; that HAS to go away ASAP. That would make those 2 tools MUCH more usable until you have Policy support. In fact, I could probably forgive lack of ADMXs for a while if I could just use GPP.

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PC Monitor Enterprise Server comes with an Admin tool - it is there where we plan to define a common policy that will be applied to all computers or to specific groups.

This will include common settings as well as rules, performance counters and notifications. We will add support for ADMX too (for cloud based subscriptions) but for the enterprise server we will prefer the Admin tool as it will give us a higher level of flexibility when it comes to app settings. When the PC Monitor starts on a computer it will automatically download the policy that will overwrite any local settings (where appropriate).

We are confident that PC Monitor will scale and we are improving the solution all the time. We are welcoming all the suggestions, thank you for your input.

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Thanks; I know you're improving it as fast as possible! And it sounds like the PCM Server may address my biggest concern.

But the web site doesn't describe the admin tool, or provide any screenshots. I don't want to fuss with installing the trial version to get this answer:

Does the admin tool allow me to set up a new machine whose config matches an existing machine, and have the correct PC Monitor configuration applied to it automatically, without touching the machine or the admin tool, as Group Policy would?

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OK, I'll look into the server product when I get closer to production.

But in perspective, Linux & Mac already require a separate client. And Linux & Mac don't have Registries, or .Net, do they. So you're already knee-deep in tri-platform support. To your credit, you're not relying on Java (at least on Windows) for cross-platform

AND PLEASE KEEP IT THAT WAY. THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS I LIKE PCM.

So when Mac or Linux have their own equivalents for Group Policy--and maybe they already do, I'm not expert on that--you can and should support that just as you do the OS's themselves. Meanwhile, the 95+% of us that use Windows could be using ADMXs RIGHT NOW.

And Group Policy works really, really, really well.

******************************************

Meantime--and I can't stress this enough--if you stop using the "Count" value to store the upper bound of your arrays, we can roll our own homebrew Group Policies using Group Policy Preferences. This is not a difficult programming problem to solve, and it would give small PCM sites a LOT more functionality. And I'd not keep harping on this like I am now!

******************************************

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I oversimplified a bit...the other piece that would be needed is to eliminate the index numbers of the other values in each key. For example, in Services, instead of this:

Service0 = AppHostSvc

Service1 = AppInfo

...

ServiceN = wuausrv

It would need to be:

AppHostSvc = ""

AppInfo = ""

...

wuausrv = ""

Or else use value 1 for monitored, 0 for not monitored.

That's probably obvious to anyone who's ever worked with the Registry, but I also don't want you to go to all the trouble to create something I still can't use!

And, by the way, if you ever DO decide to add ADMX support, you'll be in really good shape to do so.

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  • 4 months later...

I personally don't think the mmc interface is one worth copying. There are many successful interfaces out there (compare the finesse of Virtual Center and how successfully it presents something terribly complex -- as opposed to SCOM or SCCM, that obscures the functionality and intuition of monitoring/alerting or confi mgt .

That being said, I agree with Jeff that deployment considerations need to be rolled into a centrally managed solution to be enterprise class. Achieving that will open doors for this software to new scales of adoption. That would be great for MMSoft and for us alike!

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The next release will support:

pcmonitor.msi /qn username=xxx password=yyy group=zzz server=aaa

so the agent can be installed automatically. The monitoring service will start automatically too and the agent will query the server to download the default configuration for the group defined on the server.

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