Deploy Software with a Custom Zenith Job

The Zenith Infotech SAAZ platform includes a Job functionality that can be used to create custom software deployment jobs. This function is simpler, and thus less powerful, than A.S.E. scripting, but it can be useful for deploying software to multiple computers at a site, for example.

Zenith provides a decent Job Management Training Guide in PDF format on their partner portal. I just wanted to note a couple things I didn’t see documented:

  • Jobs run on a local machine as LOCAL SYSTEM. This account does not have direct network access even to servers on the local network. So if you write a batch file hoping to run an executable from a network share, it will fail with Access Denied (even though the portal will say that it succeeded).
  • You could set up a central server to host all updates, but that would mean downloading the update across the wire for each computer. I wanted to use the client’s local server instead. I decided to set up an FTP site on the server with the following restrictions:
    • Use a custom port, e.g. 7214. Do not open this port on the external firewall.
    • Point to a local folder, e.g. D:\FTPDeploy.
    • Anonymous access only.
    • Read access only.
    • Deny access to all computers except local subnet, e.g. 192.168.1.1/255.255.255.0.

Once the FTP site is set up, you’re ready to work in the Zenith portal:

  1. Set up a site-specific job distribution point. The server address is the internal IP of the server plus the port, e.g. ftp://192.168.1.2:7214.
  2. Set up the script. For example, let’s say you’ve set up the required distribution agreement with Adobe and created a custom setup for Adobe Reader using the Adobe Customization Wizard. You’ll have about six files that are needed for the installation. Copy those files files into a subfolder of D:\FTPDeploy, e.g. CustomAcroRead. Then create a site-specific script in the Zenith portal using the following values:

Distribution Point:  the FTP distribution point you created above

Executable File:  setup.exe (the bootstrap file that Adobe runs to start the custom installation)

Additional Files to be downloaded:  CustomAcroRead\*.*

Command Line Parameters:  (leave blank–the Acrobat Reader installer doesn’t need any parameters)

The Additional Files line is the trick:  it tells the ZDeploy process to download all the files in the CustomAcroRead subfolder to the local computer’s C:\Program Files\SAAZOD\Executables folder. Once they are there, it will run the Execute File specified. Do not add the CustomAcroRead subfolder before the Executable File’s name or the executable will not be found.

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