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March 10, 2005

In search of perfection

As I sit here I'm watching an SMS 2003 push of an application to 1306 machines. 25 clients never evaluated policy leaving 1281 machines that did.Out of the 1281, 1206 have finished and 26 have failed with error 1603.That leaves me with a push that is 93% successful. If weed out SMS problems and focus on only the ones that ran I'm looking at a success rate of 98% with a 2% error rate of 1603.So is the glass half empty or half full? What kinds of error rates do you guys see? I'd really like to be able to crank up my reliabilty a notch or two because it costs alot of labor to have to track down these machines either physically or remotely and perform a manual installation.

My problems seem to be centering around corrupted MSI runtimes that setup.exe isn't smart enough to fix on startup and DCOM problems starting the ISScript engine. I used to have lots and lots of problems with ISScript until I started tweaking the redist MSI to set both DCOM instances to Launching User instead of Interactive User. That seems to have solved the problem for most of my clients yet a few return. I'm starting to agree more and more with some other leading setup developers that I need to dump the InstallScript and move toward C++ DLL custom actions. Also if I replace setup.exe with my own bootstrap EXE then I can probably cut down on almost all of my errors and get near 100%! Now that would be hard core setup engineering.

3 comments:

Nate Bloyd said...

Chris,
I too have had some thoughts lately about converting to C++ as a method of performing custom actions. It seems I get resistance to every idea I have that may involve a bit of a learning curve versus improving the stability of our deployment, though. This isn't the request a blog thread, but I would sure enjoy your indepth thoughts on this topic.
Thanks!

Christopher Painter said...

I think it would make a great blog topic though, let me get on it. I have a few thoughts on it.

Paul said...

As a corporate repackager, I can attest to the hell that MSI's with isscript can create.

The DCOM issue is just one of the problems I've had with this interesting technology.