What is an Enterprise/Automated Deployment tool, and how would it be used? Examples would be a plus, but please don't turn this into a list.

What are the key factors that should be evaluated when looking at such a tool?

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    Err. It's a tool that automates deployment and you should use it when you want to automate deployment? I think I'm missing the point of your question. :) – Adam Lear Jun 16 '11 at 13:51
  • @Anna Lear I understand the definition, having a hard time "picturing" one. Also the bit about what are the key factors to be evaluated ... – C. Ross Jun 16 '11 at 13:55
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    I'm curious why it's called an "Enterprise/Automated Deployment tool" rather than "Enterprise Automated Deployment tool". The former implies that the tool is either for enterprise deployment OR automated deployment, but NOT both. The latter sounds like it's for the automated deployment of enterprise "stuff" which makes more sense, IMO. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jun 16 '11 at 14:12
  • @FrustratedWithFormsDesigner: I think the point is that automated deployment is typically needed by enterprises, so you see the two forms used interchangeably. But such a tool would actually not be used to deploy "enterprise stuff", which I'd understand to mean mainly server-side systems, often web-based. – Michael Borgwardt Jun 16 '11 at 14:28
  • @Frustrated simply because I've seen it referred to both ways. If they're two different things, please let me know. – C. Ross Jun 16 '11 at 15:05

It's a tool that allows you to automate deployment of software, typically to large numbers of desktop PCs (but there probably are similar requirements and tools for server farms) which is something mainly needed by large enterprises. If you have 1000 desk workers that need an office suite installed on their PCs, you don't want to have people walk around with CDs and do it manually.

Such tools have to adress issues like:

  • Full installation for new users
  • Deployment of updates
  • Different user groups that get different software
  • License management
  • Dependency management
  • Waking PCs at night to do installations (don't want it to prevent people from working)
  • Spreading installations over time to avoid overloading the distribution server.
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