Thursday, May 28, 2009

Auto client update in OCS 2007 R2

I have to give Aaron Tiensivu credit for this entry today. The ability for the OCS server to deliver a new version of the MOC client is an interesting method for keeping your client machines up to date however it does have its own drawbacks as well.

Aaron's blog explains how to set this up and I have included my concise steps below as well:

  • Download your Communicator patch file (.msp)
  • Log into your OCS server, run the admin tool and right click your server (for standard edition) or your pool name (for enterprise edition) and choose Filtering Tools then Client Version Filter.
  • Click the Add button
  • Set the User Agent Header to OC
  • Populate the version numbers to coincide with the version you want to update. For example, if you have clients at 6907.0 and you want to patch them to 6907.9 then type in the values as per the image below:

  • Set the remaining options as shown above. One difference here is that I like to set the folder name to be equal to the patch I'm upgrading to (i.e. 6907.9).
  • Next, if you're running Standard Edition, create the folder structure show in the image above exactly. For example, on Standard Edition use: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2\Web Components\AutoUpdate\Files\6907.9\x32\fre\1033.
  • If you're running Enterprise Edition use your shared file location you specified for your Client Update share: \\servername\client_update\Files\6907.9\x32\fre\1033.
  • Now that you have the file structure in place, copy your msp file to the 1033 folder.
  • Your clients should now update properly. You can right-click on the Communicator icon in the system tray and choose Configuration Information to view the update status.

So here is what I don't like about this process....

1. The user needs to have the right to install software. This update process is not much good to organizations with typical security measures in place.

2. These patches should be managed through the companies patch management strategy. Microsoft now offers patches to the MOC client through Windows Update so my suggestion would be to leverage that method instead.

Oh, and by the sure to install the latest May update (6907.22) because previous versions apparently have a bug which prevent them from contacting the update server process.

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