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Flat file deployment is the future for Ion and Catalyst

Posted by: Browsium Tags: , , , Posted date:

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Today, Browsium supports two methods for deploying configurations to PCs in an enterprise using both Ion and Catalyst. Configurations can be deployed across an enterprise via:

  1. A Flat File which contains the entire configuration, formatted as XML, pushed out to a known location on end user PCs or a shared network location; or
  2. Serialized Registry Keys, where the configuration is exported to an ADM or ADMX file and is subsequently stored in a set of registry keys which are deployed to end users via Group Policy.

Feedback from our customers and partners has indicated that using the ADM/ADMX format was not suitable for their environments and they preferred using Flat Files. With that in mind, we are now taking the next step in our product evolution to improve the deployment process for our customers. In the next releases of both Ion and Catalyst, deployment through Serialized Registry Keys (ADM and ADMX) will no longer be supported.

While that may sound drastic and scary – it’s actually not. The new approach will utilize Flat Files for both testing and deployment, greatly simplifying the entire process – from project development through deployment. It’s a far simpler approach, much easier to update, and utilizes existing enterprise management tools (including Group Policy, if desired).

This change does not mean that deployment via Group Policy is no longer an option. Its just slightly different when using Flat Files vs. ADM/ADMX. When the Flat File configurations are deployed to the enterprise, either on the individual PCs or on a network share, a pointer to the configuration file is required in the registry of all end user PCs. The registry preference extension for Group Policy is often the most efficient way to streamline the deployment of this registry key and value.

In addition, the Flat File itself can also be distributed via Group Policy (or via any other software distribution tool). If you’re using Group Policy, our guidance is consistent with the Microsoft recommended method that you can learn more about in this TechNet article.

Ultimately this change will simplify both products when it comes to the deployment phase of your projects. Given that we have supported the Serialized Registry Keys method in all prior releases, if your organization has deployed this way, it’s time to start migrating to the Flat File method so that you’re ready when we release the next versions of Browsium Ion and Catalyst.

You can read our guidance on Flat File deployment in chapter 6 of both the Ion Admin Guide and the Catalyst Admin Guide. Please contact Browsium Support if you need additional help.

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