For many of us MindManager users, “deployment” is simple: download the most recent version from the Mindjet website, install, and — go! (Nice, huh?)
But what about the situation where there are a lot of users — companies where a whole department, or the whole enterprise, start using MindManager? How does this work? Does a roving herd of IT folk go from machine to machine on “MindManager Installation Day?”
Not quite. This is what we call large-scale deployment. It’s something Product Development keeps refining so that System Administrators can get MindManager up and running, quickly, easily, and (most importantly) painlessly, no matter where the PC is located.
Choices, Choices, Choices
There are a number of ways to deploy MindManager across the enterprise. A System Administrator — let’s call this geek girl Zoey — can in fact install on a machine-by-machine basis. This standard setup is certainly an option, but seriously time-consuming and limited to single machines. Alternately, Zoey could install on a centrally-accessible server, such as Citrix — easier to manage and control. The downside? Slower app performance.
So, maybe Zoey wants more control and confidence over the whole process. She should use the Administrator (a.k.a. Admin) setup, which can push deploy multiple instances of the app from an SMS server, and can install onto groups of users’ systems if deployed with Windows Active Directory, Group Policy, or IntelliMirror.
Using push deployment is pretty straightforward for any Sys-Admin with competent chops. Customizing the installation is powerful, on both a group or user basis. This means Zoey can successfully tweak the install as needed.
But Wait — There’s More!
By far the most flexible option is to deploy MindManager from the command line, the good old C:\> prompt. This tried and true method gives Zoey much greater control over the installation; she can configure supported installation parameters, specify what to install on a feature-by-feature basis, enable or disable program functions, and identify where exactly to install things like user data or libraries — all the stuff that makes Sys-Admins very, very happy.
Also, if Zoey’s company is running SharePoint and wants to employ a custom SiteConnections file, she must use the command line.
The Road Less Traveled
Just to round out the large-scale deployment story here, I should mention some less-frequently used paths. Because of the many and varied system setups at the enterprise level, MindManager strives to provide deployments even for these less frequent situations.
Zoey can also deploy with Active Directory or via a Citrix Presentation Server, though both have some limitations. For example (as mentioned earlier) some properties canonly be configured from the command line. Now, if Zoey is keeping current in System Administration, she knows that she can use tools like Orca to expand her deployment capabilities with Active Directory.
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Another large-scale deployment option is running Mindjet on a Windows client machine, where one server services many clients. However, if Zoey wants users to enjoy full color mode in Mindjet — and hey, who doesn’t want to enjoy full color mode? — Zoey will have to deploy Mindjet using Windows Server Terminal Services.Finally, there’s deployment using system management software, such as Microsoft System Management Server. This lets Zoey create a custom setup and centrally install to many machines with one command, create different setups for groups of users, and administer client machines. While we offer no specialized support for this option, is it possible to deploy MindManager using system management software.
So, note to Zoey: MindManager sees your large scale deployment challenges — and we’ve got you covered!