Amongst other great things, the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform has the added benefit of reducing the amount of IT overhead required to introduce, administer, and maintain all the powerful tools a user may need for their typical day-to-day. While some smaller companies may be less strict about formal policies, almost every company likes to have something in place to help control the deployment and configuration of software of individual computers. Not only does this help maintain consistency in the installation but can streamline the installation process by standardizing process. In short, the answer to “Are there admin images on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform” is a resounding “YES!” However, the setup and deployment are slightly different than a traditional SOLIDWORKS admin image so let’s take a look at them.
Getting the Installation Files
Typically, when installing apps from the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, a user would click on their Compass in the top left, navigate to the correct role, select the app, and wait for the installation to complete. If additional apps have to be installed the process would need to be repeated. Multiply that by however many users need things installed or updated and it can start to add up for an IT staff with other priorities.
When working with the batch installation methods for the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform you first have to make sure that you have admin access to your tenant. From here, navigate to the Platform Management Dashboard and go to the Members Tab. On the Members Tab, there is a section titled “Configure Apps Installation”. In this section are the Full installation packages for the different 3DEXPERIENCE Products including 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS, Electrical Schematic Designer, or for the Native Apps. There is also a “Delta” package that assists in updating to a newer hotfix if an existing installation exists. For the sake of the rest of the blog, I downloaded the Full 3DEXPERIENCE R2022x under the Native Apps installation.
Installation and Image Set Up
The downloaded installation media comes in the form of a Compressed Zip which should be extracted onto a shared location that the user computers have access to. Once extracted, the IT Admin can navigate to the Setup.exe in that directory to launch the Set-Up Dialog.
The basic steps are as follows:
- Either pick an existing installation directory or create a new folder to put the media in. If you are creating a new path, the folder must be empty.
- Enter a unique identifier for the installation template. Typically, it is best to name it after Version/Hotfix to more easily identify later.
- Select the installable components (or roles) that you want to be installed. Make sure to select everything needed so it can be done all in one shot. There are a lot of selectable components, so it is best to use the Filter at the top and use the Role Name/Trigram to find what you are looking for. If anything, additional is required for the roles such as prerequisites, you will be prompted to select them.
- Follow the prompts until the media template begins to install. Depending on the number of installable components selected, this may take a bit of time. Once done, you can close out of the dialog.
At this point, the roles selected in the Set-Up Dialog are installed on the local machine without having to individually download and install each role. This can be done on each user machine using the same shared installation media from earlier.
Using the Admin Image Template
After the single user installation is complete, inside of the installation directory we specified above in Step 1, a new “UserIntentions_CODE” XML file is generated. This XML file is basically the instructions that the Set-Up Dialog output to figure out which roles needed to be installed and which ones can be ignored.
From here, an IT Administrator can create a LaunchUpdateInstall.bat file that references the UserIntentions_CODE file. This LaunchUpdateInstall.bat can be used on the other client machines to create an identical installation to the original machine using the template XML. The key is to ensure that the client machines have administrative rights, so the installation goes off without a hitch. For more information on the Batch installation, please reference the 3DEXPERIENCE Best Practices document for 3DEXPERIENCE on the Cloud Native Apps Batch Installation which covers the XML and BAT files in more detail.
The typical process for installing 3DEXPERIENCE Apps is a slow process that involves clicking each app and running through the installation process before doing it over again for the next app. However, someone with administrative access to your 3DEXPERIENCE Tenant can download the entire installation media package, deploy it on a centralized location, and make use of the Set-Up Dialog to install every app needed in one shot. You can easily filter through a list of every available, installable role to get the exact combination needed. From here, this can be taken a step further with a little programming to set up batch installation to deploy the same template on multiple machines. Doing something like this helps maintain consistency amongst an organization and helps reduce the amount of IT overhead needed to get everyone up and running.
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