|Introduction|||||How we tested|||||PCE|||||Verdict|
Eye4you provided ZDNet Australia with a trial version of the software for testing purposes. Any business interested in trialling PCE can download it from Eye4you's Web site.
The test environment was a VMWare Windows 2003 SP1 Server with Active Directory, IIS and SQL 2005 Express, with a VMWare XP Professional SP2 workstation as the client. The client machine was a member of the AD domain and the user account was also a domain user.
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PCE sets itself up as a virtual web server in IIS
Installation is very straightforward -- most of the effort in installing PCE lies in preparing the server. .NET Framework should be installed before IIS (it just makes life easier), and the database engine needs to be fully operational. You will be prompted for the sa username and password during the installation when the PCE database is created. Browse for the database server to ensure you access the correct one.
PCE is very much dependent on standard networking rules and protocols to function. The server and client need to be able to communicate normally via TCP/IP, and should be able to resolve each others' host/domain names. It's also easier if the clients are members of Active Directory.
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The Remote Deployment Tool makes
installing client software a breeze
Installing the client software can be done in a couple of ways. The simplest way is to open a share to the client install package stored within the application directory on the PCE server and have the clients connect remotely to it and perform the installation. Another option is to have the server perform a remote deployment to all known workstations. PCE comes with a remote deployment tool which can leverage off Active Directory (if installed). Computers known to AD can be imported into a list of machines which need the PCE client installed or updated. You can also add machines which are already known to PCE, or add them individually by hostname. The server must obviously be able to resolve each hostname to its IP address. Point the deployment tool at the share which contains the client software and away it goes.
The only drawback is that if Windows Firewall is active on the client then the push with fail. If this is the case the client will either have to be modified to allow traffic through from the PCE server (which is the better idea), or connect to the share and perform a pull installation.
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