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Feature Request: Backwards Compatibility


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Not sure if I'm just missing something obvious, but upgrading SmartDeploy stops me from deploying packages to machines with older clients. It's really obnoxious to have to deal with updating the clients along with the software on the server. Is there a reason for this? I want to to push out updates USING SmartDeploy, not because of it. 

Thanks,
Joel

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Hi Joel,

Thank you for reaching out. First off, I should mention - the normal behavior of the SmartDeploy Client is that it will update itself automatically with no action required on your part. It's supposed to be a process that's entirely free of headaches - or indeed, any work whatever - for you.

The recent exception on this has been the release of SmartDeploy V3, which features completely redesigned client-console communications, and installs alongside your existing V2 (2.0.3090) console. The new communication protocol should mean much more reliable communications and message history between your V3 Clients and the V3 console - but since it was such a drastic change to the software, we didn't want to automatically push out all of the V3 updates only for those endpoints to not be able to talk to the console due to the change in ports and so forth. This side-by-side installation should allow you to upgrade a small number of test clients to V3 (using whatever method you prefer, including manually or using Group Policy, or using the "Upgrade Client to V3" option in the V2 console) and confirm that these endpoints are able to report into the V3 console, and that you're able to perform operations from Computer Management to these endpoints, and then you can upgrade the rest, and uninstall your V2 console.

I realize that doesn't address the why of your question under normal circumstances, when we're not rebuilding the software from the ground up.

For about half the lifespan of the SmartDeploy console, we actually did allow backward compatibility. However, we eventually came to recognize this as a potential security concern. The console has the ability to send commands to a client which can execute those commands on any endpoint with administrative permissions. This includes administrative functions such as installing software, changing boot options, or changing user permissions. Consequently, we need to make sure that this communication protocol is as secure as we can make it, and that unfortunately means disallowing backward compatibility as a best practice. This helps us ensure that older clients do not stick around carrying vulnerabilities that we have already patched on the console side.

I hope that helps address your concern. Our engineering team always welcomes your feedback, and if you have any further thoughts on the matter, please feel free to reach out at feedback@smartdeploy.com.

Likewise, if you're running into any support questions, you can reach out to support@smartdeploy.com.

And finally, here are few articles from the support portal which may help if you're upgrading to V3:

How to upgrade SmartDeploy from V2 to V3

How to troubleshoot SmartDeploy Client upgrades from V2 to V3

Glenn
SmartDeploy Support

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Glenn,

Thanks for your reply.

In the 5 or so upgrades of the v2 branch that I have done I've yet to see an automated upgrade of the client. I have either manually upgraded or manually reimaged every computer. It's possible a handful of PCs upgraded on their own without me noticing, but I'm also certain that I regularly received a version mismatch error when trying to upgrade.

I understand issues with a new version and that's not the issue here. I'll be sure to monitor the next v3 upgrade to see if any clients are able to auto-update. Are there any firewall rules, permissions, etc. that might need to be changed? I have not had any unsolvable issues deploying applications, deploying images, or updating drivers aside from the client server version mismatch issues.

Best,
Joel

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Hi Joel,

That is concerning to hear - I wouldn't expect you to have this much trouble with the automatic client upgrade given that your other Computer Management features are working normally. It is possible to disable the automatic client upgrade feature, so it's possible this was done at some point in the past on this console host. It's not the sort of thing you could've done accidentally (it involves editing a line in a .config file), but I'm not seeing any record of this on your previous tickets, so it would've had to be someone else in your environment.

If you run into any issues with the V3 Client, or if you want to troubleshoot this further, please reach out to us at support@smartdeploy.com and we'll be happy to dig into this.

Glenn
SmartDeploy Support

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