Creating a Network Deployment for AutoCAD 2021

September 25, 2020 Ken Williams

About Deployments

A deployment provides an efficient way to install one or more Autodesk products with a standard configuration on multiple computers. The files required for the installation process are stored on the network, in an administrative image, in a folder to which all users have shared access. To install the products, users navigate to the deployment folder and double-click an installer shortcut (.LNK file).

Some essential facts about deployments:
• Deployments can be created for network licenses or multi-seat stand-alone licenses.
• Multiple deployments with different configurations can exist in the same folder, sharing the same administrative image.
• Each deployment installs products in a single language. If you need to install products in different languages, each language requires a separate deployment. For products that support language packs, you can include additional language packs with a deployment.
• An existing deployment can form the basis for creating another deployment with a different configuration.
• Deployments can be configured to generate a log file for each installation. Network administrators can use these log files for troubleshooting.
• Each deployment creates a subfolder, <deployment name>\SMS_SCCM scripts, which contains two documents to help you with the distribution of deployments using Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM): SMS_SCCM_ReadMe.txt and <deployment name>_SCCM.txt. The SMS\SCCM scripts folder also contains two files to help you create a batch file to automate the uninstallation of some or all of the products in a deployment. The two files are <deployment name>_Uninstall.txt and Product_Uninstall_ReadMe.txt.
• Per Autodesk

Best Practices for Creating a Deployment

• Create the deployment from a workstation instead of a server. This helps eliminate the need for the same computer to run the installer, read the media, and write the files. The combination of these tasks can increase the time necessary to create the deployment and can cause corruption in the deployment. Create the deployment to a shared network location from an administrative workstation.

Do not create deployments over WAN or VPN. Connections over a WAN or VPN are typically slow and can cause errors during deployment creation. The deployment creation process may not be completed successfully, or some files may end up missing or corrupt.

• Copy physical media to a hard drive. If you’re working with physical media, copying the entire contents of the product media to a local hard drive can speed up the process of creating a deployment and reduce the potential for corruption. This is even more important when you consider that some product installers copy the data from the installation media to the destination folder multiple times, thus increasing the deployment creation time by a factor of three or more. Copying the product media to a local hard drive helps ensure there are no communication errors with the disk drive and increases the speed of creating a deployment by not having to read data directly from the DVD.

• Disable antivirus software. Antivirus software often causes problems when creating deployments. Active virus scans, where every file being written and read is scanned in real time, can cause the process to take much longer. Additionally, antivirus software can block certain files from being written or can modify those files and cause corruption.

• Create a shared directory. Before creating a deployment, create a shared directory on either a workstation or a server. Keep the share name simple and short; don’t include any spaces in the share name. Don’t bury the shared directory too deeply on a drive.

• Create a separate folder for each deployment image. Creating multiple deployments in a single folder can result in corrupt client installations or other serious problems.

• Create and store deployment images on NTFS filesystems only. Filesystems such as DFS, NFS, AIX, LINUX/UNIX and others are not tested or supported by Autodesk, including filesystems found on network attached storage (NAS) devices.

• Verify that all users have full read/write access to the network share where your deployments are located.

• Use a Uniform Naming Convention (UNC) when specifying network paths instead of using mapped drive letters. For example, use \\server\share\folder instead of M:\folder. Not all computers share the same mapped drive letters and restricting yourself to UNC paths will help avoid problems later.

• Avoid modifying an existing deployment once it is has been used to install a program. Instead, create a new deployment for each modification that you make (for example, when adding profiles, service packs, etc.).

• Avoid moving deployments between servers. If you must do so, you will, at a minimum, need to modify that deployment to insert its current location into the deployment structure.

• Per Autodesk

Creating the Deployment
1. Log into your subscription account:

2. Download the products that you would like to create your deployments for.


3. The default location of the downloaded product will be c:\autodesk. Go into the folder of the product you would like to create a deployment for and choose “Setup.exe”


4. Choose “Create Deployment” from the splash startup screen.


5. Complete the Deployment name and path locations. For the path location use the Universal Naming Convention or UNC path. Choose next
For example: \\Network_Share\Autodesk\deployments\2021\autocad


6. Uncheck the “Create a network log file” box. Leaving this box checked will put a install log file on the server. The user will need write permission on the server log location. There is also an install log file created in the workstation’s Temp folder if needed. Choose next.


7. On the license Agreement page, make sure Country or Region at the top is correct. Make sure “I Accept” is chosen and click next.


8. Product information page – Choose license type. Input serial number and product key. For network license choose a license server model. Enter the license server name (you can insert an IP address for license server instead of the network name if you feel you are having DNS issues). Choose next.

9. Then choose the “Create” button.


10. After the completing the creation of the deployment, on the workstation you need to install the software. Go to the network share where you created the deployment and click on the Deployment name that you created in step #5 to start the install.



About the Author

Ken Williams

Installation Technical Support Specialist<br><br>Ken Williams has over 20 years of experience as a systems administrator helping organizations with installation, configuration, and maintenance. At IMAGINiT, Ken puts his knowledge of Microsoft, SQL, servers, and Autodesk to work ensuring clients are able to stay up-and-running, install their software easily, and maintain their solutions.

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