Deployment of the Connector for Microsoft Outlook plug-in to each user desktop requires three distinct tasks:
Installation. The necessary and appropriate software must be physically installed to the Outlook user's desktop. Software installation requires access privileges that often are disallowed to many or most end users. In this case, most enterprises implement a “push” method for software distribution from the system administrator to user desktops that bypasses the requirement for user access privileges. (This “push” method of distribution is explained in more detail in “Desktop Installation Methods.”) If your network serves “locked-down” Windows environments where end users cannot install software, we strongly recommend this sort of automated configuration management as a way to avoid many individual desktop visits.
Configuration. Connector for Microsoft Outlook is installed with an assortment of configuration parameters including the server names and port numbers, user password options, directory search defaults, the log file path, and so forth. While users or administrators can manually configure these settings within Outlook at each desktop, it is far more efficient for administrators to pre-configure these for groups of users and avoid desktop visits.
Conversion. The desktop setup wizard can convert Exchange users’ Contacts, Journal, and Notes data to local (desktop) Personal Folders (.pst) files. Any such existing personal data files associated with Microsoft Exchange and Outlook must be converted to be compatible with the plug-in. (This task does not apply to new email users who were not previously working with Microsoft Exchange.) If a user has password-protected his or her data files, these conversions will require the password associated with the protected files. The conversion function is processor-intensive and may run on the user's computer for many minutes or even hours if a user has large amounts of data to convert. For this reason the conversion utility lets a user defer the conversion of larger files to a later time, such as during a lunch break or even overnight.
The Deployment Configuration Program lets a system administrator create installation packages that will automate some or all of these tasks for end users, depending on the administrator's deployment strategy for any particular group of users.