Linux agent, Management of Secondary Repositories, New Upgrades and F.A.Q’s!

by | Oct 22, 2019 | WAPT

As with many organizations, we took advantage of the calm summer to refocus ourselves on our new projects and recharge our batteries. Now that the September rush has passed, the blog is back in action! I know what you might be thinking after this introduction :

” WAPT 1.7 has been available since February and yet, still no news of the next version! Oh the heartache, oh the despair ! “

While that’s true… we are still not in the position to announce the release date of our next wapt baby (which looks very promising). Although, we have to admit that we think we put together version 1.7 very nicely, and that it should take care of you for the time being. Nevertheless, Tranquil IT decided to put together a Webinar to compensate for this longing expectation that drives you to WAPT (am I over doing it?) During this webinar, we were honest about everything : our exclusive presentation of new features, demonstrations, and we tried to answer to all your questions. We promise we didn’t hold anything back!

Don’t worry; now you have two options : You can replay (subtitles avail. in English)  the webinar on our YouTube channel, or you can read this great article; either way, brace yourselves as you’re about to read the best review of the webinar, and most likely the only one!

WAPT Self Service : Authorize your users to install software autonomously

Self Service is a game changer (the web interface even existed before version 1.3) for WAPT, although it is relatively unknown. We took advantage of the release of WAPT 1.7 to spruce it up and relaunch its career ( just like the hollywood star it is)! In the end though, what is WAPT Self Service? WAPT Self Service, it’s not just a product, it’s a guarantee! A guarantee, that you can let your users freely download software without the fear of compromising your IT security or equiptment! Convinced yet? I’ll assume yes, and say, wonderful! Now we can move onto the technical aspects of this even more simplified program!
WAPT Self Service is an ‘online store’ of software for end users of an organization! I know, nothing too impressive so far, I agree, but wait! The interested market for Self Service lies in your IT department! As an administrator you will be able to filter the software displayed in the Self Service according to the users or even services of your company (using an Active Directroy). This filteration system allows the user to be authorized to install the softwear they need, while guaranteeing the security of your fleet and the downloaded software. We have continually worked on the design of our “in-house application” to make it simple and intuitive for users. The user can therefore take advantage of the readily available software by installing, updating, or uninstalling it themselves. The WAPT packaging system provides user with all the information they may need about the software.  
Now, I don’t want to call all of your attention to the functionality! If you weren’t interested in WAPT Self Service before, I’m sure these past few lines have convinced you. In addition we have already written a well informative blog about it.

Creation of a WAPT Agent for Linux

We have arrived to our exclusive webinar announcement : the development of a WAPT agent that has evolved to fit the needs of a Linux enviornment! The new agent will be controllable in the same way as a Windows agent. Thus, you can deploy your Linux packages or control your Linux machine from the WAPT console. While we are also excited about this new feature, it is still being developped and therefore has not been released yet. Good news for you though; Tranquli IT has decided to let you decide what you think about the Linux Agent, by inviting you to participate in our Beta Test Phase of the Linux agent in WAPT! Meaning – you can contribute to the final phase of development and help us accelerate fixing some issues with bugs and compatibility.
Does the Linux WAPT agent interest you? Sign up for our Beta Test Program!

Management of your Secondary Repositories in the WAPT Console

The upcoming versions of WAPT Enterprise will also include a new tab, ‘Repositories’ which allows you to manage all of your secondary repositories. In the new tab, you will be able to set up WAPT agents to make them secondary repositories. This way you can avoid installing “Syncthing” or replacating through “Rsync”, which is not the easiest to do. This function (available for Debian Stretch and Debian Buster) allows geographically dispersed organizations to reduce bandwith. Since all Windows packages and updates will be replicated on your secondary repositories, you are able to create them for each site of your organization for example.

How are the Secondary Repositories Managed in WAPT?

To set up a WAPT agent as a secondary repository, simply install a Linux WAPT agent, then install a package and specify that the agents machine is a secondary repository. Don’t worry, we will make this type of package available to simplify your tasks. In your “repository” tab, you will be able to see the live status of each deposit. This way, you wil be able to know if the repository has synchronized or not, its progress, etc. You no longer need to create a DNS configuration or create a WAPT package by modifying the “wapt-get.ini” file to indicate into which repository the WAPT agent should go. To do this, we have developed a system similar to “Sites and Active Directory Services”, to find out the original IP address of the work station. In the “repository” tab you will also find many filters to facilitate the management of your secondary repositories : Domain, Agent IP, Public IP, Host Name and Site.

Frequently Asked Questions about WAPT

If you still have questions about WAPT (which would make me particularly sad, because that means I did not explain it well) you will find many answers to the questions that were asked in the webinar, below. If some points of WAPT still remain in question, my hope is that you will find your answer here. On the questions menu :

General Functions of WAPT

Does documentation exist for the API's of WAPT?

Not yet. We need to look over the documentation and take the time to work on it.

Is it possible to activate WAPT Exit when starting the workstation?

It is possible to launch WAPT Exit at the start of your computer, or at the start of your session. All you have to do is configure the scripts of the local GPO’s.

How do you manage priorities without having the go through dependencies, while having more levels other than, critical, normal, and low?

In this case, we recommend running it through a package that installs your WAPT packages. For the moment, it is impossible to bypass the dependencies and manage the priorities. Although, it remains an option to use the command lines like : “wapt-get install”.

Can we have more details on the recovery of windows updates and their deployment on workstations?

Despite the superb response Simon was able to provide during the live webinar; we let you discover Windows Update directly on our website. It’s true that Simon does like to talk about this subject!

Does WAPT do real push or does it contact the server every X hours?

In the console, where I click ‘verify updates’ or ‘launch installations’, I pass through a ‘WebSocket’ who stays open. Meaning I can connect myself directly to the machine, without passing through a port.I ask the machine to perform actions. By default, the agent performs actions every two hours, but it is possible to accelerate this delay by clicking directly on “Check for updates”. We use the “WebSockets” to tell the agent to do actions. It is not the server that starts the installations, it is the agent who receives the order to perform installations.

Is it possible to use a Python framework within PyScripter?

In WAPT, you can create your own libraries that you can integrate directly into your packages. We recommend directly integrating  said package to facilitate updates of packages and libraries. Overall, the ‘framework’ is created using ‘Python’ so you will be able to use it how you wish.

Is it possible to classify application shortcuts?

Yes, just use the function “create program shortcut” in the code. You will be able to create folders in the start menu, and in both folders and subfolders. In general, everything that can be done in a script can be done in the WAPT console.

Is is necessary to uninstall an application before an update?

It all depends on the application. Certain software manages the update themselves (like Firefox), so there is no need to uninstall it upfront. Although, other packages need to be uninstalled to be updated. The deinstallation of software must then be coded into the package. You can find examples here in our documentation.

Is the remote control of workstations included in the price?

Actually no. For those who have worked with us before, they are aware of a small software called “TIShelp”, which we intend to integrate into WAPT Enterprise. For the moment, it is impossible to announce a release date as we are still working on its integration. But indeed, in future versions of WAPT, you will be able to control your remote stations directly in the WAPT console.

How do you manage Windows 10 Pro updates with WAPT?

You can manage your major Windows Updates with WAPT Community, using a package in the WAPT store. There are two packages for this : the first contains the ISO and the second allows updates to be made in real time. For the rest of the Windows updates you can use the “Windows Updates” tab available in the Enterprise Version.

Using WAPT Self Service

Do I have to be an administrator to use WAPT Self Service?

With our Community version, only the members of an Active Directory group called “WAPT Self Service” can access WAPT Self Service. The administrator has access to all the packages.

Can WAPT Self Service function without an Active Directory?

Yes, we have a small alternative for this solution. You can create local groups on your machine to make it work the same way. From your WAPT console,  simply go to the “computer management” section to create groups. It will be necessary to think about putting the local users concerned in the right groups for this to work properly.

WAPT on Linux

Will repositories be available for Linux in the Community Version?

The agent for Linux will soon be available in the Community version of WAPT. The “repositories” tab, which includes synchronization and replication features, will be exclusively available for the Enterprise version of WAPT.

Are there plans to have a WAPT console for Linux?

Not immediately, but yes! We want to create a Linux version one day. In the same way we said we would create a Linux agent; and now it’s here!

Upcoming Features for WAPT

Do you plan to develop an email alert system with different triggers?

While this is something we could do, we do not plan on integrating an email system into WAPT at the moment. However, you can use the WAPT API to report errors directly to Nagios. We already have a small script that is available, that we could supply you with to preform this action. This script allows you to quickly parse WAPT to check if machines or packages are in error, and they can report the error by email.

Are you considering setting up a package delivery planner?

We have had some requests to create a function that allows you to deploy packages on a certain day or specific time, and you’ll be happy to know that this is something that is planned, but still needs some adjustments. We are still studying different methods for optimal use.

Will it be possible to validate an error and remove it from the console?

At this time it is not planned. For this case, we assume that either the package must be forgotten from the machine, or fixed. If a package is to be applied but it goes back into error, there is no reason to forget the error. It is necessary to correct the package or correct the error on the workstation otherwise the dependency will not be applied, which will create an illogical loop.

When will access rights profiles be set up with Open LDAP or an AD authentication database?

The rights profiles (ACL) are listed in our roadmap. These allow you to redefine the administration rights from the console : prohibit deletion of a package from inventory, specify the machines visable to the administrator, etc. These features should be based on the Active Directory users or their certificates, but as of now we can not announce the date when this will be available.

Is it planned to add in button that confirms the user as seen a message that was sent to them?

It is true that if the user is not present at their workstation, they will not see the message. Although it is an idea that could potentially be implimented without much difficulty. Nevertheless, it is not a priority at this time. We considered another option that would allow you to define the time to display, which would be faster to integrate into the console, but nothing is sure at the moment. Features that allow you to interact with the end users are not a priority, but they remain in our notes for future projects.

Can we make proposals for certain packages to be available on the WAPT store?

We already have an internal “Git” that allows us to host copies of packages and we plan to host it on Github. This way you can complete pull-requests to propose new packages. Although you will not be able to put the binaries directly into the packages since they are proprietary. From there you will have package shells available which you can use to exchange on the code of your packages. For the moment, it is neccessary to go through the forum, but the “Git” will allow everyone to modify Tranquil IT packages, and we will be able to verify the modifications after.

Are there any plans to add WAPT Enterprise features to the Community version?

At the moment, there are no plans to switch features from the Enterprise version of WAPT to the Community version. For the time being, there are not enough differences between the two versions.

Do you think in the future you will make reporting easier to use ( in particular with graphs)?

We have carried out some tests, in particular for a web interface, but they are not yet conclusive. However, some users utilise Grafana to fix this. Grafana is directly linked to the PostegreSQL database, which allows you to create the graphics of your choice.

Will WAPT continue to support Windows XP machines?

For the moment, WAPT still supports Windows XP, but we cannot guarantee if we are going to maintain this for the long term. The reason is simply : we will soon have to switch WAPT to python 3 and some versions of it do not support Windows XP. Therefore we cannot guarantee if we will keep this option, but we will inform the public when we reach a decision.
That concludes our updates on the evolution and future projects of WAPT!  We have been transparent with you and we hope after seeing and reading about everything WAPT no longer holds any secrets for you! We also want to use this article to explore a new format: the F.A.Q.! Feel free to pass along your excitement of our new features on any of our networks- Twitter, Linkedin, and Reddit (if you want to let us know in English!)
Simple methods for managing your fleet

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At the beginning of April 2019, the ITES (Innovation Technology European Summit) took place in Deauville. Organized by the CRIP (Club of IT Infrastructure and Production Managers) since 2013, the event brings together the various players in the IT eco-system with...

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