Mass Deployment with the MSI Backblaze Backup Client Installer
Pushing out an application to tens or hundreds of users is a task facing many an IT professional, and there are no shortage of tools attempting to simplify, automate, and make easier the task. All of them have some similarities, in that they assume an installer of some kind. For Microsoft’s line of Windows operating systems, these solutions often assume an MSI-packaged installer, and they have some mechanism for copying the installer to supported machines and running it, either by itself or as part of a script.
The Backblaze MSI installer, when run on a user account, can determine the user’s email address from the domain’s Active Directory. The MSI installation process can then provide the authorization to install the backup client with the elevated privileges required for a backup program. This document describes the general flow of the process. As time permits, more specific instructions will be linked below.
The Administrator must have the installer and place it so that it is available for client machines to run. This varies from a publicly accessible network share to systems that copy the file to temporary space on the target system. The group identification, and the group authorization token comes from the Backblaze web GUI
The MSI installer must run as the user (as it queries Active Directory for the user’s email address). GroupID and GroupAuthorization are provided on the command line for the MSI as:
msiexec /i bz.msi BZGROUPID=<group_identifier> BZGROUPTOKEN=<group_authentication_token>
The general deployment process
Find the Backblaze group credentials
Log onto the account designated as the Backblaze administrator for the group, and get the group_identifier and the group_authentication_token. These can be found under the ‘Invite and Approve’ menu item on the left-hand menu. Click the button for ‘Advanced Instructions’ in the ‘Advanced Deployment’ section. This brings up a dialog and (for Windows) it will display a command similar to:
[install_dir]/install_backblaze -nogui -createaccount firstname.lastname@example.org password-goes-here 217134 y52d2fblps8wrv9i356djpi5ts6
The last two parameters, in italic above, are the group_identifier and group_authorization_token:
From within a mass deployment tool (generic instructions)
- Create a new deployment package or process
- Indicate where the MSI package is located (or place it in a user-readable network share, and specify the path as shown below.
- Specify the command line to execute:
msiexec /i \path_to\bzinstall.msi /l*vx! \path_to\bzinst.log BZGROUPID=217134 BZGROUPTOKEN=y52d2fblps8wrv9i356djpi5ts6
Please note: This installation sets the password to none, and the user will need to reset the password on the Backblaze site.
Please note: For the MSI installer, parameters must be in UPPER CASE on the command line. bzgroupid=217134 will cause an error.
- Ensure that the installation is configured to run as the user, and not as an administrator. If this installer runs with Administrator privileges, it will be unable to determine the correct email address from Active Directory.
Articles for specific installation tools
As KB articles for specific tools are written, links will be added in this section.