In this overview we answer the two questions
"What is ANI?" and
"Why ANI?". This site is also available in German.
A more in-depth description of the concepts behind ANI can be found
( PDF, 358 KB, german).
A - What is ANI?
ANI installs Microsoft Windows (NT4/W2K/XP) on new and older computers with varying hardware. The software is best suited for middle and big sized companies, which can minimize through ANI their work on installation and maintenance of their Windows computers.
First, the files of the Windows-CD are put on a prepared server which can be reached over the network. Then, the computer to be installed is booted with an floppy-disk or CD-Rom inserted. The software on the disk copies the files from the server to the computer and finishes the rest of the installation. In this procedure, the user only has to enter the future name of the computer and to remove the disk - the rest of the installation works without user-interaction. In the next approximately 20 minutes, the computer does the following:
- It installs the desired operating system
- After the reboot at the end of the installation the machine ist ready for use. The user can login with an existing username and start to work at the computer right away.
- It installs the required software
- To the end of the installation, prepared software on the server - like MS Office, Acrobat Reader etc. - is installed automatically on the new operating system. The files for installation of those programs can be prepared, so that no further user interaction is needed during the installation.
- It joins the Windows-domain
- In order to participate in a Windows network, a trust has to be established between the computer and the server, i.e. the computer has to be taken into the domain by the server. ANI performs this step automatically during installation; the presence of an administrator is not needed anymore.
- It creates a hidden maintenance and mirror partition
- The maintenance partition allows at a later moment a remotely-triggered re-installation of the computer without any disk inserted. Re-installations, rollout or migrations can be centrally managed.
The mirror partition contains the installation sources. Thus only those files which have changed in the meantime get copied from the server. This reduces network traffic and accelerates the installation procedure.
- It sends an email with the outcome of the installation
- At the end of a successfull installation, but also if something has failed, an email with the outcome is sent to a configurable address. This allows a central survey of all the performed installations and eases the process of finding and fixing possible errors.
B - Why ANI?
- open source
- The source code of ANI may be viewed and changed. Thus ANI remains extendable for all future purposes.
- ANI offers nearly every freedom in respect to existing environments. The SMB protocol is supported as well as NFS. Even the choice of a domain model is free.
- ANI is completely dynamic and self-contained. Thus, no manual reconfiguration or any user interaction is needed.
- ANI is very low-maintenance. The only installation environment may be centrally maintained. The installation media is almost free of any maintenance.