Enterprise Deployment resources for Silverlight

Most of the examples here for Silverlight media have been focused on consumer content, and that's been the bulk of our broader marketing story so far. But we are Microsoft, and so enterprise is a huge portion of our bread and butter, and we want to see Silverlight be as successful inside enterprises as it's becoming in the consumer world.

Silverlight has a lot to offer the enterprise. Among the usual Silverlight scenarios, we've seen growing interest in using Silverlight for doing corporate training, since it offers such rich mechanisms to mix video and audio with quizzes and other content.

I've had a bunch of questions about how we're going to support Silverlight deployment in the enterprise. My colleague Tim Sneath has had a couple of great blog posts I want to crib from. In particular, don't miss the link to the Silverlight Enterprise Deployment Guide.

Deploying Silverlight in the Enterprise

As more and more Silverlight sites become available, enterprise administrators are starting to ask for guidance on how Silverlight should be deployed in a corporate environment. Obviously, at one level it's as straightforward as executing the installer, but there are typically a whole ton of questions that need answering:

  • What files and registry keys does Silverlight install?
  • Will Silverlight break any existing applications?
  • What are the command-line switches to configure installation?
  • How do I deploy Silverlight through SMS or System Center?
  • How is Silverlight serviced and updated?
  • How do you configure Silverlight settings via Group Policy?

Fortunately, one of my colleagues, David Tesar has kindly come to the rescue and written a very comprehensive white paper that answers all these questions plus many more. The Silverlight Enterprise Deployment Guide is available for download now. We gave the white paper a trial run ourselves when Microsoft IT used SMS to deploy Silverlight internally. Download it and send it to your systems administrator today - it's worth their time to read.

Making Silverlight Easier for Systems Administrators to Install

...we've made a few changes to the installation process to enable systems administrators to deploy Silverlight into enterprise environments more easily.
...Silverlight is available as an optional update for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 via the Windows Server Update Services tool (and, inevitably, Microsoft Update, since WSUS relies on Microsoft Update as its source for updates).

Many customers have requested help with deploying Silverlight internally, and this change will hopefully be welcomed by enterprises who want to distribute Silverlight within their organizations using their established management tools. By adding it as an optional update, enterprises can control the roll-out of Silverlight within their organizations and schedule its installation as a background task so that the perceptible impact is minimal, and ensure that end-users can view Silverlight content without requiring administrative rights to install the plug-in.

I'm really glad this is now available: the need for administrator rights to install a web plug-in is not unique to Silverlight, of course, but it's been raised a number of times as a potential blocker to enterprise adoption. Having this available will solve that problem and make it far easier for enterprise administrators to control deployment of Silverlight to their users.

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