SMBs

Supporting (installing) financial software: My most difficult install

A financial software installation proves to be a challenging series of hurdles for support specialist Joe Rosberg. What installations or migrations have been the most difficult for you?

A financial software installation proves to be a challenging series of hurdles for support specialist Joe Rosberg. What installations or migrations have been the most difficult for you?

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Over the years, other than providing basic computer technology support, I've had little responsibility for the financial software used by the company. Of course, I'd help the bookkeeper get the initial installation process going, and I helped her set up an adequate backup system (both on-site and off-site), but otherwise, I remained pretty much out of the financial software picture. (Privacy, confidentiality, and all that stuff, I suppose.)

However, the newest version of our financial software has me jumping through more hoops than I've ever had to endure. For one thing, while all past versions of the software could be installed on a stand-alone workstation, this one is for a server installation only; it can't be installed on a domain controller, so I had to provide a dedicated server just for the application (not that I'd want to install it on my domain controller anyway), which meant we had to provide an additional computer and buy another Server OS with the appropriate CALs. It uses SQL database and Microsoft .NET Framework, neither of which are really within my area of expertise; and the software company doesn't provide a DVD for the installation, but rather makes it available by Internet download only — a total of six files (two of which are large documentation files), whose sizes total a whopping 800MB, taking a long time to download.

The four downloaded installation files had to be executed in a particular order, which is understandable, I suppose, but I'm pretty sure they could have been integrated somehow to be run in the proper order by a simple installation routine. Nonetheless, executing the first installation file generated a CRC error about 30 minutes into its installation process (something about not matching the setup's .cab file). We determined that the file became corrupted during download, so I had to download that one again (well over 100 MB and more download time). The second try was successful, but it took about 45 minutes to finish.

The second file started to install, but it stopped to inform me that I first had to install the required Microsoft .NET Framework (version 1.1). That was easy enough to find and download from Microsoft's support site, and I decided it would be a good idea to download and install the accompanying SP1 while I was at it. That was about a two-hour detour by the time it was all said and done (and installed). After running the second installation file for the second time, it finally did finish after more than an hour.

The third installation file generated the same CRC error as the first one. Of course, I had to download that one again as well. The only difference was the file size and the time it took to download — twice the size and twice the time of the first file. Oh, there was another difference — this one crashed as well! After putting in a call to the software's tech support folks, they directed me to a different FTP site from which I could download the file. The file on the initial site might have some problems, they said. (I think that might fall into the DUH! category.)

Was the third try with the third file a charm? It would have to wait until the next day. It was still downloading when I went home for the day. However, on my way home, it occurred to me that this might not be the installation files at all. While these are large files, it shouldn't take that long to download over a business-class broadband connection. Before I proceed any further, I believe some testing of my Internet connection, modem, and firewall router is in order. The new financial software is a real pain, but the download time might be another issue entirely.

Funny, I was talking about one problem, and segued right into another.

Anyway, what are some of your challenging installations?

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