Overview of the installation process
Overview of the installation process
This article describes the basic steps to install Nexthink in a corporate network. The current article includes pointers to other articles in the Installation and Configuration manual that explain each step in detail. Accordingly, the Installation and Configuration manual is largely organized to follow the sequence of steps presented in this article. However, because a particular installation of Nexthink depends on multiple factors, such as the number of licensed devices, the network infrastructure, the connectivity of the Appliances, etc., the exact procedure may vary from one customer to another. For example, the order of the steps changes when installing Nexthink for a proof of concept (POC).
For guaranteed satisfaction, contact Customer Success Services to help you install and deploy Nexthink throughout your organization. The intervention of Customer Success Services may be required in the case of installations with particular needs.
From a high-level view, the installation of Nexthink follows these steps:
- Installing the Appliances.
- Installing and deploying the Collectors.
- Optional: Installing the Mobile Bridge.
- Installing the Finder.
Once explained how to install Nexthink, the article ends with a couple of pointers to the most common configuration and maintenance activities that come after the installation procedure.
Installing the Appliances
The server components of Nexthink are the following:
- The Portal.
- The Engine.
- The Web Console.
A Nexthink Appliance is a virtual or physical machine that holds an instance of either the Portal or the Engine, as well as an instace of the Web Console.
The Portal and Engine components obey a master/slave architecture, with the Portal being the master component and one or more Engines being the slaves. A typical installation of Nexthink is thus made up of one or several Engine Appliances that connect to a single Portal Appliance. For small setups, it is possible to host the Portal and one Engine in a single appliance.
The Web Console is a helper component that is installed on every Nexthink Appliance, alongside the Portal or the Engine. The purpose of the Web Console is to help you manage your Appliances and configure the specific settings of the Portal and the Engine, as well as globally controlling some features of the Finder.
Although Nexthink Appliances are typically installed on premises, images for both Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are available to install Nexthink on the cloud. Refer to the appropriate specialized articles to install your Nexthink Appliances on the computation nodes supplied by your favorite cloud provider.
To install the Nexthink Appliances:
- Review the hardware and connectivity requirements for both the master and slave Appliances.
- The hardware requirements of each Appliance depend mainly on the number of devices that they must support and on the activated optional features.
- The connectivity requirements are the same for all Appliances of the same type (master or slave).
- Select a reference architecture.
- Base your setup on one of the reference archictectures proposed, depending on the size and characteristics of the IT infrastructure in your organization.
- Install the Appliances.
- Get the network parameters (IP address and subnet) for each Appliance ready, including the proxy settings (if using a proxy to connect your Appliances to the Internet).
- Install one Portal and all the required Engines. Prefer an online installation whenever possible.
- Add more Engines later, as needed, if your requirements grow.
- Log in to the Web Console of each Appliance for the first time and configure its accounts.
- Set the names of the Portal and Engine Appliances from the Web Console. These are the FQDN names that will be registered by the DNS and in the digital certificates that secure the communication with the Appliances.
- Federate the installed Appliances.
- The federation establishes the master/slave dependence of Portal and Engines and creates a public key infrastructure (PKI) that later serves to secure the communication with the Collectors.
- Connect the master Appliance to the slave Appliances.
- Once federated, connect the Portal to the Engines to collect their data daily.
- Request and install a license.
- To enable the product, request a license, install it from the Portal and distribute the licensed devices among the connected Engines.
As a best practice, repeat the previous procedure to install the Nexhtink Appliances for test, QA and production environments.
Installing and deploying the Collectors
The Collector is the light-weight Nexthink component that gathers hardware, software and activity data from the devices within your organization. The Collector also enables the engagement of the end-user through feedback retrieval as well as remotely acting on the device when required. As such, deploy the Collector to all corporate devices that run a supported version of either Microsoft Windows or Apple macOS operating systems.
Instructions on enterprise deployment of the Collector are given for Microsoft SCCM, Active Directory Group Policy (GPO), and VMWare Airwatch. These tools are only required for the initial installation, as subsequent upgrades can be automatically managed by the product when Nexthink makes them available.
Assigning Collectors to Engines
Starting from V6.19, the rule-based Collector assignment feature greatly simplifies the deployment of Windows Collectors in multi-Engine environments:
- Generate a single Collector installer that points to the Portal instead of multiple installers that point to a different Engine each.
- Write a set of rules to assign a different Engine to each group of Collectors and let the Portal manage the assignment process.
These rules also replace the conventional method of assigning Collectors, either Windows or Mac, to entities, which constitute the basis of your hierarchies (see the next steps below).
Installing the Mobile Bridge
To incorporate information about corporate mobile devices into Nexthink, install the Mobile Bridge.
The Mobile Bridge requires a supported Windows Server and it collects synchronization and status information of mobile devices that connect to your corporate Exchange Server through the ActiveSync protocol.
Installing the Finder
The Finder is a rich-client Windows application that lets you query the Engine in real-time and visualize the results either as lists of records or through convenient graphical views. The Finder is also the tool that enables the creation of metrics, which are displayed as widgets in the dashboards of the Portal.
The easiest method for each Nexthink user to install the Finder on a Windows device is by downloading the Finder installer from the Portal.
Once the installation of Nexthink is complete, these are the most common activities that usually follow:
- Replacing the certificates.
- Replace the default self-signed certificates that the server components of Nexthink use to identify themselves and, optionally, the certificates generated by the federation to secure the communication with the Collectors. Substitute them for certificates signed by either a public or an in-house CA.
- Define a hierarchy.
- Organize your corporate infrastructure into levels and domains to delimit the view of the different user groups over it.
- Adding more users
- Because working with a single admin account is neither secure nor convenient, create the accounts required for other users to log in to Nexthink. Define profiles and roles to assign different responsibilities and separate groups of users.
- Backup procedures.
- Prepare your Appliances for recovery in case of disaster.
To get the most out of your Nexthink setup, browse the rest of topics in the Installation and Configuration manual. Find other configuration settings and customization procedures to help you adapt Nexthink to your specific needs.
- Installing the Appliance
- Installing the Appliance on Azure
- Installing the Appliance on Amazon
- Managing Appliance accounts
- Setting the names of the Portal
- Setting the names of the Engines
- Federating your Appliances
- Connecting the Portal to the Engines
- Setting up a software license
- Installing the Collector on Windows
- Assigning Collectors to Engines
- Installing the Collector on macOS
- Installing the Collector for a POC
- Updating the Collector
- Installing the Mobile Bridge
- Installing the Finder
- Importing and replacing certificates
- Hierarchizing your infrastructure
- Adding users
- Planning for disaster recovery