Offline installation of Zoo components

Sometimes you may need to install Helicon Zoo components on a machine that is not connected to the Internet. In this article we will show how to prepare offline installation packages for Zoo products and engines that you can use to install these components without Internet access. This could be also useful when you need to clone exact environment across different instances in the cloud, or when you need to save current state and version of installation package to reuse it for future installations.


Creating offline hosting package

In Zoo infrastructure the most convenient way to prepare the server to host some application is to install appropriate technology Hosting Package from Zoo –> Packages on it. These hosting packages include everything needed to run an application of particular type on a previously clean system. And all these packages can be installed offline using Web Platform Installer command line tool called WebpiCmd.exe. You can find official webpicmd.exe syntax reference here: http://www.iis.net/learn/install/web-platform-installer/web-platform-installer-v4-command-line-webpicmdexe-rtw-release

To install Hosting Package on a machine without Internet access you will first need to create an offline installation package. And you will first need a workstation that is connected to the Internet to do this. Let’s call it internet-enabled machine. So install Microsoft Web Platform Installer on the internet-enabled machine. Then run Windows Command Prompt as Administrator – right click on Start –> Accessories –> Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

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Running Command Prompt as administrator is needed to avoid need of opening new window on every WebpiCmd.exe command, so you can see the command output. If webpicmd.exe file is not in your Path, you can find it by navigating to

cd "C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Web Platform Installer"

Assume we need to install Redmine on the internet-disabled machine. This means we need to create offline installation for Ruby Hosting Package first. To install a product using WebpiCmd.exe you need to know it’s internal name. We can use /List mode to list all products and applications available with their internal names. It is better to save output into products.txt file because the list is long and may be truncated in the Command Prompt window. So run this command:

webpicmd.exe /List /ListOption:All /Feeds:http://www.helicontech.com/zoo/feed.xml > products.txt

Here is a list of all Hosting Packages with their internal names currently available for your convenience:

CFMLHostingPackage     CFML Hosting Package
JavaHostingPackage     Java Hosting Package
RubyHostingPackage     Ruby Hosting Package
NodejsHostingPackage   Node.js Hosting Package
PerlHostingPackage     Perl Hosting Package
PHPHostingPackage      PHP Hosting Package
PythonHostingPackage   Python Hosting Package

Please run the following command to create offline copy of Ruby Hosting Package product and all it’s possible dependencies:

WebpiCmd.exe /offline /Products:RubyHostingPackage /Path:C:\offline-package /Feeds:http://www.helicontech.com/zoo/feed.xml

This command will create a copy of al feeds, installation packages and other dependencies that may be required to install Ruby Hosting Package on another machine in the C:\offline-package folder. The /Products:RubyHostingPackage key is a comma separated list of products you are saving for offline usage. Notice C:\offline-package\bin folder – there you may find a copy of WebpiCmd.exe you will be using to install products on the internet-disabled system. Please copy content of the C:\offline-package folder to the internet-disabled machine, navigate to the C:\offline-package\bin folder and run following command to install products:

WebpiCmd.exe /install /Products:RubyHostingPackage /XML:C:\offline-package\feeds\latest\webproductlist.xml /Feeds:C:\offline-package\feeds\latest\supplementalfeeds\feed.xml /AcceptEula

This will install Ruby Hosting Package without internet access required.

Warning: Same technique will work for any other Hosting Package except Java Hosting Package. Because Oracle currently prohibit inclusion of JDK into any other packages or feeds we cannot include JDK directly into feed. You will need to download JDK 7 from Oracle web site separately and install it on internet-disabled machine. Once installed Helicon Zoo will recognize it’s installation and you can install Java Hosting Package then without internet access, all other components will be installed successfully.

Installing application

The hosting package is installed and server is ready to host the application. Please don’t try to create offline installation package of the application, such as Redmine or Python project template – this will not work because most of applications, like Redmine, will require internet access to install gems or some other components anyway. Instead of creating offline installation package for the application you will need to install needed application on the internet-enabled machine first. Please follow the instruction for specific application to install it. For example you can find detailed Redmine installation instruction here. Make sure to use Helicon Zoo Web Console or Helicon Zoo Manager Start IDE function to run console and IDE for applications so all components and dependencies (like gems, modules, etc.) will be installed in the application’s web site folder. Some technologies, like Java, will pack dependencies into the application folder by default. Some other needs additional means, like running web console, etc. While Helicon Zoo provides all needed tools to develop self-contained applications, it is up to developer to maintain application portability and pack all dependencies inside, which may require some sort of development discipline.

After you installed application on the internet-enabled machine make sure it is working as expected. If application needs additional configuration, configure it. Then, if you configured application following Helicon Zoo best practice, you can simply copy the application’s web site folder to another machine with required Hosting Package installed following normal deployment process and it will work. No internet access should be required for this operation again.

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