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Introduction to Reference Configurations
Technical Articles ID:   KB88274
Last Modified:  9/16/2019


Multiple McAfee products


This article is an introduction to reference configuration documents, and it also answers frequently asked questions. McAfee strongly recommends that you review this article before following any of the reference configurations. This review ensures a smooth transition during product upgrade procedures or new installation sequencing.

Reference configurations are McAfee-recommended deployment scenarios. They have undergone extensive testing to ensure proper sequencing and improve ease of execution. Each reference configuration document contains a product mix that has been validated to work together properly for a specific type of customer profile. If a specific product set is missing from this list, that does not mean that there are compatibility issues--it just means that configuration has not yet been tested. Reference configuration documents are updated regularly as new product versions are released. 

Click here for a list of all reference configuration documents.
Reference configuration documents include tables that list the specific product versions that were exercised in parallel. They show the specific deployment order to install or upgrade products in your environment. There are two kinds of documents, aimed at customers in different kinds of environments:  
  • Early adopter customers who might be seeking to deploy the latest Window release and are creating a gold image for deployment. For these customers, the report describes a fresh install sequence. Early adopters could be new McAfee customers who are in the preliminary or early stages of deploying McAfee products. Existing customers who want to remove all currently installed products and start with a fresh deployment scenario can also use the fresh installation reference configurations.
  • Customers who already have McAfee product deployments that will remain on the system and be replaced by a sequence of upgrades to newer product versions. These reports might not precisely match your exact environment. But, the hope is that a reference configuration is close to your current deployment state and will be useful to you in your upgrade scenario.

Frequently Asked Questions
How did McAfee create the reference configurations?
The reference configuration documents were created using extensive telemetry. The telemetry was gathered from current customer deployments to represent a set of products that are common within our current customer set. Using the most common product versions as a baseline, McAfee engineers analyzed what product deployments are tried by our customers to identify common system upgrade scenarios. The documents provide:
  • Guidance on recommended upgrade paths to successfully deploy those new products
  • Suggestions on product checkpoints to confirm proper deployment of those products
  • Known issues that customers might encounter and how to address them 
Reference configurations provide an upgrade path, or new installation path, to help customers with proper sequencing of product deployments.

Who should use reference configurations?
The audience is assumed to be an administrator in your environment. This person is assumed to have ePO administrative ability and knowledge to manage the product set needed by your company. This assumption also applies to new customers who are preparing to deploy multiple products offered by McAfee and need a reference for the proper sequencing when they perform those deployments. 

What if I have a different product mix?
Not all McAfee products are included in the documents. Reference configurations represent products that are commonly used but do not cover all customers. Other products are being tested and new reference configurations will be released over time as integration testing continues. If your product mix is a subset of a configuration, you can skip over any product deployment that does not apply to your needs. If you have other products not included in the list, have questions about how to deploy those products, or have questions about how to use the reference configurations, contact Technical Support.

What if my currently installed product mix is older than versions listed in the reference configuration?
McAfee implemented major code changes in products such as VirusScan Enterprise and McAfee Agent. Those code changes, coupled with the large number of products in the McAfee portfolio, make it hard to provide an upgrade path for every version that customers might currently use. If you use older versions and have not upgraded in more than a year, McAfee strongly recommends that you uninstall the existing products. Restart the system to begin with a clean environment, and then follow the reference configuration using the recommended product versions.

Do I need to plan for restarts (reboots) during the upgrades?
Yes. Some operating system driver modules installed during product upgrades are loaded into memory at runtime. A restart is required to load the new drivers. Further, operating system limitations require that only one version of these drivers be loaded at a time. These drivers are shared across multiple McAfee products. As new driver versions are incorporated into different products, the specific driver version changes over time. Depending on which products you install, it could require multiple restarts. Consider a system with driver version 1 currently loaded. If product X installs driver version 2, and then product Y installs driver version 3, two restarts would be required. But, the drivers are backwards compatible. So, if the client system is upgraded by deploying product Y first, only one restart would be required. The reference configuration documents have been optimized to minimize the number of restarts required.

Are there any known issues to be aware of before I follow the upgrade path?
Yes. McAfee strongly recommends that you review the known issues articles for each upgraded or installed version in a reference configuration. For your convenience, these articles are linked from the reference configuration documents. You can also access the release notes for the versions from the known issues articles. Reviewing and becoming familiar with the known issues before product deployment increases the overall success rate of the deployments. It will also help the administrator understand issues that might occur after a successful deployment.

What do I do if I have a problem after following reference configuration sequence?
Contact Technical Support and open a new service request. 


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