Unicenter Software Delivery

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2003-06-23 Print this article Print

Unicenter Software Delivery

Unicenter Software Delivery 4.0, which shipped last month and is also priced at $65 per seat, includes many of the same implementation wizards we found in Unicenter Asset Management. However, the wizards in Unicenter Software Delivery proved to be more valuable in many ways because software package distribution is an oft-repeated task that benefits from simplification.

Unicenter Software Delivery 4.0
Unicenter Software Delivery 4.0 deploys applications and operating systems across the spectrum of hardware platforms that are found in large organizations. The product provides a single platform from which to deploy software, thereby consolidating software distribution activities and likely reducing operational costs.
  • PRO: Good software packaging utilities; extensive command-line operations ease batch processing.

  • CON: Advanced operations still require extensive training to use effectively.

    IBMs Tivoli Configuration Manager • LANDesk Softwares LANDesk Management Suite • New Boundary Technologies Prism Deploy
    We were able to package common Microsoft applications, including Word and Excel, and distribute them with a minimum of fuss—an experience that was on par with our tests of tools such as LANDesk Software Ltd.s LANDesk Management Suite. We also had success using the enhanced Unix Packager and created several stand-alone software distributions that we deployed to a Sun 280R server.

    Unicenter Software Delivery excels at providing a unified platform for delivering software packages, and this is its chief advantage over the less costly and more limited single-purpose products. In the long term, we think IT managers will save substantial operational costs by consolidating software deployment processes on a single platform.

    However, our tests also showed that IT managers will need to invest upfront to get this long-term payoff. For example, it took us almost a week to master the new Reinstall After Crash feature, which allowed us to rebuild all packages on a restored system.

    Furthermore, because Unicenter Software Delivery offers sophisticated packaging options and uses a variety of distribution methods to reduce network load, IT managers will likely need to devote several experts to guide implementation of the product.

    We used Unicenter Software Deliverys command line to improve the efficiency of many deployment tasks. CA has extended the command-line capabilities to include nearly every function in the product, and many expert users of Unicenter Software Deployment will see big improvements in productivity. Using it allowed us to create batch jobs and manage the actions of target computers—management functions that were either limited or unavailable in previous versions of the product. For security reasons, CA has done away with Unicenter Software Deliverys reliance on writable network shares for communication. Our software distribution job output files were reported back via an agent/server socket connection that we modified to a port that wasnt well-known. Getting rid of writable network shares makes the product less susceptible to virus attacks.

    Two new user interface features in Unicenter Software Delivery, View Jobs Per Target and Renew Failed Targets Immediately, will likely bring welcome relief to longtime users. After starting distribution jobs in our tests, we always used the View Jobs Per Target feature to identify distribution problems.

    Renew Failed Targets let us restart jobs before the entire distribution task was completed. This is a good feature but often didnt yield a successful result in our tests because failed target machines needed some modification for a successful distribution.

    Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant is at cameron_sturdevant@ziffdavis.com.

    Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant has been with the Labs since 1997, and before that paid his IT management dues at a software publishing firm working with several Fortune 100 companies. Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility, with a focus on Android in the enterprise. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his reviews and analysis are grounded in real-world concern. Cameron is a regular speaker at Ziff-Davis Enterprise online and face-to-face events. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at csturdevant@eweek.com.

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