To the test We installed deployment Solution 6.5 twice: first in stand-alone mode and then incorporating Altiris Notification Server (available separately). Notification Server facilitated the multiple Deployment Solution 6.5 servers we installed to test scalability.In one round of tests, we cloned new Windows Server 2003 servers on the ESX Server host. After installing the Altiris client, which is required on all managed nodes, we were able to run a variety of scripted jobs that were shipped with Deployment Solution 6.5. The sample jobs allowed us to start, stop and suspend both individual VMs and groups of them. Deployment Solution 6.5 for Clients is similar in almost every regard to the server version. The same Windows- and Web-based consoles are available, and both products can be centrally controlled and generate reports in Notification Server. New in this version of Deployment Solution is integration of Altiris Wise Package Studio, designed to support custom application packaging. For organizations that have significant numbers of custom applications that lack .msi format installation capabilities, the Wise Package Studio technology is a nice addition. We used Wise Package Studio to create a custom installation of the latest version of WinZip International LLCs WinZip compression utility and then deployed WinZip to our Windows XP desktop systems. We used Deployment Solution 6.5s new digital signature feature to ensure secure communication between the clients and the server. Although this might be overkill for most organizations, security-conscious enterprises will likely find the digital signature authentication to be a compelling reason to evaluate Deployment Solution 6.5. When looking at Deployment Solution 6.5, or any other server and client deployment solution for that matter, it is essential for IT managers to identify exactly what functions the product must perform. This is because Deployment Solution 6.5 and all its competitors offer slightly different additional features. For example, Deployment Solution 6.5 offers remote control, and when used in conjunction with Notification Server and the appropriate support license, the product also performs patch management. Given the relatively low license cost and potentially large time savings, Deployment Solution 6.5, with its bonuses such as remote control, will likely be a boon to strapped IT groups. Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.
In an interesting recursive twist, we tested the new ESX Server capabilities by first installing Deployment Solution 6.5 on a VM running Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition that was hosted on a dual-processor system running ESX Server.