With an eye toward the growing number of migrations to Windows 2000, two desktop administration software providers announced new or enhanced tools designed to streamline the process.
On Technology Corp., of Waltham, Mass., last week unveiled its Site Manager, which bridges the gap between simple imaging tools and more complex software distribution systems such as Microsoft Corp.s Systems Management Server. Meanwhile, an On Technology rival, Connected Corp., of Natick, Mass., released Version 6.0 of its TLM (Total Lifecycle Management) desktop administration suite. The suite provides backup/retrieve, PC migration, system heal and remote assist capabilities as well as auditing and asset discovery.
Although market researchers say they project that most large migrations will take place this year, customers working with these vendors tools said they are not seeing it.
"I think theyre going to see a very slow, but rising, sales curve," said early Site Manager user Dee Brockbank, vice president of engineering at TIC Business Consultants Ltd., in Chelsea, Mass.
"I dont know if it will be this year or early next year. It depends on the business environment, I imagine," said Connected TLM user Mark OMalley, senior project and implementations manager at Concert Global Networks USA Inc., the joint subsidiary of AT&T Corp. and British Telecommunications plc., in Atlanta.
Site Manager is designed to be fast and easy to use and still provide full life cycle management of desktop software by allowing updates and changes to be tracked in a central database, On Technology officials said. In place of scripting, the tool uses wizards to grab software images to be deployed to remote desktops.
TICs Brockbank said On Technology leveraged imaging technology in a flexible way that offers administrators greater freedom in what they can deploy and where.
"The cool thing about Site Manager is that you can create a very limited base image—the OS [operating system] and then the office suite you are using—then you can layer applications on top of that," she said.
Connecteds latest TLM release focuses on adding the ability to migrate an individual PCs personality to a new operating system and new hardware. The function is provided through an OEM relationship the company struck with Tranxition Corp., of Beaverton, Ore.
Despite the spotty migrations to Windows 2000, International Data Corp. estimates that 66 percent of large enterprises will take the plunge in the next six months. "I grant you this [spending] slowdown is continuing, but companies are still trying to manage the next wave of technology, and Windows 2000 is it," said Fred Broussard, an analyst at IDC, in Framingham, Mass.
Both vendors offerings are available now.