LANDesk 6.62 a Top-Notch Tool

Operating system deployment suite is agnostic about image source.

LANDesk 6.62 is among the first desktop management systems to be agnostic about operating system image source files, using its own or competitors images to prepare PCs for deployment.

This is the first edition of the suite released by LANDesk Software Inc., a recent Intel Corp. spinoff, and eWEEK Labs tests showed Version 6.62 contains all the operating system deployment necessities—responsive remote control, adequate hardware and software inventory, and capable software distribution.

In addition, LANDesk, which shipped last month, is at the head of the management pack because it supports a variety of desktop systems that are likely to be found in large organizations including Windows, Linux and Mac OS-based systems.

However, like competitors including Novell Inc.s ZENworks for Desktops and Microsoft Corp.s Systems Management Server, LANDesk 6.62 requires time and commitment to attain the payback of increased IT support staff productivity.

Based on tests of this and previous versions of LANDesk, along with rival products, we advise IT managers to allocate a minimum of several weeks—and potentially, several months—to planning and pilot testing before putting this or any other desktop management product onto a production system.

Like its competitors, LANDesk works best when used consistently throughout the life cycle of a desktop system. For example, our tests consistently showed we were more likely to get accurate inventory data and successful results from software distribution jobs on machines that we imaged in our test "depot," rather than machines that were already "in the field." We therefore strongly encourage IT managers to develop plans that focus on new systems first.

LANDesk 6.62 ships with LANDesks OSD (Operating System Deployment) module and is competitively priced at $75 per managed desktop. Unlike rival products from Novell and Microsoft, however, mobile device management software is not included in this price. We think the next big step for LANDesk will be to build in mobile device support.