Marimba Inc. on Monday will pick up the automation drumbeat being pounded out by management software rivals Tivoli Systems Inc. and others when it rolls out the latest release of its Desktop/Mobile Management product line.
New scheduling functions in version 5.0 of the Marimba suite along with streamlined deployment are intended to extend Marimbas lead in reducing the amount of time required to deploy the product and the number of operators required to administer the toolset.
"Most paybacks are between eight months to a year and require 50 to 75 percent fewer administrators to run our product," said Kia Behnia, vice president of marketing at Marimba in Mountain View, Calif. "Weve given CIOs the ability to re-deploy some of their administrators to other projects."
But some observers are skeptical of such claims. "I want to see the underlying data that says that," said Ken Smiley, research director at Giga Information Group in Kansas City, Mo. "They had interesting numbers on their slide, but I havent heard that from my clients. Vendor after vendor creates these ROI formulas that arent an accurate depiction of the market."
The new scheduling option provides better control over software installation, repair and removal procedures and allows IT to create and enforce policies that control the timing of an automated content or application distribution and activation.
Such control is intended primarily for pharmaceutical firms, insurance companies and telecommunications providers. "If a new medication is approved by the feds and a pharmaceutical company wants to sell it after the approval date, they might need to have the new drug on the price list for their sales force by Monday at 8 am. With this, they can start the week before and then have the client activate the changes on a given schedule to reach all their mobile reps with the new price list regardless of whether they are online or on a client site," said Behnia.
The new release also provides tighter integration with the suites remote control component, allowing an administrator to view a report, drill down on details and take control of a remote PC all within the same interface.
The new release also adds a new web-based central management portal that allows customers to configure and customize the suite from a single point. The portal includes built-in templates to streamline the process. The management portal includes built-in reports that correlate application deployment logs with inventory information, allowing administrators to more quickly determine why a particular distribution failed. The new release, due in May, supports Windows NT, Windows 2000/XP, HP-UX, Sun Microsystems Solaris, Linux, and IBMs AIX.