Upgrade Aids In Managing Desktops

Altiris this week at Comdex introduced an upgrade of its Client Management Suite that provides full desktop lifecycle management.

Altiris Inc., the little desktop deployment company that could, crested the full desktop lifecycle management hill with the latest release of its Client Management Suite.

At Comdex this week, the Lindon, Utah, company introduced the Altiris Client Management Suite Version 5.5. It is the first full integration of its existing desktop deployment technology with inventory capabilities acquired with Computing Edge about a year ago and the Carbon Copy remote control technology it acquired from Compaq Computer Corp.

Version 5.5 pulls together a variety capabilities including client software deployment and migration, inventory tracking and reporting on hardware and software, application metering to track usage, policy-based software distribution, and remote control.

The suite, which uses a single database shared across all functions, allows all the features to be accessed from a Web browser. Altiris still, however, uses its existing 32-bit Windows-based console for software deployment.

Altiris, which has seen a string of better-than-expected quarterly results, also extended the functions in the suite to devices that use the Pocket PC operating system, such as the Compaq iPAQ. The Pocket PC devices can be managed from a central console.

Altiris Client Management Suite 5.5 also allows applications to be pushed out from a central server to mid-tier servers in regional offices, where desktop deployments can then be performed. The two-stage deployment option reduces bandwidth usage on slow-speed lines, and allows distributions to take place at remote offices without IT personnel onsite.

The integrated suite, due by mid-December, is priced at $69 per node for a 10 node license. With 2,000 nodes, the price is $60 per node.

Although the integration puts the small Altiris in competition with established players such as Intel Corp. with its LANDesk product and Novell Inc. with Zenworks, Altiris Client Management Suites simplicity and lower price point can get Altiris "a foot in the door," believes Fred Broussard, analyst at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass.

"Part of whats happening now is that its easier for IT managers to justify budgets at a smaller level. For less than $10,000, its easier to get a product in (without getting approval from the chief financial officer)," said Broussard.