Altiris Gives Away Software Virtualization

Altiris releases its Software Virtualization Solution and makes a personal use version free.

In an attempt to seed the market for its brand of software virtualization, Altiris on March 23 made a personal use version of its new Software Virtualization Solution available for free.

The offering, which Altiris released to the market for general availability on March 23, was designed to streamline the software testing process and help eliminate application conflicts when updates and patches are rolled out.

Although the virtualization software is intended to help enterprises reduce support costs and simplify desktop administration by making desktop application deployment faster and easier, Altiris believes free access to personal use of the tool will prove the tools value to a wide range of users.

"Application virtualization is new, so we have to get people aware of it. Were trying to get people to understand the technology and get used to it so that we can create a groundswell for the technology and how its used," said Christine Ewing, marketing segment manager at Altiris in Lindon, Utah.

The Software Virtualization Solution is unique in its ability to abstract the installation of the applications files and registry settings.

That allows the application to be installed and run without changing the Windows operating system, and it prevents conflicts with other applications.

The corporate version of the software provides centralized management, fast application provisioning from a central console, integration with Altiris help desk offering, and gives administrators the ability to reset an application.

"So with our virtual software package, all changes that happen to a particular application after its been applied to a system are trapped in a separate area, and the help desk can reset it to a pristine condition instantaneously," said Ewing. That reduces labor intensive troubleshooting, she added.

Whether the free personal use will translate into increased sales of the enterprise version remains to be seen.

"On one hand, theyll get people to try the technology. The IT architect or manager whos kind of curious can download and play with it on one machine," said David Friedlander, senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass.

"At the same time for larger enterprise customers who will take a very measured approach to looking at this technology, it wont make a difference, although it might help get them onto an RFP," he added.

/zimages/5/28571.gifTo read more about Altiris Software Virtualization Solution, click here.

The personal use license is available for download from and

In separate news on March 20, Altiris will contribute to the convergence of security management and system administration when it introduces the integration of new vulnerability assessment and compliance technology into its base systems management architecture.

Altiris is taking two offerings it acquired last year with vulnerability management provider Pedestal Software and integrating them into its configuration management software.

The Altiris AuditExpress tool, which can find common system vulnerabilities and prioritize remediation, has been integrated with the Altiris configuration management database.

That allows security assessment data to be shared by other Altiris administration tasks to make assessment and remediation more efficient.

Altiris AuditExpress assesses systems for seven common vulnerability issues, such as "unauthorized software, unauthorized hardware, a configuration problem like having a guest account enabled, whether a personal firewall is enabled on a mobile system and other big hits to security," Ewing said.

The integration will enable users to deploy the security management software from a centralized management console, manage groups based on AuditExpress or Altiris architecture machine lists from a central console and automate the creation of help desk tickets based on assessment findings.

AuditExpress supplements the existing Altiris vulnerability scanning tool.

The other Pedestal Software tool, dubbed Altiris SecurityExpressions, was enhanced with 35 new pre-built security policy files to speed assessment of Windows and Unix user and group security settings.

The tool helps users define and enforce compliance with government regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley Act as well as payment card industry security standards.

Altiris also plans to integrate SecurityExpressions with its systems management tool. "We will release more components and tighter integration," said Ewing, who did not give a time frame for the integration.

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