Management tool gets approval

US company Altiris is claiming to have a potent weapon for reducing the cost of client and server system management. And its tool suite gets a ringing endorsement from local customer AC Nielsen, which has been using the software for three years.

US company Altiris is claiming to have a potent weapon for reducing the cost of client and server system management. And its tool suite gets a ringing endorsement from local customer AC Nielsen, which has been using the software for three years.

“We find it great,” says Auckland-based AC Nielsen IT head Sacha Ball. One of the software’s immediate benefits was to carve hours — from half a day to about 30 minutes — off the time taken to ready new PCs for deployment.

But Altiris’ functionality extends beyond system deployment. Asset management is another of its features, which Ball says will allow AC Nielsen to see if it can be making savings on software licensing.

“It means we’ll have a perfect hold on exactly what software we’re using and the licences we’re paying for.”

The company is using the software to manage about 470 PCs in Auckland, about 50, remotely, in Wellington and is looking to use it in Australia.

Altiris is about three years old and sprang from a testing organisation, Key Labs, in Utah. According to Sydney-based regional head Geoff Masters (pictured left), Key Labs wrote the tool that became Altiris to enable it to quickly deploy software for testing across its large network of PCs.

The company has since acquired a business in Australia, Computing Edge, which has provided it with a 50-person R&D team. That team has completed a new version of the software, Altiris 6, available this month.

Simon Higgins (pictured right), regional marketing head, says it’s the result of 18 months’ work. The new release improves the product’s web-based management console, Higgins says, enabling, for example, levels of access to be set according to role.

Altiris quotes Gartner as saying tools such as its cut the cost of system management over the lifetime of a PC — put at $US4000 per desktop — by more than a third. It has alliances with hardware vendors Hewlett-Packard and Dell to sell the software.

Masters says the acquisition by HP this month of Novadigm, which sells a similar suite to Altiris, will have no effect on their relationship.

“Novadigm’s is a much bigger product,” Masters says, adding that it’s in use at Telstra, which has a fleet of 65,000 desktops.

“If anything, the acquisition focuses attention on how important this space is.”

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More about Altiris AustraliaDellGartnerHewlett-Packard AustraliaHPNielsenNovadigmTelstra Corporation

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