Article

Three new suites enhance SMS functions

Meredith B. Derby, assistant news editor

Altiris Inc. announced three new product suites that promise to simplify network management in three key ways. The new suites will appeal to companies that run Unix, have mobile workers and want an integrated help desk, all in conjunction with Systems Management Server.

Mobile Client for SMS allows remote or mobile administrators to access SMS. Unix Client for SMS enables the management of Unix environments from SMS, and Helpdesk for SMS integrates help desk administration with SMS.

Bundled in with each new product is Altiris' Web Admin for SMS, which provides remote administration and adds to the suites' time saving benefits, according to Poul Nielsen, vice president of product strategy at Lindon, UT-based Altiris. The Web console lets administrators manage SMS from a Web browser, he said.

The new Mobile Client for SMS suite addresses SMS' weakness in reaching mobile users. Remote users can access SMS from laptops via dial-up or virtual private network connections, just as they would with a LAN client, Nielsen said. Mobile Client and Web Admin are closely intertwined. While the former allows SMS to reach remote laptops, the latter allows SMS management from a Web browser, he said.

Tight integration on the server side allows SMS and Mobile Client to cooperate and provide management and administration services. The SMS database will pick up information and act as proxy so that mobile users can see the inventory, said Nielsen. Consequently,

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all machines act as though they are hard wired to the network. All users can treat them the same way. "SMS administrators have no new software to learn. They're doing the same operations as before," he said.

The second product suite, Unix Client for SMS, allows administrators to manage a Unix environment from SMS. Costs are cut, said Nielsen, because administrators won't need a separate infrastructure to manage their Unix boxes or buy hardware to update. With the added functionality of Web Admin, inventory can be seen from the Web. Further, SMS Microsoft Management Console is unnecessary because the GUI interface is replaced with a Web page. Infrastructure complexity is therefore eliminated, Nielsen said.

Help desk personnel can use SMS to track end-user contact with the new Helpdesk for SMS suite. Administrators' time is freed, said Nielsen, because with one view, help desk history or current inventory can be seen. With the view also available on a handheld device via Web Admin, personnel can track trouble tickets from anywhere. They save time by not reporting back to the office to get a new assignment.

Mobile Client runs $55 per seat. It includes Web Admin, Inventory Solution, Software Delivery Solution and Carbon Copy. The Unix Client suite starts at $84 per seat and includes Web Admin, Unix Inventory Solution and Unix Software Delivery Solution. It runs on Solaris, HP-UX, Linux and AIX. Helpdesk includes Web Admin, Helpdesk Solution and Conflict Analysis and is $22 per seat.


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