Posted by: aborby | April 13, 2009

Altiris 7

Ever since I inherited Altiris as a responsibility at work, I have committed myself to applying only bandaid fixes to a problem plagued system. The reason was simple; CMS 7 was just around the corner. I heard about it at ManageFusion (Sydney, not Vegas), I saw and read about it on Juice (now Symantec Connect), I even beta tested it thoroughly. It was prettier, more streamlined, more feature rich.

CMS 7 has been out for a month and despite piloting it twice internally, I have not yet ‘moved up’. I’m sure 90% of Altiris admin’s are in the same boat for one of the following not-yet-implemented features:

  • Deployment Solution – PXE Booting, Scripted OS Installs, Deployment Console (SP1, sans Console, which has been discontinued)
  • Asset Management Solution (Q4 2009)
  • SQL/Windows Server 2008/x64 Support (SP1)
  • A myriad of other, “minor”, solutions.

At risk of turning my first blog post into a rant, I cannot believe Symantec had the nerve (for lack of a better word) to take PXE out of CMS 7 RTM. Altiris, for many, is first and foremost a deployment solution, and without PXE functionality, image deployment is indescribably harder (granted, not impossible). Add to that the first chance (and last) chance many admins would love to have; rebuilding their NS host OS from scratch, preferably on the current-gen Windows OS (2008 RTM), crushed for early adopters. I even investigated the possibility of running side by side CMS 6 and CMS 7 boxes, to harness the best of both worlds, but alas, no Inventory Forwarding from 7  > 6 is yet available (yes yes i know, a SQL connector could be set up, but thats messy and SHOULD NOT BE NECESSARY!!!).

Rushed to market you say? The beta phase was lengthy and from what i hear the phrase “CMS 7” has been around since mid to late 2007. Seems to me the only reason to release(stretch of the word, i’d prefer “tease us with”) CMS 7 now is to attempt to keep up with the rapidly improving competitor products, but that’s another post.

I’m a technologist. I live for the cutting edge. Taking core functionality away and adding what are essentially trial versions of other Altiris solutions (look, more teasing!) into the mix has left me bewildered at the direction Symantec is taking. With a recent license audit taking far longer than expected (causing an immediate inquiry into the viability of implimenting Asset Management, our Help Desk still very much in love with the drag and drop nature of the DS 6.9 Console, I have begun (for the first time) putting real effort into the improvement, nay, perfection of my CMS 6 environment. It’s going well. Everything works. Having said that,  a once hardcore Altiris advocate is now, slowly but surely, beginning to eye what was once the undenyable black sheep of systems management; Microsoft (SMS, now System Center).



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