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Altiris 7.1 migration, Imaging and Software

Created: 30 Jan 2013 • Updated: 30 Jan 2013 • 6 comments
Tim.Jing's picture
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This week, diving deeper in to the functional side of DS with some Windows 7 testing along with software deploying.

So we all know the new DS is different, but I never knew it was going to be this different. And Different is not good at all from an DS Administrator's perspective. So here is a low down.

 

  • Software manager is a mess. Maybe from an accountant's side this may be decent, but for an admin, it bestows more work, more clutter, and a interface that serves hardly any benefits. Bottom line, Too many steps to create a job, and not any benefits over the existing platform.

 

  • New PXE has some issues. The SBS corrupts at times causing machines to give the Device is Not Capable errors. Again, another solution to a problem that didnt exist in DS 6.x or any of the competitor's products. 

 

  • Software delivery is badly executed as well. There are Tasks and Jobs. While a Job can contain multiple Tasks, it cannot encapsulate a multi lined Job. It will create the Tasks that you add in to it as separate entities. Which adds clutter to the console(Attached picture red lines), and makes as much sense as Keith Richards.

 

Some of the console areas are so bad you cant even expand the left pane without frustration(Attached picture blue Arrows). The DS product design is terrible and made worse by a terrible console. Bottom line, Stay on DS 6.x unless you need Win7 and 8 Migration.

The Patch(Software update Solution) seems solid, and PCAnywhere works as promised. The out of the box Inventory works exceptionally well, to have full inventory data on client first check in is a bonus.

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Gibson99's picture

this is why we stayed on ds 6.9 (though we did have to upgrade from ds 6.8).  however, i can state with 100% certainty, that you CAN image machines w/ win7 (both 32 and 64bit) using DS 6.9 sp5, because that's what we're doing.  we have had NS 7.1 since sp1 went gold and we aren't using the deployment part of it at all because of a lot of the same reasons you mentioned.  as for migration, we're also using PCT 6.8 (that's apparently the latest version) without issue - it can handle moving from xp to w7 (again - both 32/64) just fine.  

i will say though that patch in 7.1 is awesome.  i love all the 3rd party support, and if we ever move off altiris, i will miss that part.  sccm doesn't seem to support anywhere near as many 3rd party vendors as symantec does.

If a Connect post helped you out, be sure to click "Mark As Solution" or the "Thumbs Up" button to let other users know about it.

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Pascal KOTTE's picture

We also decide to stay under 6.9 our side, and recommend all existing customers to keep DS 6.9 for the moment. Except customers requesting absolutely latest version 7.1...

We make a different for new customers without DS 6.9 knowledge at all. We install both versions, and let customers making their own choice.

For the moment, 98% our customers choose to keep DS 6.9 for OSD & daily on-demand tasks. SMP/CMS is used for patching, inventories, metering, and software portal+automated deployment. Also extended for using Asset Management, and Licenses management.

Software catalog is powerful but can be a mess if miss-used. But it is a must for any company wanted to "discover" what software are installed/used in their computers.

I confirm, we are migrating to windows 7 using DS 6.9. We are wondering which option we will choose for windows 8. Will depend future DS 7.5, if any...

~Pascal @ Kotte.net~ Do you speak French? Et utilisez Altiris: venez nous rejoindre sur le GUASF

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Tim.Jing's picture

Hey Pascal, you are Bechtle in Houston?

Jason, I'm not sure if we want to "upgrade" to DS 6.9 SP5. So I may give it a go at getting 7.x up in a live environment. So we have a few big issues, alot of odd reliability problems in PXE and renaming/domain joining with the 7.1 solution. While I can certainly script all that to get around these issues, they more or less make things les automated.

I still cant figure out how Symantec released this product, but i can certainly see how SCCM gained some distance on the Altiris product.

Also has anyone gone to any of the User Groups lately?

 

 

 

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Gibson99's picture

we actually did a completely clean install of 6.9 sp5 on a different machine rather than upgrading the 6.8 server.  this worked to our advantage in three ways - we could still import the old XP jobs (mostly for the software installers) from ds6.8 but the xp clients stayed connected to the old DS.  once they were imaged w/ win7, they started talking to the new DS.  eventually we were able to shut down the old DS - we converted it into a VM host with 5 win7 VMs on it to use as "lab" machines.  and of course it got things onto a new server.

that strategy worked for us because we only have about 2000 clients and one DS, unlike your environment with 10 DSs and 25k+ PCs.  but since DS 6.9 is NOT a resource hog, you can run it on almost anything - we just dropped it onto our ns7.1's sql server and it didn't even make a dent in its performance.  of course, the sql server has 24 cores and 48gb ram, so it takes quite a lot to make a dent in its performance, but still...

If a Connect post helped you out, be sure to click "Mark As Solution" or the "Thumbs Up" button to let other users know about it.

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Tim.Jing's picture

The DS product is so spotty I cant believe they are selling it in this form.

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