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Reuters: Symantec looking to sell Altiris division

Created: 17 Jan 2013 • Updated: 07 Mar 2013 | 39 comments

Seems Symantec is looking to unload their relatively recently-acquired Altiris division.  Considering that they're about to release DS/SMP 7.5, one can only wonder how that will work out.  Will symantec hold onto the SMP tech and then sell just the name?  Will they stop supporting SMP/ITMS and dump it back on whoever buys it?  Will Arellia be crazy enough to buy it back and whip things back into shape?  How does this affect you and your company's future plans for Altiris products?

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Zac H's picture

Why do I feel like this will probably be another mess for customers?  sad

Clint's picture

This is rather disturbing news considering I'm only now migrating from Altiris 6 to ITMS 7.1 and have come to appreciate the Symantec Connect community.  Oftentimes it's difficult finding pertinent info in the Symantec KB whereas the forums provide tons of real-world help to get the job done.  Symantec's even been active with our local Altiris/ITMS user group meetings so it'll be a sad day should these events go away.

Anyhow, I've been approached by Dell KACE and Kaseya reps in the past so perhaps it's time to look for another desktop management alternative if Altiris support goes south following a possible acquisition.  Maybe even going back to a Microsoft solution would be another possibility for us unless it's too cost prohibitive.  If Altiris is acquired and things go downhill, curious what desktop management software you guys would consider and why?


Gibson99's picture

There's always for a good forum.  i value them about as much as i do connect (and used to value Juice before it was taken down).  in fact i found my current job from a posting on altirigos.  

we're looking at system center 2012 as well, but not because of this sale/offering.  mostly because we essentially already own the entire system center suite as part of our software assurance licensing w/ MS.  seen a few demos.  it's better than altiris/smp in some areas and worse in others.  no product will ever fit a company 100% though - that's why we currently use NS7.1 and DS 6.9 - DS7.1 isn't where we need it to be yet, and we couldn't wait.  at least symantec was smart enough to realize this and has not EOL'd DS 6.9 yet.  

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grinstb's picture

We are in the exact same boat.  We starting looking at System Center, but hen stopped due to the workload, it looks like we may have to start again.

nicoled18's picture

We are already working on moving to SCCM because 7.1 was so terrible for us anyway.  This is just another validation that it is the right choice.  I'm personally a much bigger fan of SCCM anyway and 2012 brings a lot of new features that are really promising.  

grinstb's picture

Well I want to say no one else could do a worse job bringing Altiris forward, but I have learned fromexperience it can always get worse.

I jost hope they don't completley abandon it while they are trying to unload it.

ianatkin's picture

This is certainly interesting, especially as Symantec have produced something quite usable with 7.5. Further, they are also actively developing DS6.9, with no end-of-life in sight there.

As for forums and support; as mentioned there is, and likely always be, Altirigos. And of course there was Juice before Connect, and I am sure there will be something after.

Will it be painful? Probably. But we'll cope...

Interesting times ahead!

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

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Frodriguez's picture

We're migrating slowly to  7.1sp2, but we still use the Deployment Server for the bulk of our work and just moving the machines from 6.0 to 7.1 for the 3rd Party patching for Windows and Mac machines. Symantec selling Altiris could be a great thing, support and updates suck atm...

JimChud's picture

It definitely doesn't seem to make much sense especially with the recent developements they are putting in the product and ongoing developements with 6.9, adding other products to the altiris solutions like MDM also was to benefit the company but if it is then we'll all just have to do whatever is necessary and move forwards.

Hopefully whoever purchases it will be looking to actively develop the solution.

From my point of view i've looked at other solutions as part of the course and this is definitely the most controllable and manipulatable product. Unfortunately that makes it complicated for Jo Average starting out a fresh but with the information on these sites I definitely would say its easier to start using it than ever before.

If Symantec just resolved some of the legacy problems and make it abit more usable then i think it would be on to a winner, but with the push from Microsoft with their EA's alot of people are licenced for SCCM now and moving that way anyways.

Regards Jim.
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Guido Langendorff's picture

You never know, but:

- During Vision I remember Steve saying "not want to sell anything"

- Finally integration is getting the better of Altiris and legacy Symantec products (1+1=3)

- Symantec to give up the "Secure endpoint is a Managed endpoint"?

Smoke and Fire ... 

Let's see if he (Steve) holds the match that started this fire...

WK01's picture

Does anyone know when we will know what the future of Symantec Management Platform will be?

I assume this includes ServiceDesk as well.

matzebru's picture

I read in another article on the CRN site there is speculation they would give more information on Wednesday, Jan 23rd, when they release an earnings announcement:

"Symantec said it doesn't speculate on mergers and acquisitions but added that Symantec chairman Steve Bennett, who became chief executive in July, replacing former CEO Enrique Salem, would have more information to share at a strategy announcement next week. The company has an earnings announcement scheduled for Jan. 23"

- Source:

- Bruce

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sdmayhew's picture

earnings call wensday will provide more details - that is word form sales rep

think if we get a good owner it would be a good thing. 7.1 sp 2 is just gaining ground and 7.5 to provide even more value

Altiris user since 2001, Asset Management for 25 years

Deep Green's picture

How many companies will chose a different platform instead of upgrading to 7.5 since both would be a re-implementation anyway. Change in product ownership is an issue for corporates looking for continuity of service and support. There are mature and stable offerings from HP, BMC and other vendors for CMDB and Service/Help Desk and some companies may switch to avoid any future uncertainty. 

Maybe Oracle will buy them.

Gibson99's picture

that's my thoughts too.  symantec's "service packs" often seem to be complete rewrites that make you start all over.  i'm afraid to upgrade from 7.1 sp1 to sp2 mp1.1 (which by the way can't be done in one step - you have to upgrade to sp2 first, then upgrade to mp1.1).  if every little patch and upgrade is going to result in big downtime, and support won't help you unless you're on the latest, bleeding edge version, then maybe that downtime would be better spent implementing a different product.  

yes, i know it's not that simple, but sometimes it still seems a better alternative.

Deep Green - Oracle?  Seriously?  Man, you must really hate altiris! ;)

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Deep Green's picture

Let's just say that we've had our issues with 7.1.x

At least if Oracle bought Altiris the product would have the backing of a large vendor and bring with it the support levels that come with large enterprise products.  I have been a user of applications from 3 vendors that have ultimately been consumed by Oracle.  While initially there was a bit of pain, in the long run the products and service improved and the product core benefitted from the developers having access to SMEs for database, application servers etc from within other Oracle development units.

JimChud's picture

Symantec are a large vendor, just most of the time they buy, strip and remove the previous product in to their product set.

Oracle aren't much better frankly, especially with support if its not on their list of supported hardware and their current revision of whatever software then they just say get to that version and if you still have a problem try this hotfix.... to which there are hundreds!

Symantec have their flaws and frankly if they did look to sell anybody who would look to spend that much money should be looking to invest in the product so that they can get their money back out of it and then some.

In the last year there has been a significant change to the responsiveness from symantec both on support and general information being provided which hasn't been the case for a long time. Also the connect forums have also started to become very active both by more new users and Symantec employee's themselves with an ernist to ensure they spend an amount of time on here.

Regards Jim.
Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads.

Deep Green's picture

"especially with support if its not on their list of supported hardware"

I guess you shouldn't expect support if you're not on a supported platform.  That'd be like expecting to have Service Desk support for zOS or Chrome support for SMP

I do stand corrected though.  Symantec is a largish vendor.  It's that we've been extremely frustrated by so many things that now we are no longer surprised when things fail or just don't work.  Documentation tends to be thin on the ground and a little lacking in substance.  The product lacks that solid feel

The connect forums indeed are good but it shouldn't be used as a substitute for official support

WK01's picture

Has anyone heard anything on this?  What time does the call take place?

matzebru's picture

From a recent Bloomberg post:

"Chief Executive Officer Steve Bennett is expected to outline a strategic plan after the close of markets today that may include divestitures and across-the-board cost cuts as the company works to beef up storage and security products, said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets."


- Bruce

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dsmith1954's picture

We're already in the process of moving away from the SMP. v7 proved to be way too complicated, and it doesn't have the features of DS 6.9 that we want to use. Webapps just flat out can't replace Win32/64 apps - period!

smassie's picture

Didn't see anything about divestment of Altiris - Just ro-org and streamlining of organisation, more R&D, and a focus on mobile management.... Or did I miss something?

JimChud's picture

Soooo just the rumour mill working overtime?

Regards Jim.
Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads.

WK01's picture

It would be nice if they would address it and be honest about it with their customers.

jellsworth's picture

Looks like another headache provided via Symantec. Just when things were working out...

WK01's picture

What about Symantec partners, do you know anything?   I would think they gotta keep you guys in the loop.

toca's picture

I have clients looking to upgrade, think I'll wait until we get something croncrete.

Pascal KOTTE's picture

Well, see the records, nothing more than

So, wait & see !

I don't know if

  • automating the patch with more 25 vendors software, over 3 platforms (windows+Linux+MacOS)
  • knowing: which IT assets is where, assigned who, what inside, what's change into...
  • deploying & updating software over endpoints, including virtual
  • discovering & correlate network detected devices & AD imported ones, to organize IT Assets
  • providing one of the best single true single base repository for a distributed CMDB, with easy custom & import/export connectors...
  • ... and more...

Are part of the strategic CxO Symantec visions or not, but I hope if they decide to sell, it will be buy from another clever well known and quality software development editor.

Wait & see :) Any body getting update, thanks to share here. Best 2013 wishes all.

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

MarkWarmack's picture

Has anyone heard anything else? I also listened to the whole Strategic Direction Event and wasn't happy with the above slide (no news today).

We have a huge decision, still on Helpdesk 6.x, NS 6.x and DS 6.9. We were going to jump to SMP 7.5, when released (have ServiceDesk 7.5 in DEV and been on the ITMS 7.5 betas), but it is all in jepordy because of this annoucement without *a lot* of understanding of where the product is going and who is going to own it and support it. The Altiris users are freaked out and I can't image what the Altiris-specific vendors are feeling... [insert rug pull here]


Mark Warmack

Application Support Supervisor

HXG's picture

Sold or not, I would not fret.  Fact of the matter is this, Altiris has lost customers to SCCM and SCCM has lost customers to Altiris.  SCCM has so much hidden cost in the backend, its not even funny (creating reports and collections, is such a task).  Altiris will thrive no matter what, just look at the Gartner quadrant year after year.

If Altiris is sold, even better actually.  Expect a better product and support if market share for it shrinks, it is too big too renowed to be discarded.  Check out LANDesk, they have been bought several times and now own themselves.

Altiris 6.5, 7.1sp1,sp2 are great, if implemented right.  Out of the box settings need to changed depending on your environment and user requirements.  (Altiris 7.0 = sucks, btw).  The thing about Altiris is that you will get the most value of it, is if you have an implementer that is also an Architect.  BAM, there I said it....

Gibson99's picture

creating reports and collections (or filters) isn't much easier in 7.1 either.  it was easier in ns6 for sure, especially the report builder.  and besides - what are the odds that a canned report or collection will actually work for your environment.  from what i've seen of system center, their canned samples at least give you a good starting point, similar to what ns6 had.  i don't see those in ns7.1.  

i definitely agree though that any CMDB product like this (or any other similarly complex system) really needs someone who is familar with the product and has experience in lots of different environments to help you hit the ground running, or else you may undersize your servers, have crappy unreliable jobs, or it just make take you forever to get things functional.  

also agree on some of those versions... 7.0 should have been called version 0.5 alpha, 7.1 should've been 0.8 beta, and 7.1 sp1 should have been 1.0.  (we're running 7.1 sp1 but not using the DS parts - still using DS 6.9 for OS deployments).

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MCCS's picture


I am assuming you work for Symantec somehow. The only people that ever say good about the product work for the company. I actually am hoping they sell and my company finally leaves this time vampire. At that point I can go back to trying to solve the national debt and world hunger delimas and actually feel like I have a chance for success. 

HXG's picture

MCCS, I don't work for Symantec at all, as a matter of fact I work for a big biotech company. And have no love for any one vendor, I am loving Altiris after using SCCM. I do have to admit that I dont have much experience with Altiris DS but have experienced Altiris NS. We use Altiris extensively for reporting and compliance purposes, it is a good product with quirks of its own. But I do stand by my word that it is a good product if implemented properly, out of the box configuration doesn't really work in the real world.

Let me ask you a question, did you implement Altiris and failed?

MCCS's picture

Basically we have everything that Symantec tried selling to us. We also have nobody that is trained to install/configure any of it. Going through the manuals is like a maze game that does nothing more than keeps you busy by flipping pages. Really all we care about is our Software licensing and Imaging devices. Basically all the inventory features and asset manager stuff  we need has to be manually input. The imaging process is horrid compared to 6.9. 

I aggree highly trained individuals may be able to get this implemented to a working state. Unfortunetly, we do not have that. 

Guido Langendorff's picture

.. and you think the situation would be different when you go to KACE, Kaseya or even SCCM?  Going in with a high tech product (any) like this seems to me buying a Ferrari and not know there is a manual gear instead of an automatic.  Driving it you know something is wrong as it makes a lot of noice driving at (for a Ferrari) low speed.  If one learnes how to handle the stick, you can reach high speeds with little effort and a lot of flexibility.

As mentioned before: there are quircks and stupid descisions made (leaving PXE out in v70, etc) and solving issues is not that fast as it should, and the next indian guy telling me "solve your problem" without knowing what my issue is...

What I want to say, it is not perfect, but it takes two to tango.  And there is no organization I know with the same sort of quircks making "1 quick Altiris" +"1 quirck organization" = 3

my 2 cents

MCCS's picture

Mr Langendorff,

Are you by chance the author of some of thier documentation? Maybe it is just too early to comprehend what you are trying to say. Maybe I should turn to page 33 for setting up Ferraris..

ohzone - CherylPeterson's picture

Now that the official announcement has been made and speculation has been put to an end, I'd like to direct everyone to the official Symantec announcement that contains links to all the information provided in the announcement: Symantec’s New Direction

We appreciate your comments.


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Endpoint Virtualization
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