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What training methods have been successful for you?

Created: 24 Oct 2009 • Updated: 21 May 2010 | 7 comments
mclemson's picture
This issue has been solved. See solution.

We have Altiris CMS 6.x and Helpdesk 6.x installed in a 1200-node environment, but due to a lack of planning at the time, it's barely implemented.  (Despite owning so many solutions, we only use Helpdesk 6.x, have a few small application RIPs, and hardware-specific images sent via USB RDeploy.)  We're looking at doing Altiris right with a migration to Altiris CMS 7 and Service Desk 7, and finally using all the solutions.  I've read the Altiris 7 Planning and Implementation Guide.  I plan on reading some other documents (more or less at random) and wonder about the benefit of an Altiris eLearning license or some instructor-led training courses.

My question is, "What training methods have you tried, and which were most successful?  Least successful?"  I am not particularly interested if you've never gone to instructor-led training, but wish you could.  Rather, I'm interested in what training methods you've used and how effective you think those methods have been in teaching you how to build a fully-functioning Altiris toolset.

Here are some methods of training/learning I'm thinking of; this may not be every method out there:

  • asking the forums when you have an issue, but otherwise not reading documentation
  • just installing Altiris (test or production), and then seeing how it goes
  • proactively reading Altiris documentation on a specific product (cover to cover) before implementing it
  • reactively reading Altiris documentation on a specific product or product topic after implementing it
  • purchasing and viewing Altiris eLearning modules
  • attending an instructor-led training session, and when (pre- or post-install)
  • working individually with a consultant

Comments 7 CommentsJump to latest comment

jjesse's picture

When I started at ITS Partners almost 4 years ago I was given a DS 6.0 training book and a NS 6.0 training book from one of the official at the time Altiris courses.  I read through the books and built a test environment to get through the books.  Following the labs I understood a basic part of Altiris, then it was reading the manuals, reading the forums and posting here.

The best experience however was just using the product and asking co-workers what was wrong with what I was doing, what was working, etc.

I am biased towards Symantec Education, being in charge of ITS's training program.  Symantec has done a great job in the version 7 courses.

drop me a note w/ questions

Jonathan Jesse Practice Principal ITS Partners

mclemson's picture

I won't let Jonathan get away with being the only person to respond.  How about the rest of you?  How did you learn Altiris, and how successful do you think those methods were in helping you build a fully-featured Altiris toolset?

Mike Clemson, Senior Systems Engineer, ASC
Intuitive Technology Group -- Symantec Platinum Partner

ianatkin's picture


I started out in Client Management Suite Altiris by booking a course and then playing with Notification Server for the week leading up to the course. This meant that when I attended the course, my mind was already tuned and ready to put the pieces of the NS puzzle together.

Following the course, I started instantly working on an implementation with a collegue. The forums, and advice from my Altiris Partner were invaluable at this point.

I think my exposure to the product in advance of the course was important -it cemented the knowledge gained from the course, preventing my brain from washing out all those unused memories in the days that followed.

For some advanced topics I've found getting in a consultant to do a solution "train and assist". This can be productive if you already have a fair background in the product already. With the recent training cost hike by Symantec, this can actually be cost effective if you've two or more people to 'train'. The downside of this however is you won't get any training manuals, and you'll have to stay sharp with the consultant to make sure you get your money's worth!

In the end though, which training is suitable depends on how the trainee best learns. Some people learn best hands-on work by themselves, some learn best in a classroom, and  others learn best from good old-fashioned manual reading. I think the common denominator in the end though is the forums. The information here is invaluable.
Kind Regards,

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which assist you most in resolving your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful articles and downloads

jharings's picture

I've been lucky enough to have had access to resources throughout my career, that not everyone gets to use (primarily the great team I worked with on the old forums). In addition, I've had access to specialized training for partners, which of course I only had after taking my current job.

I'll depart from normal soapbox, to say I personally don't get much out of the standard courses. Not to take anything from the instructors or those who write the material, however the courses HAVE to be held to the lowest common denominator. An instructor may not know for at least a day or two the overall skill level of his audience (and that of course is based on participation). The standard courses are needed, and are an important part of the overall training and lifecycle, but they just didn't help me much.

The one exception would be the advanced training I took for Notification Server (6.x). Everyone in the room was a skilled admin, and there was an incredible wealth of resources available to us. I hope to see that type of course generated at some point in the future.

Much like stated above, my number one learning opportunity has been using the product. Followed by running into brick walls, and then perusing the forums, juice, kb system and altirigos and seeing what other people were doing.

Altiris\Symantec have a vibrant user community, and I feel that is the number one resource available to all. (ok, so that was my normal soapbox).

Jim Harings
HP Enterprise Services
1st Rule of Connect Club: Mark the post that helped you the most as a 'solution'. 2nd Rule of Connect Club:You must talk about Connect club.

mclemson's picture

I won't keep this thread alive forever, but I did want to give everyone one last chance to respond if they wanted to share about their Altiris training experiences and what they thought.  Great responses so far.

Mike Clemson, Senior Systems Engineer, ASC
Intuitive Technology Group -- Symantec Platinum Partner

Leisuretech's picture

I had previous experience with other competitor products which made it easier for me. I already had a good idea of what to expect. We did however use the eLibrary training over a year ago for NS 6.5. The 6.5 courses were more like a presentation versus training.We did not find the training course very helpful. After we went to SMC 7 we tried the follow WBT's from Symantec

Altiris Client Management Suite 7.0 - Core Administration
Symantec Notification Server 7.0 Administration
Altiris Client Management Suite 7.0: Deployment and Imaging

These training courses have been much more helpful. The information is a more technical and in depth.  I would recommend these 3 courses to anyone looking for training on SMC 7. Another resource I found helpful are webcast offered by Symantec and others. Although they are usually geared towards trying to sell something, you can pick up a thing or two.

The best resources though have been the forums, KB articles and the videos found on Connect and other sites. I have used consultants as well that have been very helpful. And of course, I don't think you can beat the good'ol trial and error training method.

mclemson's picture

Thanks for all the replies.

Mike Clemson, Senior Systems Engineer, ASC
Intuitive Technology Group -- Symantec Platinum Partner