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Where in the %$#! is DS 7.5?????

Created: 25 Jan 2013 | 19 comments

Ok, what is the deal with the Deployment Solutions 7.5 release?  It was supposed to be last fall, then it was FOR SURE going to be the first part of December.  Now we are at the end of January - there is nothing to be found on the web about this.  Has Symantec given up on the product or what?   I am not interested in being part of a beta product.  Can someone from Symantec that actually knows something about the product chime in here?

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Ludovic Ferre's picture

Hello Scott,

Deployment Server 7.5 was pushed back last fall for some obscur reasons, as you know.

Then the December date was the original plan for the Symantec ITMS 7.5 release.

However we have had some internal changes and more priorities where put on shipping great quality product with good documentation rather than, you know, the usual product that need a couple of service packs to be really Enterprise ready. And it was decided that the product would ship later.

Now this is something independant from the DS or Altiris team, and we know it's causing a lot of pain for people like you that wanted and need the long awaited features that are due in 7.5... but like you we are waiting for it and hoping it brings all the great stuff and quality we all want.

I am currently off-net, on a retreat of some kind. I'll be back real soon, and you sure will hear from me then ;-).

Ludovic FERRÉ
Principal Remote Product Specialist
Symantec

mclemson's picture

Precisely because you are not interested in receiving a beta quality product, it's been pushed back for QA reasons.  As Ludovic mentioned it's a Symantec-wide initiative ("independent from the DS or Altiris team") to improve quality of product releases.

What's got you stuck that DS 7.5 is needed so urgently?  Perhaps we could find a creative workaround.

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

Tim.Jing's picture

Or maybe resources have been diverted from the Altiris platform as the company's focus shifted.

Scott Ripley's picture

I'll tell you what makes this so urgent:  I am hoping there will be some added functionality that has been sorely missing from this product since I began using it 2 years ago.  At that time, as a longtime Altiris user, I posted the following on Symantec Connect:

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/ideas/enhancements-needed-deployment-solutions-71pcanywhere

It was "so appreciated" as you can see by one of the lead people that he invited me to contact him directly.  It has now been two years and we still haven't seen any of these things implemented.  In fact, I still use a 6.9 server to keep some of the functionality this product still does NOT have!  This release keeps getting delayed, and the latest release of PCAnywhere now makes us click yet one more time before gaining remote control of a machine.  I don't even use it, but instead use dAgent and Aclient as it is so much quicker.  When I call support, I keep getting the same 3 or so people, and maybe that is how many people they have working on development now as well - maybe that is why the product release keeps getting pushed back.  For those not wanting to go to the above link, here were my suggestions 2 years ago: - Right now I would be happy with just a powered on status for the machine and an easy right click power on - power off - how hard can that really be?

 

PcAnywhere - While it is nice that this is included now with DS 7.1, the speed at which it works is far slower than the remote control in the 6.9 console.  The biggest pain is having to enter a username and password when connecting to a machine.  It is essential that we have a way to store these credentials to be used as a default system wide for using PcAnywhere on all of our clients (same username and password will provide access to all machines).

Power Control - When right clicking on a machine, power on, power off, and restart should be options.  iLO power management is there, but this is useless for almost all of our machines - we are managing clients, not servers with this software, (thus the name, Deployment Solutions for CLIENTS). 

Status of Computers - There is no way to tell if the machines are on or off.  In the 6.x console, you could easily tell if the machines were on or off.  It is difficult to know if a power control task needs to be deployed if you don't know the state of the machine.  Even my Sophos Endpoing Protection web console lets me determine that quickly by looking at the icon for the machine.

PcAnywhere / Remote Control - With the old DS 6.x remote, you could remote control several machines at the same time using the console of a single client.  This is critical in a lab environment, as you can make a configuration change on 30 machines by only having to perform the task on the screen of a single station.

Honestly, if the 6.9 dagent would have worked to remote control Windows 7 machines without them being logged in, I would've stayed with 6.9.  It is faster to use in managing several hundred machines.  These enhancements are definitely needed in an enterprise environment.  I gained remote control before login for Windows 7, but lost:

Quick remote access to everything else, quick power control, immediate response to tasks and jobs, a way to remote control several machines at the same time (with IT budgets as slim as they are, we need a way to work faster than before, not slower, which is what the 7.1 console has for it's greatest unenhancement).

mclemson's picture

 

Thanks for keeping this specific, on-topic, and productive.
 
While interesting, I think remote controlling a lab full of computers and mimicking mouse and keyboard actions to all of them isn't the best way to update them.  Why is a technician required to sit at a keyboard and mouse anyway?  Could it be scripted or packaged and deployed to all computers?
 
I agree that a Logged On/Logged Off icon would be nice.  Symantec has cited bandwidth and processing concerns as the reason, but computers already report graceful logon, logoff, shutdown, and startup events to the NS.  Why couldn't these be checked for icon status?  It would be additional NS overhead to query the data and display this icon, but customers could toggle it on or off depending on need.  It's a feature sorely missed from DS 6.9.
 
Are you seeing speed issues in pcA because of network or session issues?  I've had clients that needed to add priority for the traffic across the WAN since it had been at the absolute bottom of traffic priority below Citrix, VOIP, and everything else.  From a security perspective, I wouldn't want to remove the requirement to authenticate before a session.  In many countries and industries this is required, and even where it isn't, it seems best practice to me that you would want a support person to confirm his or her identity and log the connection.  If it's a generic DOMAIN\help.desk, you're opening yourself for audit issues.
 
Agree that creating a custom right-click action should allow you to select a task.  I can see how if you have a smaller environment (several hundred machines) that some of the scalability features added in 7.1 wouldn't really resonate.

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

Sally5432's picture

Though I see someone here recently posted Q1 for 7.5, I think I've heard Spring from support.  

We're having some pretty signficant imaging issues that may or may not be fixed in 7.5.  The tickets I have opened have been escalated by support, but they have no estimate on being fixed.  These are issuse I've had since day 1 of implementing 7.x about 18 months ago.  I have ongoing issues with Patch too but those seem to usually eventually work their way out.  

My techs are frustrated (they usually have to image a machine at least 2x for it to be successful, today we did a machine 4 times).  We only have 550 PCs, if we had greater scale we would've had to leave Altiris already.  I keep hoping 7.5 will be the product I've been hoping for.  If not, we'll likely be looking for a new deployment solution before our next major upgrade cycle.

The recent posts about deploy anywhere will never handle USB 3.0 drivers is disconcerning and make me think Altiris isn't serious about DA handling all drivers.

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Tim.Jing's picture

7.1 is so buggy that I'm waiting on 8.x at this point.

Scott Ripley's picture

Well...given the timeline of how long it has taken to get to 7.5, 8.0 should be ready for release in about 35 years.

Tim.Jing's picture

And everyone will still prob rather use 6.9.

Sally5432's picture

Maybe 7.5 will get released someday.. but I wonder if 8.x will ever be made?

 

http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2013/01/15/symantec-puts-altiris-unit-on-the-block/

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Guido Langendorff's picture

The Myth?

What I have overheard: .."the blog where this info is taken off originally, presented two alinea's for free as a teaser (well, that worked!).  The other x number of paragraph's one had to pay for.  In those other paragraphs it is explained not only Altiris, but ALL Symantec products are discussed what their position would or should be within the Symantec portfolio.  A lot of the official financial and other website only took the liberty of using the "free" info without looking into the "payed" information."

That brings things in another perspective.  I am in no situation of paying for that, but it would be interesting to get that info in the open.  Any sponsers? ;-)

Thomas Baird's picture

Be careful of rumors.  I'm getting an official statement.

 

I can only answer some of the questions raised here.  Is quality a serious priority?  You bet.  We have a new CEO who has promised the investors a turn-around, and he's pretty serious about delivering.  The slips that occurred to get DS delayed last year made pretty good sense,since our beta customers, and support concurred, that the product could not ship with some of it's... features.

I can also say definitively that the "delay" has bought us the opportunity of adding more features.  Will it be fully 6.9 feature complete?  Nope, but it's further along than we had expected when it was still called DS 7.2 or even when it merged with ITMS 7.5.

 

Hang in there folks.  Again, I'm getting official answers, and in the mean time, we're hard at work at making 7.1 better and better.  We're getting there.  :D

Thomas Baird
Private Consultant & open to full-time opportunities.
That means I CAN help beyond the forum (directly).

 

jon_sharp's picture

Hi all. Sorry for being late to this thread. I'm the Product Manager for DS, so I wanted to chime in here and answer some questions.

What has been said above in this thread is accurate and NOT speculation. That is, DS 7.5 was in a great state and then we got a new CEO who decided to put all our products through an additional round of testing. This has had a profound affect on the release date, as you have pointed out. DS 7.5 is NOT the only product affected by this, but it is a top-down mandate spread throughout the company. 

I know some of you have been eagerly anticipating DS 7.5 (as am I!), and so I apologize if this has affected your plans. 

As Thomas pointed out, the reasons for the original delay of what was then 7.2 were specifically due to some issues we discovered in the early stages of the closed beta that had to be resolved. 7.5 is a much better product now and all the feedback we've received from those who have used it has been very positive. Will it address 100% of your needs/wants? No, it won't. I'm not going to beat around the bush and pretend that 7.5 is perfect.

As the product manager, I have a long list of items we're working on now and will be working on. (And yes, Scott Ripley, that includes the items you mention above and in your referenced enhancement request.) Of course, we operate under a finite set of restrains and so I cannot release products with as many features packed into a release as I'd like. 

As for other rumors: Symantec is not getting rid of DS. In fact, we're investing heavily in it as we still see it as one of our most important products. We are not diverting resources away from it. 

Thank you for your feedback. I want to again emphasize that I appreciate your concern. I am confident that not only will DS 7.5 be a great product, but that the future of DS is very solid and critical to Symantec. 

 

Sr. Product Manager
Endpoint Management and Mobility Group
Symantec Corp.

Scott Ripley's picture

Thanks for the reply - nice to see the product manager response!  It is great to hear that DS is critical to Symantec, but how does that fit in with the news that Symantec put up Altiris for sale?  Any clarification would be greatly appreciated by all DS users, I'm sure.  As far as enhancements needed immediately, we absolutely must, must, must have the status of the computer (powered on or off) indicated in the console.

Thomas Baird's picture

BTW - you CAN tell the status of a system in the console, just not under Manage | Computers.  If you go to the site servers and go to Task services, you can see if a computer is connected, or not.  This is similar, though not as functional, as what you see in 6.9.  Once the Task Agent is connected, it shows active blue here, and if disconnected, shows grey.  It's not perfect, but it does show active status of computers in a functioning environment.  There are some delays in disconnects, and obviously it doesn't show percentage of an imaging job...

Thomas Baird
Private Consultant & open to full-time opportunities.
That means I CAN help beyond the forum (directly).

 

Sally5432's picture

Tom - finally found what you're takling about with Task services. Holy cow that's hidden.  Is that (or something that shows similar data) in an easier to find place in 7.5?

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Don't forget to mark posts as helpful if they are, and mark answers as solutions.

Thomas Baird's picture

no, not easier to find.  Yes in another place that is now hidden from the console but you can sort of force your way to get to.

 

sorry.

Thomas Baird
Private Consultant & open to full-time opportunities.
That means I CAN help beyond the forum (directly).

 

JeanWilson's picture

I have been using this data almost daily. Is it possible to create a report or alerted when a machines is not lit up?

 

Thomas Baird's picture

We need a new thread for this question about a "real-time" log-on status or connected status.  Please begin a completely new thread.

 

PS>  ITMS 7.5 has released a new BETA - don't know how many are involved, but you should be aware that it IS moving forward, due out this fall.  A lot of changes.  Improved security model, added Mac imaging and some other features as well.  No list provided here.  I'm going to try to lock this thread.

Thomas Baird
Private Consultant & open to full-time opportunities.
That means I CAN help beyond the forum (directly).