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Is Altiris / Symantec Management Platform being phased out?

Created: 08 May 2012 | 10 comments
mickwearn's picture
5 Agree
2 Disagree
+3 7 Votes
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Hi Folks,

I'll try hard to not let this turn into a rant, but I'm lost for a way to bring attention this matter.

I have invested the last 7 years in Altiris training and developing myself into an expert, I have undertaken a number of engagements to design, configure and build Altiris technology for a number of clients, I have performed end to end installations of versions 6, 7 & 7.1  I have also earned my Symantec certification in the Altiris Client Management Suite.

And now find myself in a position where I have to ask myself did I invest in the wrong technology?

Of all the clients I have delivered Altiris for, and provided training, doco and handover.. Only 1 still remains today with the Altiris technology. The others have decided to replace the solution with the Microsoft SCCM solution.

I queried this with our account manager, and he told me that not even he will promote the solution to clients anymore as it does to much harm to the client relationship, I ask him what he meant by this... and he replied.. it’s too hard for people to use and finding enough people with the skills to manage the suite is virtually impossible.

So I ask the Symantec Connect community... is Altiris / SMP being phased out?  Why aren't Symantec doing more to get the suite installed in more sites? Can I do anything about this?

Have I just wasted the last 7 years investing in a technology that now, not even the vendor will promote?

Maybe this post will get the attention of someone who can find a way forward.

I finish my current contract on the 30th June this year, and I can't find anyone who is still using Altiris/SMP

Is this a common theme in the rest of the world?

Is this the last days of Altiris?

Regards

Mick Wearn
Canberra, Australia.

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Douglas.Dunphy's picture

Like you, I've spent the past seven years up to my eyebrows in Altiris starting with DS 5.5, then with a role as a support engineer for a consulting company, then as an admin and now as an engineer on the customer side.

For enterprise customers, SCCM is far less expensive than Altiris.  Microsoft has been working overtime bringing SCCM into a competitive position and adding features with each release.

The days of Altiris having the most functionality are gone; quality issues have abounded in releases going far back, as I'm sure you are aware.  Customers are no longer locked into Altiris because it has features no other product does.  Even Gartner has downgraded Altiris with cautions due to quality.

Until Symantec dedicates the time and effort to releasing a better product, I think you will continue to see a decline in market share.

I think the folks at Symantec understand what's happened in the last two releases. 

Will they be able to right the ship before SCCM overtakes them?

We'll see.

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anthonypascucci's picture

Well from my point of view,
The portfolio is clearly oriented on the Management Platform as a central point, either Client / Server / Mobile Management Suite or even Endpoint Protection also fits perfectly in this platform.

Recent Symantec acquisitions (Nukona and Odyssey) should also reassure you to see that the focus is still on Endpoint Management.

In front of the aggressive marketing wave of Microsoft's, best allies of Symantec inc. are Partners.
The Partners are differentiated from each others with their accreditations (STS - tech, SSE(+)-sales);
and can gain a certain level of recognition by Symantec but also on the market with the Specialized program (for Altiris it is Endpoint Management Specialized).
Where the highest level is related to the consultancy skills (and you mentioned some above), it is called a ASC (Symantec Authorized Consultant) - allowing you to work with the same level of confidence as if it was a Symantec employee.
On your company side, having a certain number of SSE's, STS's & ASC's would give you the Master label, a guarantee of excellence in the market. (Master Endpoint Management)

But as a Consultant, employee in a company, it is also your responsibility to feel the wind ... If your Sales team stops the effort in this direction... then it's time to think about your conversion (Microsoft, IBM...there is a life next to Altiris) or change Company perhaps.

According to the public Symantec Partner Locator, Australia counts 21 Companies with Endpoint Management Specialization and 3 with a level of Master... wink

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Damon_Covey's picture

Symantec’s Endpoint Management & Mobility products are a very important part of the Symantec portfolio. These products are as robust as ever and being actively developed, marketed and sold through Symantec and an extensive partner network worldwide. This is an exciting time to be part of end user computing. The road ahead is filled with considerable change as we look at moving beyond traditional Windows systems, and providing management across other platforms, mobile devices and virtual desktops. Symantec is committed to providing the most robust management and security regardless of platform. Customers are rapidly adopting our latest management solutions and expanding to new areas as a result of our current and planned releases. Some recent accolades and proof points include:

If you have any doubt about the future of these solutions, I would encourage you to speak with your Symantec Account Manager or I would also be happy to discuss directly.

Best Regards,

Damon

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mickwearn's picture

Hi Guys, and thank you all very much for your comments, as someone who really loves the product and has invested heavily it’s good to see and hear I am not alone.

The biggest road block that I see Symantec must overcome is training, I have been on almost all the CMS training over the past few years.

Before Symantec bought Altiris training (at least in Australia) was conducted by consultants who had firsthand experience in the field, this is what really made the courses valuable for me.

The last CMS course I went on was run by a Symantec guy who admitted he'd never used the product and was only able to teach the course content... and not offer any value add.

I really hope this message gets to the right person in Symantec, the one thing that I see is really killing the product is how hard it is for new people (often junior staff) learning the toolset. The course content does not meet the needs of new staff coming up through the ranks.

I welcome the opportunity to have input into the training material if that was an option... but briefly I would like to suggest a new structure.

1x CMS course for system administrators

1x Software Deployment Course (these guys don't need to know anything about the base install or configuring)

1x Workstation deployment course

1x Automation and Productivity course, focusing on reports, and automation policies, and trigged events that have real time saving values for business.

I have some ideas what I’d expect in each course, and I really feel this is key towards the long term success of the management platform.

Watching an animated video of the SIM doesn't help anyone, oh and has anyone ever looked at the online training... its absolute rubbish.

My work place has sent heaps of guys on 5 day courses for CMS, just so they could learn about how to deploy software… they came back saying they wished we had SCCM, they don’t care or need to know how to install/configure etc. 

Regardless of what Symantec buys in the MDM space, and the improvements in the 7.5 release, without the technical people who use the product everyday engaged and trained up and skilled to be able to take something they have learned and apply it for a real business gain SMP will go down the drain.

Of course this is just my 2 cents, but I really hope this post gets attention from Symantec.

And I welcome the opportunity, if it was there to develop better course ware that supports the needs of technical staff that have to drive the SMP tool set day in and day out.

Without them, all you have is a car and no driver.

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pro.gti's picture

May not help particulalrly but it's worth checking this recent "Altiris Portfolio: State of the Union" presentation for the Altiris roadmap for this year if you haven't seen it yet -

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/digitally-speaking-video?xml=symvis12-EMB07_1336507656906JZVC.xml

In general, we have recently rolled out 7.1 and have been impressed with it compared to 7.0.  I am keen on the 7.5 release for the PC internet management, which will help us manage our wayward laptops.

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anthonypascucci's picture

While I understand your frustration of having participated in a disappointing BootCamp,
In terms of content, Symantec proposes a 5-day BootCamp which is usually very good...if everyone has the 6 months experience required and the Trainer is also a Consultant... 
Because for me, during these BootCamps, I usualy overflow the official structure of the course and test things while I'm surrounded by professionals passionate about the same subject.
I hope that during the evaluation of the course you have mpentionned it and at worst you can always escalate your concerns to your Symantec Education.

For the future, don't forget you have the eLibrary providing eLearning content equal to any Symantec BootCamp (only +/-700$ / year for the whole Symantec Portfolio...), so you can follow the training at your own pace & create a testing environment to play around.

If you don't like eLearning, via your PartnerNet portal, you can get access to E-Books on Demand, where you can download PDC (Protected PDF), which are the official Syllabi & Slide Shows...

Based on that, and that's what we did as Seniors, we have created Working Instructions for Juniors, with targeted modules depending on some specific job descriptions/responsibilities.

Because from my point of view, Symantec is there to lead us to the Top level (STS's, ASC) and then it's our responsibility to evangelize/coach our Team / Customers...

Do you imagine having the same number of certifications as with Microsoft... 
wink This is a sketch but you get the picture

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nicoled18's picture

FWIW, the concepts between SCCM and Altiris are fairly similar.  I came into my current job as an SCCM expert, but they have Altiris.  The ramp-up time to understand the product wasn't that bad.  Unfortunately, each new release has been full of problems so we are now taking a serious look at other products, including SCCM. I would not consider expertise in Altiris to be a complete loss, even if the product goes away.  

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PabPic's picture

In answer to your question about how committed Symantec is to the Symantec Management Platform (previously known as Altiris Notification Server)

In December 2011 Symantec closed the Sydney development office that originally developed and built the core Notification Server platform. The work was offshored to Estonia.

Take from this what you will...

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davisg's picture

Our company has been using Altiris products since 6.5 and I must say that I am disappointed with the way Symantec has handled the Altiris suite.   I cannot understand why more research and development was not done before Symantec sorry attempt at implementing their version of Altiris.

I have been struggling for the last 12 months trying to implement this product into our environment and believe me I have been through many product implementations (since 1982) and this one has been the worst.

The awkward installation process, faulty code C:\program files\\altiris\agent\ ; (this is not a typo) this was what was found in about twenty or thirty areas while trying to trouble shoot the installation process with a Symantec agent.   Finally to get my installation pass the configurable protocol errors the agent actually had to ftp me his files from his system to import into my system just to get me started, and I am still having problems.  PC anywhere is a nightmare with all of the unable to connect to device problems.

OH SYMANTEC WHEN WILL YOU GET IT RIGHT!!!!

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FlorianUeb's picture

Hi Mick Wearn,

You findes the words addressed to the whole world.

We also see the situation in Germany that consumers and service partners are sad and have to watch as our Investiotionen lost in a pleasing product by design.

Gartner's analysis was superficial and Gartner is still not open to good European products.

The community of system engineers have to search a forum in the future to get better reviews on products.

best Regards.

Florian

Florian Uebelacker / Germany

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