The Altiris Client Management Suite 7 allows you to quickly manage thousands of computers, allowing you to update, patch, secure, modify, control, and do much more to the computers on your network. Another suite that we will not discuss in this article is the Altiris Server Management Suite, which has a lot of the same functionality, but is for server management. This suite includes the Deployment Solution (in May 2009 it does not have all of the capability of DS 6.9 SP2), Altiris Inventory for Network devices, Altiris Inventory Solution, Altiris Patch Management for Linux and Windows, Altiris Real-Time Systems Manager, Altiris Software Management Solution, and Symantec pcAnywhere.
This article will explain how to prepare for and install the Altiris Client Management Suite 7.
Preparing to Install
As you prepare to install the Altiris Client Management Suite, make sure you have a server ready with Windows Server 2003 (in my case, I used Win Server 2003 R2 SP2 32-bit standard edition on a virtual machine). If you use 64-bit you will probably encounter problems.
Prerequisites for the server include the following:
- Windows Server 2003 (and CD/DVD)
- Microsoft IIS 6.0 or higher (but not IIS 7.0)
- ASP .Net 2.0.5
- Microsoft SQL Server (Altiris recommends 2005)
- Intel Pentium 4 dual processor or better
- 2 GB Ram
The requirements for the Altiris agent, which need to be installed on each machine, are different and not very difficult to meet. The agent will run on XP SP2 or later, Windows 2000 Workstation SP4 or later, Windows Vista RTM and SP1, Windows Server 2008, and other operating systems, including Red Hat, SUSE, Mac OS X 10.3 or newer (see the Symantec website for more details).
To determine if you meet the requirements, begin the installation by downloading and installing the Symantec Installation Manager.
Symantec Installation Manager
If you have used previous version of Deployment Solution or other Altiris products, you may not be familiar with the Symantec Installation Manager. The Symantec Installation Manager is a one-stop location to install, update, and apply licenses for Symantec (and Altiris) products. Currently as of May 2009, the Symantec Installation Manager will work only on Windows Server 2003. I tried the installation manager on Windows Server 2008 (32 and 64 bit) and it will not work. Altiris is moving many of their applications to Windows Server 2008 and to 64 bit versions, but quite a few of them still do not run on Windows Server 2008. Once you install the Symantec Installation Manager, you can continue to use it to check for updates.
Many of the Symantec & Altiris solutions and suites are built on the Symantec Platform. The Symantec Platform includes the Symantec Management Console, Database (CMDB), Notification Serve, and Client Management Suite components.
To download the Symantec Installation Manager, go to www.symantec.com. Find the product Altiris Client Management Suite and download it. The downloaded file is actually the Symantec Installation Manager. Once you have downloaded the file, double click the executable. This will install the manager, which you can run to see what requirements you have met. You can run this manager again in the future for additional products, trials, and updates.
IIS is required, which will enable your server to display web pages. The management suite runs via browsers, which can be done from a remote computer that is running Internet Explorer 7.
On you Windows Server 2003, you need to install IIS. For your convenience, I will not explain when to click the "Next" or "OK" buttons. Also, if you are prompted by a Windows Security Alert, unblock it if it relates to the installation.
- Click on "Start" and go to "Manage Your Server"
- "Add or remove a role"
- Select "Application Server (IIS ASP .NET)"
- Check "Enable ASP .NET"
- You may need to insert your Windows Server CD/DVD
- Click "Finish"
- Run the Symantec Installation Manager again (if it is not still running)
- Click "Check install readiness again"
- Below the ASP .NET section, click "Click to automatically install and configure ASP .NET for IIS"
For the SQL Server, you can probably use many different SQL databases, but Altiris recommends Microsoft SQL Server 2005. You can use the free Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express if you have less than 500 computers to manage. Altiris recommends that you put the SQL server on a different server than the Altiris Client Management Suite. You can put the SQL Server on the same machine as the management suite if you don't have too many computers to manage, but it may run a lot slower than you would like.
For this installation, we will use Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services Service Pack 3. In these instructions, we will skip the steps of clicking "Next."
- Download the installation file
- You may accept the license terms if you agree
- Click "Install"
- Enter the desired "Name" and your "Company"
- Uncheck "Hide advanced configuration options"
- If desired, install the "Connectivity Components" and "Management Studio Express"
- Select "Default Instance"
- Select "Use the built-in System account" and select "Network service"
- Select "Mixed Mode" and enter a password, unless you don't want direct SQL Server authentication
- If you select "Mixed Mode", you can set the sa (Systems Administrator) password the mixed mode would allow you to have a back door way to access and configure the database
- Select "SQL collations (used for compatibility with previous versions of SQL Server)" and "Dictionary order, case-insensitive, for use with 1252 Character Set"
- Do not check either of the next to screens (the default selection don't enable user instances, don't add the user to the administrator role, don't send data or error reports)
- Click "Install"
- If you would like, click on the "Summary Log"
- Click "Finish"
Installing the Altiris Client Management Suite
Re-run the file you download for the installation, which is the Symantec Installation Manager. You need to meet all of the minimum recommendations and then continue. As you continue the installation process, you may notice at the bottom of the screen that necessary files will continue to be downloaded.
You may install a trial copy of the software, which is the default. If you have already purchased licenses, you can click on "Apply licenses" during the screen above.
- Enter the account username and password credentials
- Select "Default Website"
- Enter the "Fully Qualified Domain Name" for the server
- Configure the email account information if you would like
- Enter the SQL server name and select the authentication method that you chose for the SQL installation (in this case, we chose the Mixed Authentication, so select the Windows Authentication) (If you use Windows Authentication, the machine on which you have your database needs to have the same username and password previously entered during the installation)
- Create a New Database Name (Symantec CMDB)
- Select the Management Features you would like enabled (we de-selected application metering because we will not be using it, but you may want to enable it)
- Now, we will install the agent remotely on each client computer. For this step, enter the username and password (that must be on each client computer) in the bottom right of the screen to install the agent. Select the Workgroup or Domain that you would like to install the agent on. Another option is to add each computer's IP Address to the list for installation. Click "Begin Install"
- Select "Launch Symantec Management Console" and click "Finish"
- If you are asked to install "AltirisNSConsole.cab", click "Install"
Enabling Remote Web Access to the Management Suite
For you to access the suite from another computer, you will need to enable the necessary ports for the firewall.
- Go to the Windows "Control Panel"
- Open "Firewall settings"
- Click on the "Exceptions" tab
- Click "Add Port"
- Enter the name (Ex: Web)
- Enter port 80
- Click "Change Scope"
- Select & enter the desired scope (Ex: limit to your specific subnet from which you will be accessing the management suite)
Updating the Altiris Client Management Suite
You can continue to update patches, updates, and license with the Symantec Installation Manager.
- Run the Symantec Installation Manager as described previously (download from Symantec or it may already be installed if you have followed the steps above)
- Click "Check for Updates"
- Check the boxes of the available products that you would like to update
- Click "Review selected updates"
- Accept the license agreement if you agree
- Enter your information and continue
- You can update and install the components to the client machines if the agents have had an update
Congratulations! Now that we have installed the Altiris Client Management Suite 7, you can update, patch, and configure thousands of computers remotely, remote control to help assist with technical issues, inventory your computers, and much more. With the new Symantec Installation Manager, you can quickly install, try, update, and patch many of the great Symantec and Altiris products. Many other solutions are also available that are not in visible in the Symantec Installation Manager because they have not been release with the version 7 yet. One of interest might be the full version of Deployment Solution 6.9 SP2.