Symantec's Altiris 7 boosts Mac, Linux PC management

First upgrade since Symantec acquired the company in '07

Symantec Tuesday announced Version 7.0 of its Altiris client and server management suite. The upgrade, the first released since Symantec's acquisition of Altiris almost two years ago, includes new features for remotely deploying and managing Mac and Linux desktop PCs and, on the server side, improved performance monitoring of physical and virtual machines.

A new native Mac OS X agent enables Altiris 7 to automatically discover, catalog and inventory software on Mac desktops, and deliver that software from a central console or allow users to download it themselves.

The features significantly boost Altiris' Mac management features, which it began adding in 2002.

In terms of Altiris 7's desktop management ability, "this probably puts Macs on parity with Windows PCs," said Christine Ewing, director of product marketing.

Most of those new features are also now available for Linux PCs, Ewing said. Altiris is supporting Novell Inc.'s SUSE and Red Hat Inc.'s Linux distributions, she said.

Altiris 7 also lets IT managers save energy costs by setting policies for putting PCs into sleep or hibernation modes, Ewing said. The control is even more fine-tuned if the PCs have processors that include Intel's vPro technology.

A perpetual license for Altiris 7 costs US$95 per desktop PC. Altiris' chief competitors, according to Gartner Inc., include Avocent's LANDesk and Microsoft's System Center.

On the server side, Altiris 7 offers both agent and agentless monitoring and can be set to automatically choose the best monitoring method. Event data is collected and normalized so that unusual events and significant performance issues can be more easily detected.

Historical data is now collected to allow IT managers to drill down into any problems. The software also manages virtual machines created by both VMware ESX as well as Microsoft's Hyper-V.

The software costs US$399 per server.

Symantec is holding its annual ManageFusion conference in Las Vegas today through Thursday. The last major release of Altiris, Version 6.0, was in early 2004.

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