A little background.

I am a desktop analyst working with a systems engineer(Specialty was in SAN and storage) to use Livestate Delivery which was bought by the IT coordinators without testing and evaluating the product by any members of the staff. On top of all this, no training was funded, and support was by the way of phone calls to Symantec via a Gold Support plan. The environment is pretty much all Windows AD structure with about 17,000 desktops and a few hundred servers.

The sales pitch.

The product is supposed to provide the following functionality for a complete hands free desktop management. It will install any machines with either Image via Ghost or Complete OS install from scratch. Then it is managed by Livestate Command Center which will deliver software Packages. It can be remotely assisted with the PC Anywhere component. And there is a Patch Manager to control the update of patches in the Windows environment. A discovery tool to monitor inventory of all machines on the network.

Summery of product performance.

So far, this product has been a very frustrating software package to learn and use. The lack of How to documentation, long issue resolution via Livestate Support, Inconsistent performance seems to be the down fall so far. Image delivery via regular Ghost process is slower than with Ghost console, and intermittent connectivity errors are common. Deploying Management Agents to existing none-managed machines are a hit and miss. The results vary from being able to be managed within a few minutes after the package deploys, to repeated reboots with the only solution being to manually uninstall the agent via command line. The PC anywhere is buggy as clients on the local machines, and errors often. The Discovery tool seems to work but at times it displays wrong information including wrong Computer names.

Some examples:

After discovery of about 200 machines via IP, Agents are deployed 2 weeks ago. Today 8 are shown as managed under Livestate Command Center.

Imaging a lab of all identical machines, 1/4 will hang at either a dos screen or other pre os errors that requires manual reboot.

Deliver packages to managed machines results vary from 90% of the machines received the software, then 90% of that will be successful at the next software. Some machines shown to have software installed on the console, but none was found on the machines.

PC anywhere agents after being configured to allow only certain groups to access remotely beeps and shows repeated errors on PC start up.

Without training and external support, most issues we have had were not solved by the Livestate support calls. About 50% of the time we are transfered to the wrong que(Livestate Recovery team). Product updates fixes certain issues but seems to introduce new ones that are not documented or have resolutions.


We do however have a few consultant scheduled to come in next week and spend sometime trying to help us implement. I hope the next quarter is alot smoother and LSD7 will not be nearly like this to work with. If we were to do it all over again, I cant see my self recommending this product especially when SMS and Altiris works so well and have tons of documentation. I will update this in a month or so after the consultants help us sort the issues out.
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Wow. That's awful. I'd say my experience is just about the opposite, but we have had an on-site consultant
for a week to get us over the first hurdle. From our three day Proof Of Concept to the week consulting we (that
should be read _I_) got enough information to know what to do. We have not gotten the problems you have.

1) I implemented IBM Tivoli Storage Manager all by myself with no training and no support. It was not fun.
trying to set up LSD without a jump-start would be similarly not fun. Possible, but not fun. Yes, the documentation
is not all that complete, but once you get an idea how the whole thing works together the documentation is pretty

2) Integrating machines coop has been weird, but it's my impression that every engineer has a different script
for doing so. The process is pretty complex, and I have not been able to repeat it by hand -- I've just used the
engineer's script so far. The issue with the script we have tends to be patch-level. On an XP SP2 machine it seems
to work fine, anything less and it might need some help (and sometimes it needs to be run a second time and then
it works). I'd say we have about a 95% success rate. I can't get the discovery of unmanaged machines from the
console to do anything helpful. Once they are in, seems to work fine. Probably a 99.9% success rate on packages

3) We were used to Altiris imaging, so we were going to use Ghost for imaging. You are right, the Ghost console
is a better than LSD, but the scripted OS install works pretty damn well. Compared to how we had to do it with
Altiris, LSD is light-years better.

4) Never seen a problem with pcAnywhere. We have a DNS issue that sends us to the wrong clients, but that's
not pcAnywhere's fault. I have no ideas what your pcA problem might be.

5) First level support from Symantec is about 50% good. I had one guy fiddle with sending me suggestions until
I finally got fed up and listed how he was not listening. He sent me a suggestion (after two weeks) that showed he
did not even remember the frickin' SUBJECT of the case! Whew.

I certainly can't say anything about your environment, but let me tell you where I'd suspect the issues would be
here (which is a Charlie-Foxtrot on a good day):

Ghost errors will be network issues. MS DOS network drivers are awful. I've never gotten Ghost to work well, though
in our test environment it works just fine (I have cheap hardware here, expensive in production, so no good reason
for the cheap stuff to be better, it just is).

Integration issues for us have been related to the script. I think it'll take me an entire week to pull this one apart to
see how it works, but it certainly seems discoverable. GPO install should be fine, but we have not yet tested it.
Wrong computer names should be script related too.

Package issues I dunno about. Ours work, even when we're sure the network is poor. We see imaging issues on
poor networks, but virtually no other issues. I'm now upgrading our network to keep Gig to every floor with the final
link as 100mbps, which works fine in all the other buildings.

I'd say our only issue may be with poor performance on the server. We have a pretty good one, but man-o-man,
when I drop a package to 100 clients the lights dim. It works, but the server is certainly doing SOMETHING with
all that power.

Good luck. Let me know if you want me to send you some of the stuff I've got (scripts etc.). We can certainly
take this off-line as well.

Answered 08/26/2006 by: dsteffer
Yellow Belt

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Yeah, I agree we should have had training or onsite implementation, and thats not Symantec's fault. I am just frustrated with the documentation they have on this product, and how inconsistent they work when implemented on our site.

We do have some consultants coming to help us with the product, but they have had to reschedule due to availability issues. Untill that point, we will still try to work with Symantec support to try to get our current issues resolved.
Answered 08/28/2006 by: Timanator
Third Degree Blue Belt

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