1 Year Road Test Review for Symantec LiveState

We've been using Symantec LiveState Delivery (SLD) for approximately a year. We are a medium sized environment with one remote WAN site and we used SLD to migrate the company to Windows XP (from Windows 2000). SLD provides tools to allow a "No Touch" migration. It also allows packaging and deploying of applications.


No Touch Migration / Deployment / Imaging
Almost any installation can be packaged and deployed
Package dependencies and exclusions allow for greater control in your environment
Very flexible, if you have the knowledge
Centrally Managed


Steep Learning Curve
Advanced documentation lacking, although Tier 2 support is very knowledgeable
Packaged installs are not "enforced", ala GPO
No data migration tools are fully integration, 3rd party tools are needed

Installation and Support:

When SLD is purchased, they recommend a 1 week onsite consultation to get everything installed and running. We decided to try and get it running ourselves. I only recommend doing this if you are HIGHLY technical. For the most part, I was successful. Had more advanced documentation been available, I would've been able to work through some of the issues we encountered. Symantec tech support was very helpful.

The setup process has been significantly improved since the CCM and iCommand versions. There has also been considerable effort by Symantec to make the product more user friendly.

Symantec does update the product on a frequent basis as well. Many of the bugs that I reported were addressed in future patches.

Currently, all support appears to reside within the U.S.


Packaging is great. We came from a GPO only environment, but we now have the freedom to use many other installation types. MSI’s are supported, as well as any other type that can be command line drive. There is also an included utility to script installations by capturing the actual code behind buttons and options used during an install. Think macro recorder, but capturing the actual code instead of mouse positions, etc. You can also have package dependencies and exclusions, which work out great if you are updating apps on a regular basis. Another really cool feature is the ability to use variables, conditions, and user input for packages.
Example: AutoCAD requires a unique serial number. With GPO, you’re stuck with your one install, or you have 10 GPO’s. With SLD, I can add parameters that will prompt the admin for the proper serial when assigning the package to the PC. This will then inject the proper serial number into the MSI and the install will then be unique. If you created a Stand Alone Network install with the AutoCAD deployment tools, you can also make the install Auto Activate.
I can’t get into all the ways this can be used, but I’ve found many uses already. We’ve been able to package over 90% of our apps, a feat that would be nearly impossible using GPO and MSI only installs. I am still working towards our goal of 100%. [8|]

Data Migration:

Symantec ships Client Migration 3.0 with SLD. To be able to use this in a large environment, a SQL server is recommended. Even then, we would get sporadic results. In the end, we decided to user Microsoft’s User State Migration Tool (USMT). This worked out incredibly well, the migrations were predictable and reliable.

In conclusion, I really can’t image life the way it was before SLD. I really enjoy the control, flexibility, standardization, and convenience it brings to the table. I love the fact that I can set a PC on the bench, and within an hour or two have it imaged and all the standard apps installed. All hands off. This applies to 1 or 100 PC’s. My co-worker also agrees that SLD has really enhanced our capabilities and streamlined our processes. He came from a semi-managed environment and can really see the benefits of a well implemented system.

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Answers (7)

Posted by: Timanator 14 years ago
Third Degree Blue Belt
Thats pretty impressive.

Did you document anything along the way? We are 3 month in to our Livestate process. With no Implementation so far from anyone either, but about to purchase some from Symantec. Any recommandation and tips for the rest of us that do not have this product working very well yet? Maybe some best practices and tutorials on certain aspect like Creation of Image with Livestate, How to do a hands free deploy and such process which are not documented well.
Posted by: Nuke 14 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt
Thanks [8D]

"...not documented well" implies that documentation exists [;)]

I let support know about the poor documentation everytime I call. Calling support should be high up on the list, though. They have direct communication with the Engineers and usually do get a fix for most things.

I am also working on a high level doc that reviews the gotcha's and other aspects of imaging. I'll make it a seperate topic to keep discussion relevant. I should have it finished in the next day or so.


Posted by: deploymaster 14 years ago
Yellow Belt
We have been using LSD for about a year, let me know if you have any questions
Posted by: Nuke 14 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt
What are your thoughts on the product? After the pains of setup, I think it was all worth it. Do you share this feeling?

Tim and I were just thinking that no one else was using LiveState... LOL
Posted by: dsteffer 14 years ago
Yellow Belt
I don't think there are a lot of people in LiveState that know about AppDeploy.

We've been using it now for about 6 months, and it's already been a sea-change in how we do business.
We had Altiris, and I wonder how they ever get any business any more. It was a disaster. LiveState is
so much more flexible, though I'd agree that the learning curve is pretty steep. We got the one week
consulting, and it was not completely worthless -- I made him build the server about 6 times before I'd let
him leave. I do think that if you're technically savvy you could do it on your own, but I'd recommend the
training -- fantastic. Those guys know what they're doing.

We've now spent about twice what we had on Altiris, and it's been worth every penny. Our capabilities are
increased so much that I can't stand the thought of looking back. We've just now gotten to the point where
we can look at re-building our infrastructure with one button, though that does require a LiveState server
actually in place first.
Posted by: Nuke 14 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt
Thats great, glad to hear that others are having success with SLD. We had 1 day onsite consultation and had to use it early to due imaging not working, this was September 2005.

Did you attend any advanced packaging classes? Thats the one area I know I'm only scraping the surface.

I have a package that will move a PC to it's proper OU in AD after imaging, but if the PC is reset it errors out because it's already in the correct OU. I'm trying to get some if statements working, they work fine outside of SLD. But when ran by the agent, they just don't work the same.

Any documentation that you could share?


Posted by: dsteffer 14 years ago
Yellow Belt
No, sorry. We deal with two separate domains, so when we integrate a machine it's already in the right place in
the AD. We create everything up front so it's done right, and though it takes a little work at this point (we don't
yet have scripts helping us) it's still a hell of a lot better than the other solution (read: Altiris).

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