Systems Management Question

Alternative to Altiris Deployment Solution

02/09/2016 4087 views
We currently use Altiris Deployment Solution by Symantec for all our Windows Deployment. We have looked into the Dell K.A.C.E. system, but they use a nonstandard multicast protocol for Cisco Equipment. We need a system that can multicast across subnets, push software packages and scripts from it, deploy Windows 7 and Windows 10 Enterprise, and do unattended deployments. We like Altiris DS 6.9 but DS 7 platform is terrible. It uses Internet Explorer and Silverlight which are two archaic softwares. We are a university with about 1500 computers. Does anyone have a product they are using that does what Altiris DS does?

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as previous commenter's have mentioned, SCCM could be a good solution, but there are many others on the market. Have you had a look at RMSi?
Warning  I work for the company.
Other solutions might be LanDesk, Matrix42 ....

Answered 02/10/2016 by: Pressanykey
Red Belt


If you have a MS enterprise volume licence, you might be able to use SCCM. Its a lot of work to setup, but once its done (properly!!!) you'll love it.

In regards to KACE, give them or Cisco a shout - they must have a solution for this issue.

Answered 02/10/2016 by: rileyz
Red Belt

  • i got a meeting today with our network guy and dell's kace engineers. hopefully that goes well. i have heard of sccm but have zero experience with it or know where to even start.
    • I'm interested to hear what you find. We were not able to get multicast working across subnets on our network.
      • so the dell kace system supports only the PGM network protocol though they said they are looking to add or change to either PIM Sparse mode or IGMP sometime this year most likely. They have looked at others but those two are the most requested. seeings how we use a Nexus OM Core we have to have the PIM Sparse mode because we are all cisco with our networking.
We recently moved from Altiris 6.9 to a K2000 for imaging and lost the ability to multicast in the process. Thankfully our network is fast enough that we haven't been impacted too greatly. We image many of our computers on a Gig link and it takes about 20 minutes for the image to go down. On a 100MB link it's a little longer. When imaging labs in the field we do try to limit to five or six computers at a time so large labs do take a little while longer to get done, but you can schedule the imaging to happen on selected devices ahead of time.

We also use a K1000 for package distribution. The appliance is better than Altiris in some ways, mostly due to the use of smart labels which give you great flexibility for targeting machines. The feature of Altiris that I miss the most is how scripts are scheduled. With Altiris you can run a script on a machine and if it isn't powered on Altiris will send a wake on lan packet and wait for the machine to come online. With the K1000 if the machine is offline it fails to run. There also isn't a good way to run a script again, in Altiris you just had to right click, run again, but in KACE you need to setup the task from the beginning a second time, this is very frustrating at times.

Overall I think we are happy with the move from Altiris to the Dell KACE products. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Answered 02/10/2016 by: chucksteel
Red Belt

  • so how big is your actual image you push and how many machines at a time do you push?
    • With Windows 10 we moved to a scripted install so we don't have an actual image. The standard software load includes:
      CD Burner Xp
      Google Chrome
      Flash Player
      Adobe ReaderDC
      Dell Command|Configure
      Google Earth
      Microsoft Endpoint
      Microsoft Office 2013
      Windows Movie Maker

      In our setup room where we image staff machines we have a switch setup where we image 10 machines at a time over a Gig link. It takes about 20 or 30 minutes for them all to complete. I created a custom KBE that automatically deploys the standard install so we just have to select it from the PXE boot screen and move onto the next computer then come back when they are all done. Our machines also have SSD drives which helps with the speed.
      • see the issue with us is we have some massive software on each machine because we are a university. my image is in the neighborhood of 150GB. Roughly 110 programs get installed.
      • I also work in higher ed but we make efforts to keep our main image as small as possible. We also have put a lot of effort into setting up managed installs on the K1000 for software distribution. This allows us to deploy software after the fact for labs that need it. For instance, if a lab needs SPSS, Mathematica, and MatLab that can happen after the machines are imaged and in place. I prefer thin imaging when possible and the KACE appliances help make that possible.
      • well because we have so many different departments and software needs, to avoid having to have massive amounts of images we include into a few. some of the softwares we have to use are autodesk, arcgis, adobe cc, solidworks, visual studio 2012 so pushing those out through the network to all those machines takes longer than having on big image that goes out
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