Software Deployment Question

Marimba - Your opinion please

08/24/2006 9927 views

I'm looking at new Desktop manangement suites as we're moving away from the big red N / Z.
Would very much like your opinions on the Marimba suite, OS deployment - Software delivery - Managability (administrative overhead) - reporting capabilities....etc


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I have not personally worked with a Marimba implementation but I did work with a packager that recently was part of a Marimba implementation. He didn't like it and thought it was buggy. I dunno I haven't work with a desktop management product that I would give glowing reviews to so maybe someone on here with more experience could give the good and bad about the product.
Answered 08/24/2006 by: kkaminsk
9th Degree Black Belt

  • I am forced to work with, or workaround, I should say, Marimba everyday. It is absolutely the worst software install scheme I've ever seen. Its worse than BMC's other joke, Remedy...which we also must suffer through.
    It is painfully slow. It pushes software in its own sweet time, not as soon as it loads, and it wants to reboot after installing each app or even the tiniest patch. This equates to about 50 million times on a common XP image. The actual number of reboots is really about 30 but when youre fixing 4-5 BSODs a day, it feels like 50 million. But even 30 reboots is ridiculous, who has time for that?
    Our users here, and I'm at a giant insurance company everyone has heard of, are told that a re-image of their laptop takes at least 2-3 days while we wait for Marimba to push software. And even then, it continues to push for days later at the user's desk or home once they have their machine back.
    Now here's the REALLY good part. Marimba itself is responsible for almost ALL of the BSODs we get here, because of its haphazard and untimely method of installs. Almost everybody who crashes here says the last thing they saw before the BSOD was a Marimba push dialog box.
BMC CM (formerly known as Marimba) is currently in version 7.02.

I love the tool because it is so customizable.
With the new patch tool that is capable of distributing to windows, aix, hp-ux, and solaris this tool has come a long way.

The latest features are sometime buggy durring a version change but who as a software vendor doesn't have a few bugs when releaseing new code into a customized environment as complex as networks today.

All in all the Software distrubution software from version 6 forward is very stable. This product does add AD schema objects ... but they are registered with \microsoft and it doesn't modify any objects other than its, own.

The Report Center builder tool is not the best but the avaliablity of direct sql reports in the interface makes up for the default tool.

the scan engine is very lightweight... I accedently launched a scan on an exeutives laptop over a wan connect accross a wireless card durring a Powerpoint Presentation and he didn't even know he had been deployed to.

just my 2 cents

Answered 08/29/2006 by: tadorm
Yellow Belt

It's hard to tell what the true Root Cause of problems are in a Corporate Technology Environmnet. You never know if it's something to do with AD, DNS, Group Policy, or BMC Marimba. An example of my experience today was to connect to a remote PC tuner and wait for 60 seconds while it established the connection. Then sort installed packages by either Alphabetical or Date Installed so I can find the one I am looking to replace. Don't know why they don't sort using one of those 2 methods by Default. I subscribe to my new Package and must disconnect so it can correctly refresh itself. Why can't it simply refresh itself as expected??? For some reason Disconnect takes 60 seconds. Then reconnect (another 60 seconds). I see my package is subscribed so I choose to install it. ... Nothing happens. I refresh. Nothing happens. Then I remember that sometimes I must disconnect from the Remote Tuner and reconnect for it to actually refresh itself. Why why why? And of course each disconnect and reconnect to remote tuner is slow. Finally, I see my new software package has successfully installed and removed the old one. Everything on my part worked fine, but BMC Marimba sure made it as difficult as possible. I'm not sure if other products are better, but I could not imagine them being much worse.
Answered 12/02/2010 by: troy_in_wi
Orange Belt

With regards software delivery, I initially thought Marimba was poor but it did eventually grow on me. I don't use it any more, but most of the GUI was java-based and it didn't look great. More like one of those clunky 16bit apps I guess. But anyway, like most other tools it ties in nicely with Active Directory and, when an application is policied to a user/machine, displays it to the user in a web-based GUI (which was....errrm.....sometimes quite buggy).

There is a capability to remotely configure an endpoint 'silently', which is good. It allows you to customise your deployments with pre/post customisation scripts (batch, exe, vbscripts etc etc), which came in quite handy. And also enabled you to set dependencies (although you couldn't set the dependency to uninstall when the main app was uninstalled - hence you'd have to do it from a customisation). Importing large applications (you know - those ugly Autodesk installs etc) posed an issue due to the large file count.

Support for it was slightly pants, as not a great deal of people use it. And hence trying to find out specialist functionality is a bit of a nightmare. It took me a couple of weeks to properly use macros in customisations etc. Reporting was also poor - I'm sure it only searched for exe's on endpoints as opposed to Marimba channel status? And even that was flaky. Though I stand to be corrected on that.

In the end I thought it was an effective tool - but this was once the correct infrastructure was fully in place. I.e. - make sure you have enough Marimba repeaters scattered around in the busiest locations of your company, make sure you have good network links to those locations, make sure you throttle the network bandwidth in the most effective way, make sure you configure replication to take place at the right times/frequency.

If I was looking at changing my IT infrastructure, I'd look into something that can handle virtualised packages as well as installer packages. Virtualised apps definately reduce TCO. If your organization has packaging monkeys (who don't do installer regression testing or perform junk cleaning) then you'd be safer with virtualised apps. VMWare and Microsoft have solutions for this. I use SCCM nowadays, and although I've not looked into it much, on the face of it reporting seems far better. You can also install R2 components which gives you the ability to deploy App-V virtualised apps as well as your legacy installer packages. But I believe you get shafted on support contracts with Microsoft products (I've never checked myself - that was 'word on the street'...), and hence many organisations look for cheaper solutions. A big advantage for me of VMWare virtualisation at the moment is that there is (I believe) a solution to virtualise IE6 (there isn't currently with App-v) which could save a big headache if you ever migrate to Windows 7.
Answered 12/03/2010 by: captain_planet
Black Belt

We are using marimba (BMC CM) for over 2 years in our company (3500 PC, 2 mirrors and 35 repeaters) and I've seen better product. We always had replication issues with slow site. On server where console where available, the java.exe was taking 100% cpu. We had to stop the service and restart it. I had many other issues but WE had to find a workaround due of poor support (they need logs, logs and more logs.....)

Now, we are migrating to SCCM. I also used Altiris and it was good.

There is no "the best" deployment solution, every has Pros and Cons
Answered 12/13/2010 by: darkfang
Blue Belt

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