Altiris Web Admin Review
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This article is based on the testing and evaluation data compiled from a formal testing plan that I created. Check out our full review of Altiris Web Admin for SMS, an add-on product designed to give SMS support staff more flexibility. Web Admin is served from any Microsoft IIS 4.0 or greater Web server on the same LAN as the Primary SMS server.
Product Overview: Web Admin for SMS is an add-on product designed to give SMS support staff more flexibility. Web Admin is served from any Microsoft IIS 4.0 or greater web server on the same LAN as the Primary SMS server. After a simple install the product is configured with your SMS server information. There are two versions; Professional and Enterprise. Professional is basically a read-only web version of the MMC. Enterprise provides nearly all the same functionality as the MMC with the exception of deleting clients from collections. Security is provided from SMS.
Testing and Evaluation Overview: The testing was performed on the same LAN as the Web Admin and at sites connected by 256k WAN links. I asked support staff at 5 sites to follow directions in the standard testing packs that I created. The testing packs gave specific directions for obtaining metrics for performance comparisons of the MMC vs. Web Admin. I also asked them multiple questions about the usefulness, design and flexibility of the Web Admin. My plan tested remote control, return of queries and collections and creating queries.
Results: I was a bit surprised with our testing results. The performance metrics indicated only a very small performance increase of the Web Admin over the MMC and only in a couple of tests. Also, the Web Admin actually did worse in some tests. Overall, performance is pretty equal.
Despite the negligible performance difference, my testers preferred Web Admin for several reasons: It works on Windows 9x platforms and can be accessed from any web browser in the enterprise. The web interface was popular. The product has many time saving features; for example, it remembers the last PC you remote controlled and the last query you ran, etc. Any page from the Web Admin can be accessed directly from a link.
Another nice feature of this product is customization. Being that it's a web app you can add links to pages within Web Admin for SMS. Functions within the product like connection time-outs and the number of returned rows from collections or queries can be adjusted to your liking.
My recommendation: Buy it. While it may not buy you any performance increases, the flexibility and interface will save you time. It's cheap as well -- pricing is based on concurrent licenses (simultaneously opened consoles), with per license costs of around $250 for the Professional edition and $350 for the Enterprise version.
The company provides a full featured production version for a 30-day evaluation period.
For more information about this product go to the Altiris Web Admin Web site.
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