Comment As companies go, Altiris has managed to garner huge recognition over the course of the last few years as a supplier of the management tools that today are essential to administer much of the distributed IT infrastructure.
Perhaps best known for its Asset, Change Management and Software Deployment solutions the company has become a key player in the IT areas where the importance of automation, knowledge and control capabilities cannot be underestimated. Now the company has increased its portfolio of offerings with the release of the Altiris Software Virtualisation Solution (SVS).
SVS has been designed to address the problems associated with the deployment of application software to desktop devices. The use of 'virtualisation' capabilities in the new Altiris solution can help organisations alleviate many of problems associated with software conflicts that are commonly encountered. In addition, the use of SVS could speed application deployment making it simpler for IT to help align IT usage with rapidly fluctuating alterations to business requirements.
SVS works on the principle of abstracting files and desktop registry settings associated with the installation of an application. Altiris SVS makes use of some of the company's own patent pending technology to put application and configuration data into 'virtual units' that affect just how the application's files and registry settings are installed, not how they are utilised or run in operations. No customisation of the application is required and users of the application are, to all intents and purposes, unaware of the involvement of SVS.
Central administration of SVS can be achieved using the extensive family of Altiris management tools. However, it should be noted that SVS has also been designed to interoperate with other desktop management offerings such as Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS). Indeed Altiris plans to release an SMS console snap-in for SVS administration. The snap-in will be available in the near future without charge.
Altiris is pricing the Software Virtualisation Solution at £18.90 per node with volume discounts available. The company is also providing a free personal use license; this could prove attractive, for example, to organisations that have taken advantage of Microsoft's Home Use Program.
Altiris has a slightly different interpretation of application 'virtualisation' to that with which some people may be familiar. This is most apparent to those capabilities provided by desktop virtualisation tools such as those supplied by VMware and Microsoft. Altiris will need to address this issue during its promotion of SVS.
There is every likelihood that Altiris SVS will attract the attention of its existing user base. However SVS deserves consideration of an even larger audience. It will be interesting to see how broadly Altiris can spread the message and how quickly SVS is adopted in organisations large and small.
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