A Week with Altiris

Last week I had a posse of Symantec product specialists in my office (the WHOLE week) to help me stand up a brand new Symantec/Altiris 7.1 CMS environment.  The goal is to replace four different helpdesk’s CMS solutions (including the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit stuff I am currently maintaining for one of them) with this shiny new Altiris product.

There’s just one problem with last week’s engagement: During the initial install for Altiris, I had a single setting that “wasn’t optimized”. Just that one setting was enough to make the first three days of work pretty stressful for everyone and not nearly as smooth as it ought to be. This was no fault of Symantec but because it took so long to address the individual symptoms, by the time we identified the root cause of the problems we had already fixed all the issues associated with it. Our environment is up and looking good (although we have yet to insert the actual software and deployment images we’ll be using Altiris for). Before the Symantec gang left, they helped to  identify the appropriate next steps that I’ll be working on this next few weeks. All in all, the week was a success and we’re on a good path for fully switching over to the new CMS system.

…But I’ve got this nagging in the back of my head that my environment isn’t perfect because of that one wrong setting. I’m king of CMS at the office right now. When working with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, I must have erased everything and installed it again 10 times before I felt like I had it just right. I wish it would be an easy call to do the same with Altiris, but now it’s not just my time – I would be throwing away an extremely valuable week’s worth of collaborated effort and the stakes are a lot higher. I have to champion Altiris and help prove its worth to four different Helpdesk teams, so what do I do? I don’t have an answer for this yet and it might not even by my call to make.

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