in Competitor Product Studies

LANDesk Management Suite 9.5 vs Goverlan

“ [With Goverlan’s Scope Actions,] you can create an action that detects a PC’s architecture, deletes a file that may or may not be present on the target, deploys an executable installer file to the target, and creates a registry key to configure that software—all from a single action.”

by Jonathan Hassell

Author, consultant and speaker on a variety of IT topics. His published works includes Learning Windows Server 2003 from O’Reilly, and his work appears regularly in such periodicals as Windows IT Pro, PC Pro and TechNet Magazine. He also speaks worldwide on topics ranging from networking and security to Windows administration.

http://www.jonathanhassell.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you want a tool that will help you tame the beasts within your network? Do you want a tool that will give you a unified view of all of the clients on your network and help you manage one or more of them at the same time, all from the comfort of your workstation? Both Goverlan Remote Administration Suite version 7 and LANDesk Management Suite version 9.5 purport to offer this rolled up view of your network all from a single pane of glass. But which product will better fit your needs? Let’s take a look at each of the offerings and see where they are comparable and where they differ.

Product Features

Both Goverlan and LANDesk have similar network management capabilities. They both use agent software installed on client machines to expose management operations to administrators. Each product lets you query information about devices on your network as well as execute processes, perform actions, report on status and configuration, and more. Both products operate from a Windows console based application, but LANDesk also has the ability to operate from a web-based application. While this is a convenient feature for solving problems quickly no matter where an administrator is, I preferred the better response time and more fully featured console clients that both products offered.

One unique feature of LANDesk is the ability to touch and manage clients outside the boundaries of a corporate network through the Management Gateway feature. You purchase a specialized appliance (this is a cost in addition to that of the LANdesk Management Suite product itself) that sits within your network and then use the LANdesk consoles to remotely control, manage, perform actions on, block, and otherwise manage clients wherever they are on the Internet. Goverlan manages client machines within the enterprise network only, and while Goverlan supports remote control of clients over the Internet, it is not possible to initiate management actions on clients outside of that remote control session.

A win for Goverlan’s column on the scorecard is the Scope Actions tool, which allows you to easily define a scope of targets—they could be users, computers or groups—using powerful filtering and selection criteria. Then you can define the administrative actions to perform on that scope, which can be essentially anything Windows permits you to do, including Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) queries, and run those actions either on an ad-hoc, scheduled or recurring basis. Scope actions can be quite complex, with multiple steps and dependencies. For example, you can create an action that detects a PC’s architecture, deletes a file that may or may not be present on the target, deploys an executable installer file to the target, and creates a registry key to configure that software—all from a single action. You can configure the action to only happen if certain properties are true or false as well. Scope actions are very flexible and can support even complex scenarios that might occur in day to day operations for an administrator.

“ It would take a major investment in training, both in terms of time and money, to fully understand and learn how to manage a network using LANDesk. Goverlan, however, boasts a tight, easy to use interface that is quick and responsive–one that I have found is easy to be productive with in just minutes.”

LANDesk has a complicated deployment and rollout strategy that involves a couple of different types of servers: one type that provides the basic infrastructure and management services to administrators, and then a database server that stores the records for the application. These roles can be installed on a single server for moderate use but do require some management and in larger deployment, an additional license for full-blown SQL Server is required. In contrast, Goverlan is a lightweight installable product that requires no servers to use as a fully-featured solution (there is a central administration server available but it is included with all licenses at no additional cost.)

It isn’t just deployment that is complicated in LANDesk; configuring the service and managing day to day operations can often be a bear. It would take a major investment in training, both in terms of time and money, to fully understand and learn how to manage a network using LANDesk. Goverlan, however, boasts a tight, easy to use interface that is quick and responsive–one that I have found is easy to be productive with in just minutes.

LANDesk Management Suite has a special emphasis on software distribution and license management. Multiple options are available for packaging and automating the installation of software as well as bare metal builds of client computers with no operating system. Goverlan does not really focus on software distribution; while it can kick off installation program, it does not assist with packaging or reporting.

In terms of client operating system support, management functions are available for most recent and vintage Windows operating systems in both products, while LANDesk expands management capabilities to Macintosh clients as well as various editions of Linux, Solaris, and HP UX.


Pricing and Support

While Goverlan’s Remote Administration Suite is priced at $699 per administrator with no client node fee, LANDesk does their pricing on a per-user basis as well; however, the cost is much higher, on the order of System Center Configuration Manager from Microsoft. Goverlan provides bulk discounts off list price for their products. LANDesk pricing is negotiated.

Goverlan provides 90 days of live technical support, and non-expiring e-mail support, with every license, and you can purchase one or two year extended maintenance which offers live technical support and upgrade coverage.. According to the LANDesk corporate website, customers can use 24×7 pay-for telephone based support, dedicated support resources, online self-service, system health checks, e-learning, and tech support in English, French, German, and Japanese.

The Verdict

LANdesk is a very capable software product that finds itself right at home in large, cross platform organizations that have a specific need for a solution that emphasizes software package distribution and license management. If those elements are not central to your network management strategy, then you can save a ton of money and get substantial management and control features in an easier to deploy package by choosing Goverlan Remote Administration Suite v7.

 

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