$30 per node
This is very much an all-round set of tools for systems administrators to look after the entire network and manage all its different functions. As expected, this is a very complex set of tools that will require a lot of work in preparation to make the most of the vastness of its scope. Prior planning is recommended.
Installation was completed via a series of dialog boxes that checked to see whether we had the prerequisite software loaded on the target machine.
After installation of the product on to our test Windows Server 2003 boxes, which sets up the core server and the associated database, most of the work is performed via the console.
The console has improved over the years and is now simpler in appearance, with tabbed windows and workspaces that are easy to create. Here it is easy to manage system activities and configure desktop operations.
The best part of the software is the ability to manage the patching process across heterogenous environments. So administrators with Linux, Mac and Solaris kit in their infrastructure should welcome this handy tool.
As far as malware removal is concerned, it boasts a handy feature in spyware detection for Windows-based computers.
Another security feature is the "connection control manager." Basically, this lets systems administrators disable various functions and ports on the computer, such as USB ports, removable media drives, bluetooth, modem and wireless connections. This can be done on a per computer basis.
Documentation comes as PDFs on one of the disks provided by the vendor. To say it is comprehensive would be an understatement, because it covers just about everything you could hope to do with the product. But with this type of very complex software, printed material would make the process of managing the software a little bit easier.
This product is probably one of the most comprehensive management suites on the market today. It can touch just about everything that has a chip inside it and give the administrator very good visibility of the network. But it will require someone to sit down and really plan things out before even opening the packaging.