BigFix Enterprise Server
Strengths: The product is so feature-rich it is impossible to mention all of them.
Weaknesses: We really couldn’t find one.
Verdict: A true top shelf product with easier administration than most, while still including a massive number of features. We rate this our Best Buy.
SummaryThe BigFix Enterprise Server (BES) is a highly scalable software environment. The tiered structure of BES allows installation with a minimum of additional hardware required. In small deployments, it is possible that additional hardware may not be necessary.
The server that downloads the fixlets from the service at BigFix needs to be a Windows 2000 or a Windows 2003 server. The server is the only part of the installation which touches the internet. For scalability purposes, BES also can use existing devices as relays. Not only do these relays help reduce overhead on the BES server, but they also reduce network traffic. In a large environment, a relay can be deployed at each geographical location to save bandwidth.
The server only downloads the fixlet messages. The console is where the policy is created. The major component of the network access control from the BES offering is the client firewall, which is configured and set for deployment on the console. This firewall can be configured to block traffic from machines which do not meet the defined policy for the agents. The BES Client software (also known as the BES Agent) can be installed on almost any release of Windows, including 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, Server 2003 and XP. The BES Client can also run on Red Hat Linux, SUSE Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, Macintosh OS X and AIX.
The installation of BES is simple and the policy configuration is logically laid out and this leads to a very flat learning curve.
BigFix includes 24/7/365 support to all users with no additional charge. There are extended options, such as the premium offering, which gives priority and faster access than standard support to engineers. The free support includes a toll-free number, as well as email. The website has a knowledge base and FAQs. All documentation is available online in the form of PDFs. These are well laid out, and a quick read will provide all the information needed for basic deployment, configuration and operation.
The pricing for the BES is based on per seat licensing. The per seat fees are $5 per user and $15 for each server. This puts the BES product at the low end of the price spectrum.