LANDesk Management Suite
$80 per node
Versatility, options; general functionality.
Might be a little too much for some.
A very comprehensive suite of applications for the corporate network.
The LANDesk Management Suite is much more than just an auditing tool. It is a comprehensive group of tools for generally managing a corporate network which might include large numbers of clients.
As such, it is more complex than some of the products tested here, and requires a more in-depth understanding on the part of the administrator. It also requires, as pointed out in the documentation, proper planning before roll-out across a network.
The principles of operation are familiar, with a core server and database interacting with deployed agents in order to gather data and perform tasks.
Also familiar is a console application which provides the user interface to manage activities and configure operations as necessary.
Functionality is comprehensive, with provision for security patch management, software distribution, inventory scanning, software license monitoring, scheduled reports and more. Some layers are available via add-ins such as Asset Manager and Patch Manager.
Documentation is provided via the usual PDF format manuals, although with a product of this scope and complexity, we would have preferred printed manuals to be supplied, enabling a much easier approach to planning and deployment.
Installation is logical enough, and the install dialogs include the provision to check target machines for the necessary prerequisites.
This is a good idea, because some of these prerequisites might not necessarily be installed in typical setups, although it would have been nice to also provide the freely available updates on the installation disks. Both Novell and Microsoft server environments are supported.
LANDesk Management Suite is unlikely to be an impulse buy. Interested users would therefore be well advised to research beforehand on the LANDesk website and in other resources, planning and scoping their own requirements in the process.
The good news is that it is one of the most comprehensive network management tools around, and it is unlikely you will have a requirement that it cannot meet.
Be prepared to invest some time in planning and deployment, and this product will serve you well for some time to come.