Altiris speaks in terms of "lifecycle management," by which it means managing your IT-related assets throughout their useful term of operation. This is enabled by the provision of a core Notification Server, to which might be added a Server Provisioning Suite, a Client Management Suite , (CMS), and an Asset Management Suite, (AMS). The Altiris brochure also describes a utility named the Wise Package Studio which, as you might expect, provides for software distribution.
The Altiris Console follows a familiar pane approach, with tabs to select different elements such as tasks, reports, and so on, but the presentation is very slick.
Altiris also provides localization in six languages, a useful factor perhaps for multinationals.
The CMS provides the fundamental auditing capabilities of hardware and software inventory management, including facilities for software deployment and patch management.
The AMS will appeal particularly to the larger organization that has a valuable fixed asset inventory, the scope of which might also include phones, printers, network components, and less obvious items such as desks and chairs.
Such a tool can prove invaluable in helping to understand both the true value and the rolling costs of an organization's assets. AMS facilitates this with a logical approach, well integrated with the Altiris core concept.
The Server Management Suite might also appeal to a distinct audience as a single product (together with the Altiris Notification Server). It enables the monitoring and maintenance of servers from a central location. This could be especially valuable for patch management and performance monitoring in a repeatable, organized fashion.
The strength of this product lies in its careful integration and consistent presentation. This approach might also aid learning if subsequent modules are purchased, because the user will be in a familiar environment. However, a large comprehensive deployment might be a little expensive. Horses for courses.