LANDesk Rolls Out Process Manager 2.0

LANDesk—which was recently acquired by Avocent and will remain an independent operation alongside the Huntsville, Ala.-based KVM vendor—ultimately sees itself charting a course toward becoming a lower-cost, midmarket-friendly alternative to big-iron enterprise network management products such as IBM Tivoli, Hewlett-Packard's OpenView, BMC Software's Atrium and CA's UniCenter, said Kevin Auger, director of service management solutions at Salt Lake City-based LANDesk.

Altiris and Configuresoft are charting the same course and, like the big-iron vendors, already offer a configuration management database (CMDB) component that optimizes network performance along the lines of ITIL, according to executives at both companies. A CMDB likely will soon arrive from LANDesk, Auger said.

Process Manager 2.0, which was built from tools LANDesk won in its January acquisition of NewRoad Software, adds new levels of network change management by extending the reach of the LANDesk Management Suite from PCs and workstations to servers and other network devices, Auger said.

Features that enable administrators to automate processes like user access, application changes, security and software patching across the entire network also are part of the new offering, he said. With Process Manager, LANDesk partners can provide a network management road map to midmarket customers, including compliance reporting for when customers begin to need it, and approach larger customers with LANDesk solutions, he said.

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Don Hornschuck, president of Aegis Technical Services, a Portland, Ore.-based solution provider that has been a LANDesk partner for more than two years, said that what the vendor is doing with its product is bringing a more affordable, high-end network management system to the midmarket.

"Where I see them coming into play is as a true enterprise solution and one that fits into various market sizes," Hornschuck said.

He added that the Tivolis and OpenViews of the world often work best only in large enterprises. "Where with LANDesk you now can approach a midmarket client and talk about ITIL and compliance and stay within budget," he said.

LANDesk's CMDB vision is not complete, Auger said. What's still needed is an IT asset mapping component with financial tools that can better manage hardware and software licensing and other network costs, he said. Hewlett-Packard in September acquired Peregrine Systems to get such an asset mapping tool for its CMDB ambitions. Altiris already has a CMDB component in place for its network management suite, said Matt French, director of product marketing at Altiris, Lindon, Utah.

French agrees with LANDesk that traditionally mid- and upper-level midmarket solutions are rapidly becoming capable of doing everything the enterprise platforms can, but at a lower price. Altiris can beat the price of IBM, HP and BMC on any given day, he said.

"Our CMDB solution is already in place and used by midtier organizations and many enterprises as well," French said.

The Altiris Total Management Suite, which includes all Altiris products, starts at about $203 per node, according to the vendor.

Configuresoft is not threatened by competitive improvements being made to LANDesk's products, said Andrew Bird, vice president of marketing, at Configuresoft. The seven-year old, Colorado Springs, Colo.-based vendor has 400 customers and aims to boost its indirect sales from the current mark of 20 percent of total sales, he said.

Configuresoft differentiates itself from LANDesk providing better visibility into changes that may hinder network performance or corrupt compliance, according to Bird. LANDesk is more about automating the process of pushing out needed changes to network clients, he said. The speed in which Configuresoft can be deployed also makes it a better, more affordable choice for enterprises than IBM Tivoli, he added.

BMC sees itself as already in position to span the midmarket and enterprise market for network management platforms that operate with a CMDB, said Andrej Vlahcevic, senior product marketing manager for change and configuration management at BMC, Houston. With BMC Configuration Manager working in conjunction with Atrium, BMC can serve nearly any size customer, he said.

LANDesk Process Manager 2.0 starts at $35,000 for any company with fewer than 1,000 employees, increasing to $190,000 for any enterprise with more than 10,000 employees, according to LANDesk.