While you would expect a handpicked customer panel at a vendor user group meeting to favor the vendor's product, it was interesting to hear the breadth of benefits cited by LANDesk customers at the company's Interchange conference in Florida last week.
I led a panel discussion about the use of the LANDesk Management Suite that featured Christopher Gagne, system administrator at Lahey Clinic in Mass.; Thien-An Hua, systems administrator at Edmonds School District in Washington; Sheila Lipe, senior systems analyst for Conde Nast Publications in New York; and Bill Reeves, IT/IS administrator at CF Industries in Long Grove, Ill. They all use the core suite and various optional features.
Gagne, for example, who manages 3,600 desktops and 200 servers, likes LANDesk's software-deployment capabilities. Before LANDesk was installed, it took the clinic a whole weekend to deploy one particular application, and now it takes roughly six hours. Lahey doesn't use LANDesk's antivirus or spyware modules, but Gagne says he likes how easy it is to tie LANDesk to his Symantec tools.
Hua brought in LANDesk for remote control of 7,000 machines at 38 locations. Although that functionality still is critical, he really likes the antivirus and spyware capabilities. His existing tools were falling down on the job, he says. "It was hard to know what signatures were up-to-date on what, and the central console only kind of worked."
Hua's main gripe: The system didn't seem to update all machines all the time. "Random registry settings would cause problems," he says, and some 20 percent of machines wouldn't update correctly. LANDesk was easy to install and is easy to use, he says. The console lets him see all 7,000 nodes and what has been updated, and easily push fixes when necessary.
Lipe installed LANDesk to handle Microsoft patches for 3,000 desktops, but she says the spyware component provides the biggest benefit. She gets daily spyware updates and has enabled autofix so spyware is removed before it becomes a problem.
"We used to get 10 to 30 cases of spyware per day," she says. "Some we could address, but for others it was simply easier to re-image the machine. It got to the point where we were re-imaging one machine per day out. After turning LANDesk's spyware capabilities on, "the spyware caseload dropped to 30 per month and we haven't had to re-image one machine," Lipe says.
Reeves cited LANDesk's remote-control capabilities. He manages a couple hundred machines at a fertilizer manufacturing plant that is a mile long. "We went from four to five campus field calls per day to four to five per week," he says.