Tally beefs up software to manage mobile users

With the rising number of mobile users needing IT support, Tally Systems Inc. Monday released TS.Ready 4.0, which offers tools to help extend PC management to workers constantly on the move.

The software features dynamic bandwidth control, restart controls when transmissions are interrupted, background operation, and secure authentication and encryption to protect data moving over a WAN.

The software allows for remote self-healing of applications by storing a compressed version of the application or its components on the local machine and using that to repair any defects with the live application. The feature is used in the field without having to connect to a network. Tally officials admit that the software sacrifices disk storage in order to avoid requiring a network connection.

TS.Ready 4.0 also has a new browser-based interface that allows administration from any location with a TCP/IP connection, and is integrated with TS.Census, a tool for software inventory.

Tally is targeting a growing legion of laptop users who spend an appreciable amount of time disconnected from their network. According to the Gartner Group, four out of five new machines purchased for corporate users are laptops.

"We are really paying attention to these laptops," says Jim Tremblay, product manager for TS.Census. "We think the most important feature is our bandwidth control."

The feature, called production windows, allows administrators to set limits on how much bandwidth the TS.Ready agent can use when executing any process such as software distribution or remote administration. The limits can be tuned to specific modem speeds on individual machines and can be overridden by administrators if need be.

The agent is used to download distribution packages from a network or to upload data to administrative logs. It can even be used to download files.

Working hand-in-hand with production windows is a feature called checkpoint restart, which allows a transmission to pick up where it left off, according to Joanne Egner, manager of product management for Tally. The feature allows downloads to happen over a series of connections made to a network over time. This allows administrators to roll out new software without choking machines connected by slow links, according to Tally officials.

In addition, TS.Ready 4.0 has new graphical reporting capabilities, and a new compression mechanism that optimizes transmissions at each end of a TCP/IP connection.

The software, which is now available, supports Unix, Linux, Windows and the MacOS. Pricing starts at US$110 per user for 1,000 users.

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