Desktop Management for the Small Enterprise

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1 Desktop Management for the Small Enterprise There are three key factors why desktop management for your small enterprise doesn't have to cost a fortune: time, money, and manpower. If you have less than 10,000 machines to manage, and do not have the budget or manpower to implement a suite such as SMS or Tivoli, then CrossTec s Enterprise Management System (EMS) fits the bill. Easily manage inventories, reports, and alerts on every Windows and Linux system in your enterprise. Furthermore, you can monitor and control desktops remotely, restrict web and application usage, and implement secure software distribution at a fraction of the cost of other desktop management solutions. Contents Abstract Technology Focus Easy Asset Management Evaluating CrossTec EMS Monitor and Control Inventory Management Web Usage and Application Control Software Distribution Reporting and Alerting Summary Resources Appendix A - Total Cost of Ownership Spreadsheet for Desktop Management Solutions CrossTec Corporation 500 NE Spanish River Blvd. Boca Raton, FL

2 Abstract Today s fast-paced business environment makes it easy to overlook how much time is being spent on non-critical items and how many IT resources are being underutilized. When IT staff and budget are limited, optimizing your administrator s time is of utmost importance. Asset management and automated processes are key requirements in freeing up IT staff and resources. Would it be helpful to be alerted when a server has less than 20% disk space left? Or when CPU utilization is under 25% and over 80%? What about running reports based on software license utilization or any inventory item across your entire network? These are the types of things that usually take more time and infrastructure to implement than is cost-effective for an organization that does not have thousands of assets. However, because of the advancement of lower-cost and simpler solutions that provide much of the required functionality, it is now possible for an organization of any size to ensure that it has a comprehensive IT asset strategy in place. Organizations are increasingly looking for ways to optimize resources while keeping costs low using affordable technology. With a quick technology focus we will view some of the available solutions for organizations that are looking to implement some sort of software Desktop Management suite, and review some of the core components of such a solution. There are three key factos as to why desktop management for your small enterprise doesn't have to cost a fortune: time, money, and man-power. If you have less than 10,000 machines to manage, and do not have the budget or man-power to implement a suite such as SMS or Tivoli, then CrossTec s Enterprise Management System (EMS) fits the bill. Easily manage inventories, reports, and alerts on every Windows and Linux system in your enterprise. Furthermore you can monitor and control desktops remotely, restrict web and application usage, and implement secure software distribution at a fraction of the cost of other desktop management solutions. Technology Focus Desktop Management Software has been a longstanding core component of all organizations with an IT infrastructure. In the past, large enterprises have driven the development of these applications, and heavy hitters in the IT world such as Microsoft, IBM, and Novell have delivered large suites of asset management software. These asset management packages are typically tailored for the large enterprise with many sites and tens of thousands of assets, designed to deal with dispersed geographic locations and many complexities that do not represent most of the smaller enterprise networks today. An effective low-cost solution has been molded by CrossTec Corporation for the small enterprise and SMB that may have several locations and several thousand assets, but a limited budget and staff to manage their entire IT infrastructure. 2

3 This technology focus looks at the time, money, and hardware requirements listed by manufacturers of both large and smaller desktop management solutions such as Microsoft s SMS, Tivoli Configuration Manager, and CrossTec EMS to compare the initial startup expenses for each. SMS has become quite popular in the large enterprise; however, there is usually a lack of some key features such as remote control and ease of deployment that often has large organizations searching for best of breed products to fill a niche that SMS doesn t quite cover. SMS is typically deployed at a central site and it allows for the creation of primary and secondary sites as required by your organizations geographic locations. Large enterprises may be inclined to go with a solution like SMS or Tivoli because of name recognition, mandated requirements, or sheer number of assets where no other less expensive solution can do the job. Nevertheless the expense of implementing one of these large solutions is cost prohibitive for many smaller organizations and the need for asset management is no less crucial. In the case of Tivoli there are dozens of software packages to choose from such as transaction management or web services. Each can be added to your enterprise asset management solution for additional cost and resources. The product evaluated for purposes of this white paper was Tivoli s Configuration Manager. Common to most desktop management suites is a requirement of at least one or several dedicated backend database servers which drives the initial cost of deployment and installation way up. When taking new hardware costs, server software licensing, and total labor costs the initial setup cost of both Tivoli and SMS is more than double their single client per seat cost and consistently more than double the price of CrossTec EMS. Please see Appendix A for detailed cost and price information on all three products! The typical deployment of these types of asset management suites is conducted by either a team of IT professionals that work for the organization or a team of contractors that would come in for that sole purpose. When testing and implementing a product like CrossTec EMS, a single network administrator can have the product installed and capturing asset information in under an hour. It is important to point out that CrossTec EMS and CrossTec Remote Control can be downloaded and tested today. If you would like to download the CrossTec EMS Suite click here. All of the other CrossTec applications mentioned in this white paper are available for download from this link. Easy Asset Management If you are a small to medium sized business, or even a small enterprise, EMS gives you everything necessary to empower your IT staff to effectively and efficiently manage your assets. Without consuming large amounts of time and resources, EMS provides in-depth information necessary to have an up-to-date view of desktops, laptops and servers. With the ability to deploy, manage, migrate, and troubleshoot clients from a central management console from virtually anywhere, your team will save time, personnel resources and money. 3

4 Within minutes after installation EMS can automatically discover and take a comprehensive inventory of IT assets in your organization, as well as provide the ability to distribute software, meter application and Internet usage, helping organizations implement a solution that improves visibility, optimizes utilization, and streamlines the management of IT assets. Without automation nothing is easy, so EMS also offers scheduling for software distribution, application control, reporting and alerting. Evaluating CrossTec EMS You can download the CrossTec EMS package, along with other complementary products like CrossTec Remote Control, and test it within minutes on your network at CrossTec s Try It Page. CrossTec software tools are easy to install, and give you tremendous features and benefits that would typically be more costly and difficult to implement with other software packages. We recommend downloading and installing EMS before our other network and classroom management tools as you can use tools like client discovery and deploy to make deployment of other CrossTec applications easier. EMS can be installed and tested on a single machine and it does not require a backend server for testing purposes. To simplify the evaluation process, you can tell EMS to install MSDE during the install wizard, or just point it to any MSSQL database on your network. There are 3 main components to EMS: the EMS Server, the EMS Console, and the EMS Client. In a production environment the EMS Server component would generally be installed on a server that has a static IP address and can access some back end database machine running MSSQL but this is not required, the server is so low in resource requirements that it can easily run on an XP workstation during the trial period. The EMS Console is what you would run from your Windows desktop or laptop to monitor and control your assets, and the EMS Client is the component that is deployed to the machines on your network. It is important to note that when making a buying decision for EMS you do not need to specify how many consoles, clients, or servers you plan on running. All you need to buy is one license to cover all the machines you plan on using the software on and you are covered. Monitor and Control The CrossTec product line is made up of EMS, CrossTec Remote Control, CrossTec SchoolVue, Richmond Support Desk, Activeworx Security Center, and CrossTec Secure 4

5 CrossTec Remote Control integrates into EMS to provide administrators the ability to monitor all Windows and Linux systems in a real time thumbnail view, or perform help desk and support functions like remote control and management, automated scripting, showing others your desktop, and file distribution/transfer. From the EMS console you can rightclick a machine and have many features available to you like Remote Control, Chat and Send Message. This add-on to the EMS product can be bundled for a single, low-cost, perseat license that gives you a more proactive support tool with best of breed remote control capabilities. For organizations that have real-time monitoring requirements or training programs of any kind it is valuable to know that with the purchase of the add-on CrossTec Remote Control for EMS our SchoolVue training package comes standard at no extra charge. This means that in addition all the features discussed here, you are also given network teaching tools that are useful in a training lab environment, or a virtual classroom spread across your WAN. This strategically assembled combination of products for the small enterprise is perfect for the organization that is looking to optimize every dollar of purchasing power available to them. Should you add the remote control and classroom management tools to your EMS solution you will not only be meeting your Desktop Management and Remote Control needs for a single per-seat price, but you will also be providing your corporate trainers a powerful, customizable interface, that is specifically designed for collaborative teaching and monitoring in a networked environment. Inventory Management In today's dynamic networked economy, maintaining and managing desktops, servers and laptops has become one of the most challenging and costly aspects of doing business. You may already be familiar with regular hardware and software inventory capabilities from the Windows OS itself, CrossTec Remote Control or other network management tools. EMS will take these inventory items and allow you to query, organize, alert, and report on any single inventory characteristic of your choice. Our inventory management features provide data that is easy to read, graph, print or export into many different formats such as HTML, XLS, PDF, etc; Comparing different computers by individual inventory items like RAM, CPU, or video cards is a right click away and from anywhere in the interface you have the ability to run reports on your hardware and software inventories that will show you detailed or summary information depending on what you are reporting on. Our software inventory tools give you a summary of all clients or by individual computers. All you need to do is change what group or machine you have selected in the hierarchy tree and you can easily filter your current view or report to provide only the data you want to look at. To help better track your applications, you can create new groups or edit existing groups. By grouping applications from the same manufacturer you can more easily track your licensing, and ensure compliance with agreements you have in place. Included is a query tool which enables you to create customizable, dynamic queries for specific software 5

6 inventory items. This feature can also be used for patch management. For example you can run a query on a particular hot fix, and EMS will tell you all the machines that have it and a sub query can be run to identify all the machines that do not. Once you know which machines do not have a particular patch, or application, it is just a matter of using our distribution tools, to deploy necessary updates. Web Usage and Application Control EMS will enable you to monitor, control & report on Internet and application usage as well, with Internet and Application Metering that goes beyond the casual tracking of sites and apps. Web use can be tracked by user or machine, so you can identify who is using the Internet for business purposes and who is not. Furthermore, our Internet settings will enable you to create white and black lists of the sites being visited by any machine on your network and keep a detailed track of who visited what site and how long they were browsing that particular site. Applications can also be centrally controlled to ensure compliance with software licensing agreements and to prevent potentially malicious or unauthorized software from running in your organization. For example, if someone inherits a machine, and does not use a particular software package, you can identify it with EMS, and determine where that license could be of better use within your organization. You will also be able to identify unauthorized use of an application, and stop users from exceeding licensing agreements and running certain applications all together. Also tied into Application Metering is the ability to create flexible time restrictions on applications or prevent applications from running at all which could come in handy when allowing outside vendors access to your network or preventing end users from using certain applications during work hours. Software Distribution Secure and extensive Software Distribution is a core component of any Desktop Management application and EMS has the ability to not only deploy software across an entire enterprise with a couple of clicks, but also has a powerful Application Packager that allows you to create custom install packages for all types of applications. With EMS you can push out many different applications such as MSIs and silent installs to an EMS client, but you can also record a scripted install and package it along with required setup files to eliminate any need for end user intervention. One nice way to reduce overhead on a large roll out would be to setup distribution warehouses across your network and deploy to those machines first, this not only automates a lot of tedious tasks for your administrators but can also significantly help with bandwidth limitations during a mass deployment. To complete the available features in a robust software distribution module EMS allows you to advertise your packages to machines, and when your users need them they can pull them down themselves. This will install automatically according to the way the application was packaged and is an on demand type of installation. Another time saving feature in our distribution tool is the ability to schedule a distribution for a future date or time. You may 6

7 want to roll out a new application on the weekend, or at night, so your employees do not experience any downtime during the day. Reporting and Alerting CrossTec EMS has the ability to run reports for a plethora of unique features, like: users, hardware, software, alerts, history, internet, applications, and software distribution. There are many pre-defined reports that can be run which are all powered by a powerful Crystal reports engine. The EMS suite has three types of alerts that can be created, they are: PC Alerts, EMS System Alerts, and EMS Console Alerts. You may want to be alerted anytime someone installs or uninstalls anything on your network, or you may want to know when a machine has less than twenty five percent of disk space left, with EMS all this and much more is right at your fingertips. Summary When evaluating and deploying a Desktop Management System it is imperative that not only software license cost be analyzed but also hardware and labor costs be calculated to determine which solution is most cost effective. In an environment where enterprise desktop management features are required but time and budget are limited, CrossTec EMS is the clear choice. If you have any questions about EMS or CrossTec Remote Control please feel free to write to us at or call us toll free at If technical questions arise during your evaluation of any of our products please contact out FREE technical support at or call CrossTec stands behind their products with free pre- and post-sale technical support, training materials and resources. We are here to help you. Resources Customized Systems Management Suites: Desktop Management: A Suite to Fit Your Budget IBM s Tivoli Asset Management Products: Systems Management Server 2003 On-line Resources: Technical Comparison: Systems Management Server 2003 to IBM Tivoli Configuration Manager Version 4.2: 7

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