by October 9, 2006 0 comments

LANDesk Management suite is an agent based desktop management software. It
can centrally manage all nodes in a network by automatically distributing all
tasks to each system’s local core server. It has features like Inventory
Management, Remote Control and Problem Resolution of client nodes, Software
distribution, and software license monitoring. LANDesk needs agents to be
installed on the clients before it can manage them. These agents support Linux,
all Windows versions and Mac OS. These agents can be either pushed into an
unmanaged machine or can be
manually installed. It also lets you create customized agents, ie if you don’t
want remote control facility on a node, you can just uncheck that
option while creating an agent. It can also perform network device discovery and
monitor unmanaged devices for their connectivity. LANDesk also
generates alerts for the administrators to tell them the state of various events
through e-mail, SNMP trap, message box, etc. This suite can create reports just
about everything it does. It comes with default templates for inventory reports,
remote control reports,

IT managers
Desktop management with LANDesk
Desktop management

Software licensing monitoring reports, unmanaged device reports, etc. You can
also customize the reports. Installing LANDesk is simple.
During installation, it asks to provide a database. It supports Microsoft SQL
Server, Oracle and Microsoft MSDE database. Once it has been installed, you need
to activate its core server before using it. After activation, you can start its
console and begin using it.

Inventory management
LANDesk’s inventory scanner scans the managed devices for hardware and
software installed on the device and stores them into LANDesk core server’s
database. It can scan for hardware components present in remote device like BIOS
information, ports, processor information, etc. Similarly for software
inventory, it can detect all installed software and provide information about
their attributes like when a software was installed, its version, path, vendor
information, etc. Once the inventory scanning is done, you can see all details
on its console. 

In the inventory management feature, you can manually add a node. For this,
you need to provide machine’s IP address, IP name, etc. But you cannot add
anything that is not on network, like the stuff lying in your store or currently
kept out of network for some reason. 

LANDesk has another useful feature called ‘delta scanning’, which can be
used to scan the devices for inventory changes. Once the full scan has been
done, this feature scans the devices to automatically return only the changes to
the core server database. Since it only sends the changed data back to the
server, it consumes less network bandwidth and lessens the time taken in doing
inventory scan. All these changes can later be viewed in reports or by going to
inventory history. You can also export all inventory change details in a CSV
file. Another interesting feature present in the inventory management module is
custom data forms. Using these forms, the information such as user’s phone
number or nodes asset tags that can’t be scanned by the LANDesk’s inventory
scanner, can be entered into the database. These forms can be easily created as
per the information required and can be sent to the user so that they can fill
them, either at the startup or when the inventory scan is running on the remote
node. Once user submits the form, information provided by him is stored in the

You can not only remotely control and troubleshoot problems in the systems connected through LANDesk, but also train users remotely

Software distribution
To distribute software, first you need to create a package. In this suite, you
can create MSI, SWD, EXE, batch file, Linux and Mac packages. Now you can deploy
these packages on the clients using LANDesk’s software delivery methods. Its
PUSH delivery method pushes the packages from the core server into the managed
devices. It also has a policy method in which LANDesk makes package available
for download and when the client agents check for the available updates, the
package is sent to the managed device. Every distribution method has further
categories like emergency distribution of the package, bandwidth aware
distribution, install at next login distribution, etc. These options can come in
handy when you get into a situation where you have to immediately patch all
nodes of your network or if you have a large distribution, which can use a lot
of bandwidth of the network. You can also schedule the distribution of software
to managed nodes in your network. When using its SWD package option, you can
also repair an already installed package or you can even perform a full
reinstall of the program. Similarly, you can also
update or install additional components for a package that is already running on
your nodes.

LANDesk software licensing feature provides you the ability to track overall
license compliance, monitor product usage and deny use of particular
softwares. Its software license feature has huge list of known software, which
it can monitor. But in our tests it was able to detect and monitor software’s
which were previously unknown by the software.

LANDesk can automatically detect the devices which you specify to be
monitored, and every time inventory scan runs it updates its usage data and
sends it to the core server. If a device is disconnected from the network, the
LANDesk agents running on that device record the usage data and send this data
to the core server whenever they are connected to the network. It also lets you
deny use of a product specified by you. When a user tries to execute a denied
product, they will get a message box informing them that administrator has
prevented their access to this software. Similarly, it also lets you deny
individual file execution based on file names. It also denies use of these
products if the device is not on network.

Remote control
LANDesk’s remote control lets you remotely access nodes in your network that
are running LANDesk agents. LANDesk remote control agents provide the option if
the remote node should be asked to give you permission before you start managing
the remote node, or you can directly access that node. In our tests we found
bandwidth used was negligible when managing a node remotely.

Its remote control also lets you chat, bidirectional file transfer with the
remote device. It also lets you optimize the performance of remote control
according to your connection speed like if you are on modem connection, you can
select slow connection from ‘Optimize Performance’. When you change these
optimizing settings, it automatically adjusts number of updates send, colors,
window appearances etc. It also has an option of suppressing the remote
wallpaper which when selected, sets Remote Control to not send the wallpaper
updates. This, in turn, reduces the bandwidth usage of the network. LANDesk’s
Remote Control option also has a drawing option through which you can create
drawing on remote nodes desktop. This option can come in handy when training a
remote user about something. LANDesk also has something called LANDesk
management gateway, which if implemented with LANDesk management suite, lets you
securely remote control nodes outside an enterprise network over the Internet.

The ease of use and ability to automate the desktop management makes LANDesk
a good product for small and medium businesses.

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