Altiris: Independent Player

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2004-02-05 Print this article Print

Altiris has built itself into a top-tier provider.

In terms of sales, one of Altiris' chief competitors—Microsoft—is roughly 350 times bigger. Microsoft, of course, also owns the technology that powers most of the world's desktop PCs. That said, Altiris has built itself into a top-tier provider of comprehensive desktop-management software that customers say outguns rivals.

Meijer Stores, the Michigan-based grocer, uses the Altiris software in just about every facet of its desktop-support activities, including management of software patches. "We haven't found a package that does everything Altiris does," says Dave Durkee, technology specialist at Meijer. "It's a cradle-to-grave solution."

The Altiris product gets high marks for its reliable remote imaging, which lets administrators quickly reformat and install applications on a PC from afar. "I can boot up a computer with a totally blank hard drive and have it completely set up in 20 minutes," says Andre Dantzler, head of the Tennessee Valley Authority's computer-training division.

And Altiris has benefited from Microsoft's fumbles. The Regional Municipality of Peel in Ontario, Canada, was using Microsoft's Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0 but found it didn't offer reliable hardware- or software-inventory reporting. Peel couldn't wait for the next version—which was supposed to fix the problems—so it switched to Altiris in late 2002. "We just wanted to show management, 'Here, this is what we have and we're using this now,'" says Nicholas Karadza, an associate in the municipality's information-technology department.

Many customers also like the fact that Altiris, whose partners include Hewlett-Packard, isn't tied to a single operating system: The company offers software for Linux and Unix as well as Windows, in contrast to Microsoft's Windows-only purview. "Our client team likes to be agnostic," Durkee says. "I'm not sure I want one vendor doing everything in my enterprise."

By the same token, however, the notion that Microsoft is the best at managing its own products sometimes wins the day. A large U.S. insurance company, which manages 18,000 Windows PCs using Altiris software, expects to migrate to SMS 2003 later this year now that it's a comparable product. "We went with Altiris because SMS 2003 wasn't out yet," says an executive at the firm, who insisted his company not be identified. "Now that gap has closed."

588 West 400 South
Lindon, UT 84042
(801) 226-8500

Ticker: ATRS
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 611

Greg Butterfield
President, CEO
Before joining Altiris in February 2000, he was executive vice president of worldwide sales at Vinca, a server-clustering software vendor acquired by Legato Software in 1999.

Dwain Kinghorn
Chief Technology Officer
One of the original three members of Microsoft's Systems Management Server (SMS) development team, he later founded Computing Edge, a developer of SMS add-on tools.


Client Management Suite provides hardware- and software-configuration management for desktops, notebooks and handheld devices; deployment and migration of desktop operating systems; and remote diagnostic tools. Requires Windows NT 4.0 or later and SQL Server 2000 or later.

Reference Checks

Meijer Stores
Dave Durkee
Technology Specialist
Project: Retailer with 158 stores originally deployed Altiris' management software when it upgraded its approximately 6,500 PCs to Windows 2000 four years ago.

University of Arkansas
David Stefferud
Dir., Computer Support, Fulbright College
(479) 575-7512
Project: Liberal-arts college remotely configures and troubleshoots 600 faculty and staff PCs.

OMD Worldwide
John Chandler
Desktop Support Manager
Project: New York-based advertising firm used Client Management Suite (CMS) to upgrade 400 machines from Windows 2000 to Windows XP in about four days.

Regional Municipality of Peel
Nicholas Karadza
I.T. Associate
Project: Local government in Ontario, Canada, uses CMS to track inventory for 2,000 computers at 25 offices.

Tennessee Valley Authority
Andre Dantzler
I.T. Education Manager
Public power utility uses Altiris software to remotely configure and install applications on 200 PCs dedicated to computer training.

Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Office
Grant MacConnell
Network Administrator
Project: Boston estate-management firm uses Altiris software to deploy software and monitor 120 Windows PCs.

Executives listed here are all users of Altiris' products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.


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