Intel Enhances Desktop-Management Tool

Intel to release the latest version of its LANDesk Management Suite.
In a move to help IT departments manage increasingly remote and mobile user bases, Intel in mid-October will roll out LANDesk Version 6.5, the latest version of its LANDesk Management Suite. It will feature tighter integration with Microsoft Active Directory and Novell NDS, giving companies the ability to distribute applications and upgrades to a specified user category defined, for example, by an employee's title or department.

Version 6.5 also uses targeted multicasting to send data to a specified PC on a network, which in turn relays that data to other PCs on that network. This reduces the need for generally broadcasted software upgrades that create a lot of traffic across a network and can cause bandwidth problems. Mobile users unable to secure enough bandwidth for downloads using dial-up network access can get these downloads automatically when a high-speed connection with greater bandwidth becomes available. Pricing will start at $60 per node for the first 1,000 nodes--defined as a desktop, laptop, or server.

Ray Woodworth, senior business technologist with Sobeys Inc., a $4.67 billion food retailer, has been using LANDesk 6.3 since last year to manage about 4,000 desktops at the Stellarton, Nova Scotia, company's 1,400 grocery stores. Sobeys' managers use SAP to track inventory, manage HR functions, and print shelf labels. Employees use the PCs in their lunchrooms to access a corporate intranet site. "Our help desk couldn't survive without it because we have so many desktops at remote locations," Woodworth says.

Woodworth says Sobeys, which has beta-tested LANDesk 6.5, is evaluating an upgrade to 6.5 for features that enable IT managers to remotely make automated installations of software and upgrades without the user's assistance. Prior to implementing LANDesk, users had to provide Sobeys' help-desk staff with information about their desktop problems. This typically resulted in the deployment of IT staff to user sites to troubleshoot problems. "I don't think it would be possible for an organization our size to support all our desktops without a tool like LANDesk," Woodworth says. "Remote desktop management cut our need to drive to store locations by 90%."