Top Three Key Features
- Simplified server infrastructure
- Single asset database
- Asset Tracking and Change Management
Automating the Processes of Desktop Management
IT departments are responsible for managing increasingly complex desktop environments during this time of unprecedented change. Multiple hardware platforms and disparate operating system versions, software license management, patch management, user migration, system build and refresh, combined with ever evolving security threats place an enormous management burden on IT. The result is an inconsistent desktop environment that is difficult to maintain and unaligned with business goals, while IT is relegated to a cost center, rather than a strategic value center.
In order to reverse this trend, IT organizations must formulate a desktop management strategy that automates as many of the manual, error-prone and reactive day-to-day maintenance processes as possible.
Essentials of a Desktop Management Strategy
Establishing a comprehensive desktop management strategy is the first step toward accomplishing the objectives of reducing desktop maintenance costs, mitigating increasing levels of risk and aligning IT with business objectives. At a minimum, a desktop management strategy should incorporate the following objectives:
Standardization — Standardization lays the groundwork for increased efficiencies, reduced support calls and a more manageable environment.
Automation — automating the business-critical processes of maintaining desktops offers efficiency and service levels that make these words a thing of the past.
Establish Policies — developing clear policies and having the ability to enforce them are essential to fluid management of the desktop environment.
Risk Mitigation — the penalties for a risky environment range from financial (for unauthorized software usage or regulatory noncompliance) to operational (from security threats).
Standardizing an environment, automating processes and enforcing clear policies make IT environments much more secure.
Distinctive Features and Functionalities
Effective Enterprise Desktop Management.
A proper management strategy manages an enterprise’s IT assets throughout their life cycle, from initial deployment through retirement. An effective strategy include continuous and active discovery, monitoring change, software and patch distribution, remote support for end-users, data protection and targeted reporting, makes it possible to realign IT resources with the business goals of the enterprise.
Enterprise Asset Discovery.
The foundation any desktop management solution must be built on the ability to provide instant knowledge of what assets are owned, where they are located and also the ability to completely manage the asset throughout its life cycle. CA Desktop Management Suite, which is optimized for better performance over a network, offers a comprehensive solution for proactively managing IT assets in a business environment. It provides full-featured asset tracking capabilities through automated discovery, hardware and software inventory, configuration management, software usage monitoring, software license management and extensive reporting.
- Asset Tracking. In today’s changing IT environment, hardware and software assets frequently change or move within the organization. Asset tracking automatically records changes to IT assets, such as when upgrading to a new operating system (OS), hardware changes, software installs/uninstalls, different users and so on, and keeps detailed history information throughout the asset life cycle. CA Desktop Management Suite tracks assets such as servers and midrange systems, desktop and laptop PCs, PDAs and cell phones, networking and other IT components.
- Asset Viewer. The asset viewer provides more information about a purchased and discovered asset. The information that can be viewed includes asset types, model definitions, asset families, classes, status, and GL codes.
- Hardware Inventory. Detects and delivers detailed reports on the PCs in the business environment; including minimum, maximum and average machine utilization over configurable time periods, serial numbers, CPU, RAM, protocols, drives, OS, network settings, power settings, storage devices, RAID systems, etc., and supports the Windows Management Instrumentations (WMI) standard to obtain even more detailed information about PCs running Windows. In addition to the computer, CA’s Desktop Management Suite also reports on peripherals directly attached to systems, such as PDA’s, external disk drives and printers.
Software assets are intelligently discovered and reported on down to the patch level. Techniques used include file scanning, registry scanning and MSI database lookup. Applications are automatically categorized into predefined groups, and can be added to custom groups that better represent company standards. Once discovered, the software asset can be copied across the network, or deleted by simply dragging and dropping the asset.
- Network Inventory. CA Desktop Management Suite provides complete asset inventory and reporting by including assets that are not limited to just computer systems and software. It can also detect all network assets including routers, hubs, wireless access points, network printers and storage devices, and classify them or easy reporting in the inventory database.
- Software Usage Metering. Software metering provides auditing and control of who is using what software, when and how often. Once known, policies can be created to ensure licensing compliance. Metering can manage both individual applications, and application suites that treat simultaneous use of more than one application in a suite as only one used license. CA Desktop Management Suite can also manage applications that are offline or online. Offline, or passive metering, logs usage information locally while online, or active metering, will strictly limit the number of users for any application or suite. Active metering supports usage queues that user can join once the software usage limit has been reached. Users can be assigned a VIP status that allows them to use the application even if its limit is reached.
Software Distribution Management.
CA Desktop Management Suite automates the deployment and migration of software and patches across laptops, desktops, servers and PDA systems in heterogeneous business environments.
From distribution of software to management of system configuration and rollback across multiple platforms and locations, this scalable and secure management solution helps ensure consistency and reliability of deployment and management of software.
- Software Distribution Control. Centrally control and manage software installations, reinstallation, configuration and un-installation of software on IT devices such as desktops and laptops, servers and midrange systems running Windows. A distribution can be scheduled for a single unit, a group of units or the whole domain. Administrators can instantly see the real time status of all active or scheduled distributions. Software can also be distributed via CD whereby the end user is prompted to insert the CD during the install so that all installation records remain centrally managed.
- Software Package Management. Automate the packaging process and customize software items using the AutoScript generator to record the state of a system before and after installing software. The AutoScript generator file can be converted to a standard MSI package, or left in the SPX format, and distributed for installation. In addition, CA Desktop Management Suite provides direct support of MSI packages and attributes. MSI packages can be registered by simply dragging the MSI file to the software library where the powerful features of MSI, such as allowing Windows systems to automatically rectifying problems that may occur during the use of MSI-enabled applications.
- Automation. Distribution groups, template groups and integration with directory services, like Active Directory, NDS and LDAP schemas, make it easy to schedule a software package for a certain group, or to set up policies to ensure compliance with required software installations. Synchronized installations and dependencies between different software can be created to automate what happens in case of job failure or success. Recover After Crash (RAC) scenarios can be predefined to automate the process of returning hardware to its desired state before a catastrophic event.
Self-Service Software Catalogs contain a list of all the applications a user is authorized to install based on policies. It can be accessed from a web browser and wizards make it easy for users to install at their own convenience. The catalog can be easily customized and centrally controlled by administrators. If a user changes their physical location, CA Desktop Management Suite automatically handles the change between management servers and domains.
Operating System Management.
The Suite OS Installation Management of CA Desktop Management functionality utilizes PXE to build up a new machine from “bare metal” to install, configure an OS and download a predefined application set. In addition to installing fresh operating systems, the OS installation management system can read, manage and deploy standard images made with Symantec Ghost or PowerQuest DeployCenter.
Data Protection for Desktops and Laptops.
As organizations expand globally, they are faced with explosive growth in mobile and remote computing. Despite the flexibility and enhanced productivity they offer, laptops pose a significant risk because the data that is stored on it is not managed or protected in the same manner as corporate servers. The management and protection of a remote device has different requirements than a server that is permanently connected to the LAN. Limited bandwidth, intermittent connectivity and user time constraints make traditional backup methods over a remote connection impractical, costly and unmanageable.
- Supports Remote Users. CA Desktop and Server Management Suite optimize low bandwidth connections and transfers only byte-level or block-level file changes to be backed up. The data is then compressed before transmission to the backup server. In the case of an unexpected loss of network connectivity, the backup transmission continues from the point of failure. It can even initiate the backup process without a network connection, processing file changes according to the client’s backup set and storing them for transmission when a network connection is available. This helps ensure that backups and restores occur regardless of the user’s environment or location.
Robust Data Backup and Restore.
CA Desktop Management Suite provides multiple features that allow users to easily back up and restore their information without affecting productivity, including the ability to back up critical information even if it is in use. Backups are accelerated through a file change reorder algorithm, eliminating the need to perform disk scanning for every backup, and increasing backup speed and minimizing resource consumption. In addition to standard recovery procedures, users have the option to restore different revisions of data. The amount of space required to keep multiple revisions of files is reduced through block-/byte-level tracking. CA Desktop Management Suite also provides the option to keep deleted files for a period of time, keep them indefinitely or remove them permanently. This enables adherence to corporate file retention standards.
Cost-Effective Support for Remote Users.
As the enterprise IT environment becomes more geographically dispersed and the number of remote users increases, the need to remotely manage and support these vital business resources becomes crucial. If they are not managed quickly, efficiently and reliably, business performance may not reach its potential.
- Remote Control Viewer. View a host computer using different modes to define the amount of control one has over a host PC. Adjust control from Shared, which gives both viewer and host full control over the PC to stealth mode which allows the viewer to monitor the host without detection. CA Desktop Management Suite provides differing levels of control to handle any situation.
- Viewer Management. Select the speed of the connection and adjust the color depth of the viewer to optimize the connection, automatically making the best use of available bandwidth. Global and local address books organize the computers in a business environment, simplifying the access to remote computers.
- Transfer Data. The remote copy to clipboard function provides a convenient way to share information between viewers and host PCs. To transfer files, simply drag and drop from viewer to host, or vice versa for one-step operation of file transfers, or optimize file transfer performance with directory synchronization to prevent copying duplicate files. CA Desktop Management Suite even allows the viewer to create, delete and rename files on the host computer.
- Record and Playback. Dynamically start and stop remote session recordings so they can be played back at a later time. Recorded sessions can be played back on any other computer The playback can be optimized by allowing the user to adjust the playback speed, or set the playback to automatically follow the pointer on screen.
- Secure Connectivity Model. The security model incorporates peer to peer mutual authentication with digital certificates. Site specific certificates may be used to guard against the potential threats of Spoofing, Byte-Stream Messaging (Reverse Engineering) and Hacking attempts. All authentication data, user credentials and traffic between client and server and communication streams are encrypted using RSA, DES or 3DES algorithms. Easily assign user-based permission through a 3-tier access control model covering default permissions, group level permissions and individual object level permissions. Assign different sets of permissions for different roles of user which may be identified from Windows or Linux user or group accounts or from and LDAP directory hierarchy.