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The Altiris® Notification Server™ software is the core Altiris infrastructure server. By itself, the Altiris Notification Server does not provide any direct systems management functionality. It simply provides a base set of services that are leveraged by the Altiris solutions installed into it.

These services include:

  • A single, secure Web console (full role and scope security)
  • Discovery options for finding managed devices via a number of different methods (ping sweep, domain list, browse list, reverse DNS look up, etc.)
  • A single, extensible agent that provides consolidated client/server communication services via HTTP(S).
    • Altiris Notification Server provides options to push its agent to discovered devices, even before any management solutions have been installed on the Altiris server.
    • The Altiris Notification Server agent supports a variety of different operating systems and hardware form factors, including blade/rack/tower servers, notebooks, desktops and handheld devices, etc.
    • The Altiris agent disk and memory footprints grow dynamically as needed whenever new solutions are installed into Altiris Notification Server or whenever new policies are defined in the Altiris Notification Server console.
  • Basic predefined collections, policies, packages and reports are created during installation to help with the configuration, maintenance and tuning of Altiris Notification Server. New collections, policies, packages and reports are added to Altiris Notification Server with each additional management solution that is installed.
  • A Resource manager to provide viewing and 1:1 management of individual devices.
  • Leveraged data model. A single CMDB houses all data in a Microsoft SQL Server 2000/2005 database. Any solution installed into Altiris Notification Server publishes its data to the entire system. Any installation solution can leverage data from any other installed solution in its policy definitions to provide for very fine grained targeting of management functions

To learn more about the Altiris Notification Server and the Altiris architecture, visit (http://www.altiris.com/support/documentation.aspx).

The Altiris architecture supports several options for executing DOS command language and VBScript on remote clients. Four of the most popular options include:

  • Altiris Deployment Solution™ software
  • Altiris Task Server™ software
  • Altiris Software Delivery Solution™ software
  • SmartTasks within Altiris Helpdesk Solution™ software

While any of these solutions could be used, the examples below are shown using Altiris Task Server and Altiris Software Delivery Solution.

Altiris Task Server

Altiris Task Server is an infrastructure component that provides task sequencing and automation for Altiris solutions. It is built on the Altiris Notification Server infrastructure and allows administrators to create jobs that "wire" together tasks from many different Altiris solutions into one sequenced workflow. Task Server can also be used to execute any DOS command language, VBScript or Javascript making it an ideal platform to store command-line calls for integrating with third-party applications. Task Server jobs can be executed against an individual computer or against entire groups of computers called "collections."

Altiris Task Server will be used in the examples below any time a command-line call into a Lenovo TVT is required.

Altiris Software Delivery Solution

Altiris Software Delivery Solution is designed for the policy-based delivery of software packages to large collections of machines. The solution supports numerous functions such as bandwidth throttling, checkpoint recovery, multicasting, etc. that make it very easy to use and effective at delivering software packages across enterprise environments.

Altiris Software Delivery Solution will be used in any examples below that require the delivery of files to remote systems. These may include examples for remotely installing TVTs or simply pushing out configuration files to remote computers.

Altiris Inventory Solution

To effectively manage your enterprise, you need an accurate and thorough inventory of your desktops, servers, notebooks, handhelds, and network devices. Knowing what you have and where it's located empowers you to reduce IT support costs, protect your network, improve success of software deployments, and focus on higher-level objectives. The inventory gathered allows you to group computers by any specific criteria. Altiris refers to these groupings of computers as "collections."

Altiris tools commonly use policies to associate tasks and software packages with collections. Any managed device in the system can belong to one or more collections. There are two types of collections:

  • Static Collections-A computer's membership in a static collection can only be changed when an administrator explicitly assigns or removes the computer from a collection. For example, when an administrator puts a hardware device's computer name in a static collection, the device associated with that computer name will stay in that collection until the administrator removes it.
  • Dynamic Collections-A computer's membership in a dynamic collection changes based on the properties of the computer. As the properties change, the computer automatically moves into and out of dynamic collections. It can be helpful to think of dynamic collections as being based on a SQL WHERE clause. For example, an administrator might create a dynamic collection that consists of all notebooks where the operating system is Windows XP SP2, where the machine is a member of the Marketing domain and where the Rescue and Recovery™ TVT is installed. If any one of those three properties change then the Altiris Notification Server will automatically remove it from that collection (no administrator involvement is required).

While all Altiris solutions publish data to Altiris Notification Server that can be used to associate a computer with a given collection, Altiris Inventory Solution® software gathers the most extensive listing of device properties. This makes Altiris Inventory Solution a valuable contributor to automated scenarios where policies are used to assign dynamic collections with management functions.

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