OSA adds MS SMS mix

OSA adds MS SMS mix

Integrators trying to extend support to a growing number of mobile workers may get a helping hand from the newest version of an automated software distribution and management package aimed at taming road warriors.

Open Software Associates (OSA) said it will introduce netDeploy Global for Microsoft System Management Server (SMS) this week. With netDeploy, the software distribution and management features of SMS are extended to remote and mobile computers connecting through a VPN, dial-up connection or the Internet. The company already has a version that integrates with Active Directory, and IT executives migrating to Windows 2000 can use the two netDeploy versions in tandem while making the transition.

The software features application self-healing, auto restart so software downloads can be done in stages, and autofailover to ensure connections.

OSA competes with Tally Systems and Mobile Automation, amongst others. The key for these products will be to add support for other devices such as PDAs and Web phones.

OSA is building on top of SMS by integrating management with the Microsoft server and creating a single console. The software augments the weak remote support SMS offers.

The next version of SMS, code named Topaz, will correct some of those issues, but OSA has additional features, according to company officials.

"Our remote capabilities let roaming users connect to the nearest server to download new applications or updates," says Graeme Greenhill, president of OSA. Microsoft requires users to connect to a primary site server."

OSA's netDeploy requires an agent on every managed device and employs Web servers as distribution points using SMS to deliver applications or updates to those servers. The files are accessed using a URL. The Web servers also store policies extracted from SMS that govern interactions with mobile systems.

The netDeploy software also creates a central repository of all versions of all applications that can be accessed through SMS or Active Directory.

"We use SMS to distribute files to internal users and a Web server to send data over the firewall," says Greenhill.

OSA's netDeploy is priced at $US100 per user and is available in Australia now.

OSA: (03) 9895 2000.

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