ManageFusion 2008

I'm sitting in the media workroom preparing for today's sessions at Symantec's ManageFusion 2008. The event is being held at the JW Marriott resort and conference center in the land of the Mouse, that is Orlando, FL.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

I'm sitting in the media workroom preparing for today's sessions at Symantec's ManageFusion 2008. The event is being held at the JW Marriott resort and conference center in the land of the Mouse, that is Orlando, FL. I'll be adding things to this post throughout the day as interesting things come to my attention.

7:30 AM

I came across several Symantec booths out in the hallway while walking around the conference center this morning prior to the event starting up for the day. I came across some information on Altiris® Software Virtualization Solution and thought I'd read through it while waiting for registration to open. Here's what Symantec has to say about that product

Altiris Software Virtualization Solution Professional is a revolutionary approach to optimizing software management. Software Virtualization Solution Professional serves the needs of traditional, virtual and hybrid enterprise endpoints, providing high productivity with controlled, guaranteed access to any Windows applications from any location at any time. Application streaming provides the on-demand delivery mechanism and centralized license management, while virtualization places applications and data into managed units called Virtual Software Packages. You can instantly activate, deactivate or reset applications and completely avoid conflicts between applications, without altering the base Windows installation.

It appears that the product separates a Windows desktop environment into three layers: operating system, applications and data/personality. Each of these can be delivered to a system making it possible for users to access applications and their data from any compatible personal computer in the organization.

Symantec would point out that this approach offers the following benefits:

  • Virtual Distribution - Streaming allows the user to acquire applications from any endpoint, according to his productivity needs, while minimizing bandwidth requriements and optimizing license consumption
  • Virtual execution - Layering applications on disk ensures that each application includes all of its appropriate resources, eliminates conflicts with other applicaitons and the base operating system, and enables instant repair
  • Rule-based management - Proactive license compliance and optimization is achieved by applying a set of rules to govern the consumption and use of applications by the right people, and automatically recovering unused licenses

This appears to be an application virtualization product and competes with VMware's Thinstall, Virtual Computer's new product and Citrix's application delivery software. I note that Symantec is not offering this technology for those using Mac OS or Linux which could limit its appeal to organizations having a mixed client environment. I also note there's no way for these applications to be accessed by someone using a smart handheld device. Some of Symantec's competitors offer tecnology that can do these things.

Keynote Address

I note that someone must have told Symantec that loud, discordant music would put attendees the best mood for a presentation. At least, at this event, the music is live. Symantec has fielded a four-piece stage band as part of Steve Morton's "The More Show." It appears to have been modeled loosely on the late night television shows. This format, in my view, is more irritating than engaging.

Before I go on to review the session, I'd like to apologize to Steve. It appears that Symantec's PR company scheduled a meeting yesterday even though I wasn't coming to the event until today. I was at the Moffitt Clinic in Tampa, Steve, and couldn't come to Orlando to speak with you. I'm sorry for the mix up.

Steve's session began with what could be described as stupid iPhone tricks. Funny things were superimposed on a picture of a person's hand holding an iPhone. Next the "Morton Cam" was shown. It was supposed to be showing what was happening in Steve's office. Someone, of course, was rummaging through Steve's desk stealing candy out of the drawers and cabinet.

Don't quit your day job, Steve.

Then the session went into an interview session, very much like that seen on late night television.

Brad Kingsbury
Steve introduced Brad Kingsbury, Sr. VP Endpoint Security and Virtualization.  The started off reviewing a "Steve Morton comic book." I guess they're trying to make Symantec's senior leadership team appear more human and entertaining.

  • Brad reviewed his 20 year history in security software.It was interesting to learn that early on virus signitures were sent out to customers on post cards, 3 to a card, and the end user had to enter that information into their computer. Now, Symantec streams signatures directly to customer systems over the Internet. Last month, they streamed well over 490,000 signatures out to their customers.
  • Brad pointed out that 95% of endpoint security issues can be addressed by configuration and patch management tools.
  • Brad flogged a recently announced collaborative architecture (previously called the Altiris platform) that would allow others to work together with Symantec's software. While that will help others interoperate with Symantec's software, it doesn't address the fact that many suppliers are offering configuration and security management software. Suppliers would have to engineer their software separately for each "platform" offered by other vendors. Symantec has 60 folks signed up for this platform now.  They're hoping to create a "single pane of glass" managed through the use of this platform.
  • After this tidbit of information was dropped into the discussion, they went on to talk about the party tonight.

Steve Z
Steve then introduced "Shawn Z." an investigative reporter to discuss what's going on behind the scenes at ManageFusion. This light hearted presentation appears to have been meant to show how successful ManageFusion is and why attendees should tell all of their friends, neighbors and family to attend in the future.
Rich Dandliker
Steve introduced Rich as the "head dude" over at the data loss prevention group. Rich tried to position what his group is doing.

  • Help customers answer these questions: Where's my confidential data? How it's being used? How can I protect it.
  • Help customers prevent "stupid things" from happening.
  • Rich told stories of how when people are notified that they're doing something that could lead to data loss, they change what they're doing pretty rapidly.
  • He pointed out that security is more of a mindset than a product. Layers of software are needed to secure environments. He pointed out that chosing the appropriate layers of technology are important. Too much of this software can make it difficult to impossible to actually work.
  • Rich discussed how they're linking what they're doing to the Altiris management framework.
  • They presented some reports the software generates.

Other stuff
The session promoted a comedian that will be part of tomorrow night's party. They gave away a $250 gift certificate. Then Steve promoted tonight's Seaworld party.  Steve promised to ride Shamu the killer whale.
Dan Sherwood, Heath Oderman from the Service Desk team
I'm sure that they presented interesting stuff. I got so tired of the late night television format that I left the auditorium. Sorry guys.

Vendor and partner Area

I had some time to briefly visit the vendor area. Dell, HP, Intel along with a number of comanies focused on training for Symantec products, consultng to help companies deploy Symantec products and the like were there. I think it is a much smalller group of companies than this time last year. It was a stark difference from the festival atmosphere at the VMware event only a few weeks ago.

I'd like to take the time to thank my hosts for inviting me to attend. It was interesting.

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