PC-Duo Enterprise v3.0

  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent

Pros

  • Modular design saves purchase costs
  • scaleable
  • easy to manage
  • multi-platform support

Cons

  • Printed documentation must be ordered separately

PC-Duo Enterprise is a suite of enterprise management tools comprising the following modules: Inventory Management, Software Distribution, Software Metering, Diagnostics, Help Desk Issue Tracking and Remote Control. Aimed primarily at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), its modular architecture lets you select just the components you need, adding and upgrading as required. Its great ease of use, flexibility and scalability make it an attractive option for smaller companies that require their enterprise management systems to grow with them.

The core of the suite is based on an inventory management system that has seen ten years of development. The latest -- version 3.0 -- release of PC-Duo Enterprise sees a number of improvements in many of the modular components.

PC-Duo Enterprise uses the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) for easy administration but has, until now, lacked full support of Microsoft’s Active Directory -- an area where products such as Microsoft Systems Management Server have had a distinct advantage.

Other key features new to version 3.0 are: a Web-based enterprise portal, real-time software distribution and multi-platform support including Linux, Macintosh and handhelds. There have also been improvements to the already impressive Remote Control module.

The Inventory Management system, which collects hundreds of items of information from your installed clients, now benefits from an improved user interface and a Web Reporting Portal that provides easy access to asset management reports from anywhere using a Web browser. Macintosh clients can now be included in your reports as their own class of platform with Mac-specific analysis, metering and distribution software also provided. It’s nice to see PC and Macintosh functionality integrated in this way rather than seeing the Macintosh as a poorly-supported bolt-on. You can try an online demo of the Web portal here.

The Software Distribution and metering modules can also operate via the Web portal. It’s a simple task to create clear, well-formatted reports and email them directly from your browser.

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An impressive, and separately available, Diagnostics module lets you repair broken applications without the need for re-installing or re-imaging hard drives. Problems can be resolved quickly by making and comparing snapshots of system files and registry entries, while a 'self-healing' mode automatically detects and fixes common problems.

The Remote Control application, now in version 9.0, is available as a stand-alone application, although it too can be seamlessly integrated within the main console. It’s a highly sophisticated product that goes way beyond the capabilities of Microsoft’s Remote Desktop connections or Remote Assistance sessions. It has a huge selection of tools, including drag-and-drop file transfers, text and audio messaging, remote file editing and industrial-strength encryption. But what really sets it apart is the fact that it’s designed for the simultaneous control of multiple PCs. The control console provides thumbnails of all connected client screens from where, as an administrator, you can broadcast and annotate your screen to a group of clients, record and play back saved remote sessions, or even take a snapshot of the client’s hardware configuration.

As a modular enterprise-orientated product, PC-Duo has a complex pricing structure. For example, on a 10-node network you'll pay between £202.60 (ex. VAT) for one module up to £2,391.57 (ex. VAT) for all six. You can order a free trial version here, and request a remote demo here.

Vector Networks provides a decent support Web site offering user manuals and evaluator's guides; a knowledge base; patches, downloads and upgrades; technical updates and email-based technical support.

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