New Program Could Ease Administrator’s Burdens

Most IT managersaren’t likely to complain about being underworked. Thus, any tool that can maketheir day a little less harried is a good thing. Most also wouldn’t mind ifusers were more capable of doing some basic tasks. ON Technology’s new iCommanddoes both, the company says.

ICommand is anadd-on to ON Technology’s Command CCM, a software delivery package fordesktops, laptops, handheld devices, and servers. ICommand takes softwarepushing a step further, putting it into the hands of the end user.

For instance,say a user wants to put Excel on his desktop. Through iCommand he can see ifthat application is available for him and schedule a time to download theapplication from the server -- such as at night to avoid slowing down thenetwork. ICommand then pushes Excel to the user's desktop, does an unattendedinstall, and adds the updated user profile to a back-end database.

Since acentralized system does the install, the IT department -- or an applicationservice provider -- can track what's been installed. It's basically a"form of self-service IT," says Phil Neray, vice president ofmarketing at ON Technology. "It makes sense to give end users the power todo certain things. [iCommand] empowers end users to take actions, but withinthe boundaries of a managed system on the back end."

ICommand canalso limit the types of software available. For example, sales and financegroups could be created, along with policies that determine which users inthose groups have access to specific applications and content. ICommandidentifies the users automatically and dynamically publishes a list of approvedsoftware.

ICommand is aJava-based, open-source program designed to be extensible by IT departments. Itruns on Internet Information Server or Apache, and can be accessed from anystandard Web browser. To use iCommand, Command CCM must be installed.

Ronnie Colville,an analyst at GartnerGroup, says iCommand works well, with one caveat: "Ithink for the [ON Command] user base, they’ll be happy with it. The only issueis when you do open source. Then support becomes a bit of a question becausethey’ll add customization around it."

ICommand, whichwas launched in mid-December, is a free download from ON Technology's Web site.

Index:

ON TechnologyCorp., Waltham,Mass.  www.on.com

GartnerGroup, Stamford, Conn., www.gartner.com