BigFix Enterprise Server
Strengths: The product is so feature rich it is impossible to mention them all
Weaknesses: We really couldn't find anything
Verdict: A true top-rate product with easier administration than most while still including a massive number of features. Best Buy
The BigFix Enterprise Server (BES) is a highly scalable software environment. The tiered structure means that only a minimum of additional hardware is required for installation, and in small deployments, additional hardware may not be necessary at all.
The server that downloads the fixlets from the service at BigFix needs to be a Windows 2000 or a Windows 2003 server. The server is the only part of the installation that touches the internet. For scalability purposes, BES can also use existing devices to be relays. Not only do these relays help reduce overhead on the BES server, they also cut network traffic. In a large environment, a relay can be deployed at each geographical location to save bandwidth.
The server only downloads the fixlet messages; the console is where the policy is created. The major component of the network access control from the BES offering is the client firewall, which is configured and set for deployment on the console. This firewall can be configured to block traffic from machines that do not meet the defined policy for the agents.
The BES client software (also known as the BES agent) can be installed on almost any release of Windows, including 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, Server 2003 and XP. The BES client can also run on Red Hat Linux, SUSE Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, Macintosh OS X and AIX. Installing BES is simple and the policy configuration is logically laid out.
BigFix includes round-the-clock support for all users at no additional charge. There are extended versions such as the premium option, which gives priority and faster access to engineers than standard support. The free support offering includes telephone and email assistance and access to the BigFix website, which has a knowledge base and FAQ section.
All documentation is available online in the form of PDF files. These documents are well linked together, and a quick read will provide all the information needed for basic deployment, configuration and operation.
The pricing for the BES is based on per-seat licensing. At £6 per user and £18 for each server, this product comes in at the low end of the price spectrum.