BigFix Enterprise Suite
Strengths: Features including multiple OS support and package conflict resolution
Weaknesses: The features make the administrative overhead greater than for other products
Verdict: This product supports more desktop operating systems than other solutions we tested. Recommended for its features and value for money
The BigFix Enterprise Suite (BES) really can do it all when it comes to policy management. The product supports a vast array of different operating systems, including Linux, Unix, Mac and Windows clients. It is built in three components: the server that communicates with the client, the console that allows for the configuration, and the client, which consists of agent software that resides on the client machine.
BES shows true scalability by using public key infrastructure (PKI )technology from the moment of install. This enables it to use already deployed servers as additional BES servers in a local caching model. The use of PKI technology also means that users who never connect to the corporate network can still maintain policy compliance through an internet connection using a secure sockets layer (SSL) process. The console seems complex at first, but after less than an hour, the layout seems logical and fairly easy to manage.
BigFix Enterprise Suite installed very easily considering the functionality of the product. A typical Windows 2003 Server without domain components is the ideal platform, and the installation would not need to be customised to support the product. BES also installs a SQL database server and a web server used for generating and viewing reports. These reports are actually more detailed than traditional versions.
Documentation for this product is provided, but the installation and configuration screens have the most detailed explanations we have ever seen in a product. Most administrators should be comfortable with the level of information provided on the screen for every option. There are many product manuals available for every options and system.
BigFix provides phone, email, and web support. The scope of assistance available on the web is impressive, including a knowledge base, white papers, downloads and many configuration guides.
The pricing for the BigFix product was toward the low end of the scale in this group, which is particularly surprising considering the number of features included. For this reason we rate this product Recommended.