Strengths: Easy to use, little administrative cost. Works very well for Windows clients
Weaknesses: Some potential difficulty on the installation
Verdict: If you are looking for a desktop policy management program for Windows users this is a product to look into. This one gets our Best Buy
GPAnywhere essentially works by installing an extension into the Microsoft Windows 2003 Global Policy Management Client. While the latter can only work with domain-connected workstations, GPAnywhere has two modes: a client mode that works in the same way and a stand-alone option, where the policy configuration is made through an executable place on the client system.
It was especially convenient to have the ability to include the GPAnywhere policy executable in a Symantec Ghost image file that would allow copies of common configurations to be made. There are several pre-built templates for common desktop uses, and the kiosk template seemed especially handy to have. The client will check for updates to the global policy at regular intervals, which include a daily check, when a user logon is completed or when a stand-alone client policy is moved from an inactive state to active.
The installation was a little bit trickier than it initially appeared. The product is based on two components, a console and a client. The console is the GPMC extension, the client the utility that is run on the domain-connected workstations. The console took a bit of work to get installed properly. The first change we had to make to the test system was to download and install the GPMC. This is an obvious necessity, but the program is not installed by default on Windows Server 2003. The second change took a bit more work to iron out. The console is also dependant on the .net framework to be installed. Our installation of Windows Server 2003 included a .net installation, but when we tried to create the non-domain client executables the process created a .net error. This was solved by uninstalling the .net application and re-installing it. After that, we were able to create the policy executables without problems.
Documentation is in the form of two PDF files: a set of release notes and a user guide. The latter is well constructed for a new user, with detailed explanations and screen shots.
The pricing was at the low end for the range in this review. We award GPAnywhere our Best Buy for its ease of use and the features it provides, which offer exceptional value for money.