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Altiris Moves to .NET, Releases 6.0

IT lifecycle management vendor Altiris took the wraps off its first major software revision Tuesday, featuring consolidated code and new features.

The Lindon, Utah, company has been showcasing Altiris 6.0 for the past couple weeks, taking its software suite on a road show throughout the U.S. and showing off application improvements aimed at making software managers happy.

It's the first major upgrade for the Altiris platform in about two years since the release of version 5. Officials said they spent much of that time revamping its code base, tightening the integration among its different applications and enhancing security features.

While they've used and will continue to use Windows Server and SQL Server through its relationship with Microsoft , Altiris' applications themselves were a mixture of programs written in C and C++. Developers migrated everything over to the .NET architecture and plan to release a software development kit in the next 90 days.

With it, .NET developers within customer companies will be able to take the Application Program Interfaces and create their own applications to tie into the Altiris platform.

"We'll offer people the opportunity to customize but we're trying to make sure we're meeting the needs out of the box," Steve Morton, Altiris vice president of product management, told internetnews.com.

Morton expects Altiris 6.0 will feature enough new functionality to remove the need for extensive custom-built software. He said a lot of time was spent integrating the client-side, asset management and server management applications within the suite.

On the security front, Altiris enhanced the offering to allow more people into the process without making the network more vulnerable. New role- and scope-based rules let IT managers push patch and asset management roles down into the divisions, without giving them the ability to make changes elsewhere.

The software upgrade comes at a fortuitous time for the company. Despite a sluggish economy, Altiris came out of 2003 with $99.3 million in revenues and 16 consecutive quarters of growth. Customers are happy, Morton said, pointing to the fact 65 percent of its sales come from existing customers.

Altiris started 2004 with the announcement it won a contract with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to migrate 10,000 workstations to Windows XP, and recently helped German Railways finish a 55,000 machine migration to Windows 2000.

What's more, research analysts expect IT spending to pick up this year and many experts predict Windows Server 2003 migrations to increase zthis year after Service Pack 1 is released in mid-2004.