SCCM 2012 vs LANDesk 9.0 SP3 – the other story

Along the internet are quite a few comparisons between SCCM and LANDesk. However, I feel these comparisons are made by LANDesk enthusiasts or by users who do not have day-to-day experience with SCCM and LANDesk.

As a server/workstation administrator in the past 8 years, I’ve had the privilege to work with both SCCM and LANDesk.
Both products do a, mostly similar, great job in system management, but still there are legion of differences in functionality and usability. In this article, I will present my experiences with both products and do some comparison between the lines.

This article compares the following products:
Microsoft’s SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) 2012
LANDesk Management Suite 9.0 SP3

To start off, in January 2012 Gartner rated Microsoft’s SCCM as the clear leader, while LANDesk lays somewhat behind. While this isn’t a problem in functionality, it IS a down-side in support and resources available. Just Google around for SCCM and LANDesk resources. SCCM has the Microsoft social technet forums, as well as a lot of other forums and many enthusiastic bloggers around the world. In addition, there are great (study) books available like System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (SCCM) Unleashed
LANDesk, on the other hand, only have their own community forum. Study books and blogs are rare (or even non-existent).

gartner-quadrant

Querying and reporting

I think LANDesk wins at this point. Creating queries and reports is really easy in LANDesk, basic knowledge (SQL statements, AND/OR operators) is enough to create the majority of your needs. In SCCM, though, you’ll need some hours of practice to create the queries and reports you need. SCCM has some advantages at customizing the design of your reports, but I don’t think they outweigh the extra expertise needed to create the queries.

OS deployment

Provisioning in LANDesk is like Task sequences in SCCM. It’s a great method of building standardized images and still being flexible in case of configuration changes. Both products deliver the basics, but SCCM offers the advanced features. Especially when used with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), you can create extremely powerful Task Sequences. Again, lots of documentation available from forums and blogs.
Looking at drivers and Hardware Independent Imaging, I would not choose one product above the other. SCCM is more GUI-based (thus easier to understand), and LANDesk is quicker to publish new drivers (as with SCCM you need to create, update and deploy driver packages).

One really big thing is the user GUI while deploying an OS to a workstation. SCCM delivers a nice GUI with progress bar and current task being performed, also during the application installations in the last phase of the task sequence . LANDesk provisions with a basic WinPE interface. Then, when LANDesk installs the applications as part of the provisioning task, there’s no progress bar, so users will not have a clue of what’s going on on the computer; they will logon to the computer, start working, and will finally get several mandatory reboots because of an application installations.

Software distribution

SCCM 2007 and LANDesk 9.0 are very competitive on this area. Both can handle error codes, different types of deployment (silent, user interaction, passive) and user and computer targeting. Both can wake-up a device with Wake On LAN (WOL) to distribute software. LANDesk has a very welcome behaviour to shut down a pc, if it was in a shutdown-state while starting the distribution task. This prevents systems from staying powered-on unnecessary

SCCM 2012 has made great progression by introducing user centric application management (if unfamiliar, google for it :-) ). Therefor, I believe SCCM 2012 wins the game in software distribution.
For App-V, I can’t decide yet. I know SCCM 2012 handles App-V well. LANDesk 9.5 supports App-V but I haven’t seen this functionality in action yet.

Patch management

Although the technical implementation is completely different, both SCCM and LANDesk offer pretty the same. SCCM uses WSUS/Microsoft Update to get patches. LANDesk uses their own repository. Therefor, patches from LANDesk are always deployed with 4 to 6 hours delay.

The SCCM client integrates seamlessly into Windows. That’s great, because you can install the updates during the shutdown process.
LANDesk can’t. Patches from LANDesk will install while the computer is inactive, or when someone is working. During this patching process, a user cannot install software and will get undefined messages like “Install failed. Another process is already running”. This causes many calls in my Helpdesk system, frustrating me AND my clients. In addition, when a patch fails to install, it will never try to run again, which may conflict with your compliance policy.

Implementation

While I’ve never implemented LANDesk, I believe LANDesk is easier/quicker to implement than SCCM is (according to the LANDesk community). SCCM on the other hand is very scalable, allowing you to install specific server roles apart from other roles. SCCM can become complex if you choose to install different roles on multiple servers. However, if you decide to install all roles on one primary server, installation is quite easy.

My final thoughts

LANDesk may be the best option in some situations. If you don’t have a Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft, or your computer environment is mainly Unix and MAC OS, I would recommend considering LANDesk. I believe it could be cost-efficient at the end.
However, I believe SCCM 2012 fits most organizations. It’s scalable to any size of organisation, from 100 to 100.000 devices. All features are stable, easy to use, there are lots of resources available (books, training, technicians, blogs). In addition, SCCM is implemented as one complete product. In LANDesk, I’ve been forced to use so many scripts and small executables to provide basic functionality; I could have implemented SCCM 3 times in all those extra wasted hours.

So, you may think: why am I so pro SCCM while all other Google hits worship LANDesk?

Well, try to google for a LANDesk vs SCCM comparison, and you’ll mainly find topics at the LANDesk community. Obviously, all those topics are pro-LANDesk, and LANDesk is always presented as best choice. I often disagree with the argumentation, but more important: most comparisons are between LANDesk and SCCM 2007. LANDesk better than SCCM? My experience proves the opposite.

I would like to encourage you to comment on this post. Discussions and/or questions are very welcome!

 

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24 Comments on "SCCM 2012 vs LANDesk 9.0 SP3 – the other story"

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mp3juice
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It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people about this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
Thanks

Salvador
Guest
It would be nice to see the comparison with LANDesk 9.6 SCCM 2012. I currently work with LANDesk 9.0 SP4 , managing nearly 120,000 computers with only 10 servers ( 5 -core servers and five DB servers) if any problem. For political and administrative issues, it has not been updated to version 9.6 LANDesk . It was implemented SCCM 2012 … the functionality of SCCM 2012 definitely leaves much to be desired starting from the required infrastructure (12 servers to the CAS and Primary Sites addition to almost 300 servers were implemented as Distribution Points ) . That raises costs… Read more »
Samarth Rai
Guest

Hi Salvador,
could you please provide any quick guidance on how many secondary servers/distributed point set up required for LANDESK for total 300 end points across 8 different countries ( all in Europe) ? There is already an Operational Primary server that is catered for software distribution for the existing sites .

Leon Han
Guest

I’m a LANDESK employee. Glad to see this discussion here to know how the user feels about our product. 9.6 is already out if you want do a comparison.

Thanks
Leon

CW
Guest
We have been using LanDesk for 7 years (since 8.7). IMHO LanDesk is nice in a couple of ways. But there are many, many things that just plainly suck! LanDesk has one problem: it wants to be the one stop solution for everything. Every version added a couple of features (and changed and removed a couple of others). But there are bugs and silly quirks, that exist for all of these seven years and nothing changed. This was especially annoying as many of the most used features were not improved in any way in 7 years time. It’s funny that… Read more »
ldc
Guest

For companies using predominately Windows and other MS products what would be an ideal solution to use if the main need is patching and deployment of OS. The need to fully automate processes is important granted that both can provide automation interms of pushing out software and patches but when it comes down to fully relying on either does one have an advantage over the other as far as zero touch deployment is concern?

Jim
Guest

We are a 27k node org and moved away from SCCM to LANDesk due to all the benefits LANDesk is giving us that were mentioned in the post above. Christian, I recommend you get to know LANDesk 9.5 and lay off the Microsoft coolaid

D
Guest

I would like to hear more about all of the benefits of LANDesk over SCCM.

Stefan
Guest

Jim, are you willing to share some details about your decision. I am asked to switch the other way round and would be happy to learn more about your points are. PM is welcome.

Cheers
Stefan

Raemann
Guest
The point that was made at the end of Anonymous’ info summed it up for us. In order to start out of the box as cheaply as possible LANDesk was the overwhelming leader (almost 4 to one savings in cost). The people that hold the purse strings are not in IT here. They were unwilling to drop a mil in Microsoft’s lap when they could spend under 250K and get the job done. The argument that is presented here forgets the key piece that I have pointed out to my EEs for years, “You folks are not sitting on this… Read more »
Dave
Guest

I think the point of that last paragraph was that relying on 10 different vendors for support to get the same functionality you do with 1 – LANDesk – makes LANDesk more appealing. Not the cost comparison. I always thought the big sell on SCCM was that it’s all “free”?

Job
Guest

It seems that its a very SCCM sided “Discussion” Comparing SCCM 2012 vs LD 9.0 is like comparing Windows XP and Windows 7… LANDesk has some great features around their agent architecture and the way the agent does its own peer to peer multicasting, something SCCM doesn’t do.

you said it was almost impossible to do a complete roundup but you conveniently missed out some of LANDesk’s best features. I have used both and both have pro’s and con’s, it just seems this whole discussion is aimed at picking the best of SCCM and worst of LDMS….

Anonymous
Guest

SCCM does P2P multicasting. It’s called branch cache and has been around for a while now, before your post I mean. I don’t have a dog in this fight as I’ve never used LANDesk so I can’t say whether or not it’s “better” than SCCM as if that wasn’t almost completely subjective, I just wanted to clear this part up. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd637832%28v=ws.10%29.aspx

Gontran
Guest
I have used Landesk 8.5 for several years to manage desktops/laptops. We then moved on to BMC Footprints Asset core since we have many computers on the internet (about 150-200). I loved Landesk for the interface, deployment, queries and other options but BMC Footprints Asset core provides for many similar task way more options. In many ways you need to make scripting in Landesk, in BMC Asset core it is not needed, most functions are buildin. It also has the capability to do remote control/Inventory management/Deployment/ and many other task for computers on the internet with no vpn/direct access with… Read more »
Stevie_G
Guest
I used SCCM 2007 for around 3 years and became MCTS in it too and for a large part of the time I worked on a single Task Sequence that would migrate machines from XP to Win 7. I encountered many issues with SCCM during the project, admittedly. However, I was able to teach myself SCCM fairly easily by reading forums, blogs, kb articles etc whereas now, I work in an environment that has LANDesk. Trying to work out how to setup provisioning in LD is not easy at all! Nor am I able to say whether you can use… Read more »
Paolo
Guest

SCCM rules!

Mike
Guest

We are doing a LANDesk 9.5 and SCCM 2012 SP1 comparison, and for the specific things we want, SCCM fits better. OSD for LANDesk just doesn’t seem right for us… we have 19 PXE reps that today are used for imaging points (like DPs in SCCM)

LANDesk didn’t do what we want, so today we are using our own custom scripts for so many things… I just am tired of coding around LANDesk to make it do what I want…

Anonymous
Guest
I have also used both products but came away with a different take – We’ve been keeping an eye on the Gartner quadrant for several years and Microsoft has never led in this quadrant except in ability to execute which means they are a bigger company. And as I researched and then piloted both LANDesk and Microsoft SCCM (2007 and 2012) I did find that more training (and training material) was necessary to understand the SCCM architecture, console and procedures. So after the research was done, here’s what we figured out: Inventory – both gave us the basic hw and… Read more »
Bob
Guest

Why didn’t you compare with LANDesk 9.5? Also you left out some very key features like SLM (software licensing) that SCCM doesn’t compare and can save money.

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