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).


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.


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!


24 thoughts on “SCCM 2012 vs LANDesk 9.0 SP3 – the other story

  1. 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 dramatically without the expected operating level and with several features disabled by the amount of resources they consume. SCCM 2012 the best option ?. I think not and would not bet on that solution. I will not even talk about the administration because it is very complicated and requires that for every module or any Microsoft product .

    1. 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 .

  2. 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.


  3. 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 one commenter mentioned software license monitoring. That is a feature that once worked in a very basic way. Then it was removed in favour of a silly flash based thing which did not work in any useful way. It might work now, but we have given up and migrated to SCCM 2012.

  4. 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?

  5. 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

    1. 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.


  6. 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 company’s wallet.” We seem to have that problem in technology. It is certainly not the best, slickest nor most advanced product that wins out, rather it is the one people can afford to deploy the cheapest and still get the job done.

    Ever heard of Beta-Max?

    1. 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”?

  7. 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….

  8. 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 the company network.

    You can for example make an upgrade deployment for office 2007 to office 2010 for computers who will remain 100% of their time on the internet.

    So if you are looking for thousand of options for Image deployment/remote control/inventory management/Power options/Patch Management… and does work for Workgroup and domain computers aswell as virtual machines/physical machines and outside machines.

  9. 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 a USMT type tool, as I did previously in SCCM, to capture user state on one machine and restore it to another. Simple tasks like creating a base deploy and capture image for Win 7 or Xp or whatever is easy in SCCM too. Also agree that the GUI for the Task Sequence is real bonus, add or remove packages to your build process in a matter of minutes. The guys that do that here in LDesk, it takes them ages to update the provisioning templates. We also have a number of complex scripts in order to achieve things in LDesk as mentioned in the OP. The most obvious thing I notice when deploying packages from LDesk is that I cannot tell in a few weeks time what time and date that package was deployed and as a Collection of machines is not targeted, like in SCCM, unless I keep those machines in the task, I cannot tell what machines were targeted either. So the main thing I need LDesk for, imaging machines and deploying software packages, is a lot more complicated than it was in SCCM. Also have to add, if there was an issue with a component not running in SCCM, I could see it in the long list of component statuses and could restart them as needed, don’t think there’s an equivalent in LDesk.

  10. 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…

  11. 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 sw inventory attributes… Landesk has printers and routers and they also gave us warranty data from the cloud which was nice. Also can see real time inventory in their console

    App deployment – both could pull apps from the client, only Landesk could push the apps out to the client. The new Applications concept in 2012 is definitely going in the right direction. Publishing software from either console is a similar experience. So is packaging.

    Imaging – from a pure imaging standpoint – they both can do similar things with regards to sequencing tasks in order and migrating personalities (except the driver management is different). But from the standpoint of upgrading to windows 7, the workflow that landesk had made it a hands-free process and one our end users could start whenever they wanted. I also found I could get Intrinsic to do similar things in SCCM.

    Software Update – I had a different experience with the SCCM patching – I could only patch Microsoft products with it but I was required to patch Oracle, Adobe, and a few other products. I had to use shavlik to patch the rest of the apps that needed patching.

    Licensing – we needed a way to figure out where we were over licensed and where we were under licensed. Landesk had this laid out easily in their console. With SCCM, we used an add-on, SCCM Expert, in order to get this done.

    Power – both could control the power schemes… both had wol… landesk has wake on wan which kept us from having to reconfigure our routers for wol. Verdiem has the same technology for SCCM. It lets us push things out at night.

    Mac – both could get MAC inventory in the same console as Windows inventory (with 2012sp1)… landesk can also remote control and provision macs as well as do software updates and app deployment

    Hardware mgmt – HP and Lenovo hardware are both managed natively by landesk in their console… we could get updates in SCCM for HP, but had to develop our own solution in order to control the bios settings

    Mobile mgmt – landesk had all the ipads and androids in the console as if they were like any other device. SCCM has this too. But SCCM could only manage through Exchange while landesk has mobile agents which gave us the control we needed. Intune had the agents on the ios devices, but we don’t want our inventory on servers owned by Microsoft and Intune doesn’t have an on-premise option, so that was no good. Turns out that if we went and got Odyssey Athena, it could give us agent-based MDM inside of SCCM.

    Implementation – yeah, it was going to be more expensive in services and training to put SCCM in, but the higher cost was in the number of servers we needed for SCCM. If we went and bought peer distribution abilities for SCCM (from Adaptiva or 1E) – then we could get rid of the server cost.

    So, in the end it wasn’t really a functionality issue for us, because if we added enough add-ons to SCCM – it can have similar functionality and benefits as the landesk solution. The difference was in how many vendors did we want to depend on – and 1 was a better number than 10 – so that’s why we went with landesk. And it was significantly cheaper to buy the one solution from landesk than the add-ons to SCCM.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      many thanks for your comment. Though I do not agree on all points, this really adds to the discussion!

      Talking about imaging, I can’t really agree with you. With SCCM 2012, it’s also possible to let the user decide when he or she wants to migrate to Windows 7. So that’s not really an argument to prefer LANDesk above SCCM. In addition, the task sequences in SCCM offer much user-friendly flexibility what software to install, based on WMI, IP-address, Organizational Unit, etc. LANDesk requires many custom scripts. Try to build a flexibible task sequence / provisioning template that installs windows 7 with a C and D partition, joins the domain, immediately installs all Windows Updates offline (to prevent the pc from being a vulnerability in your network) and then installs software based on the IP-subnet it resides in. I’m 99% sure this will take 1 day in SCCM, where it takes multiple days in LANDesk. And don’t forget the maintenance time it will take in the future.

      Talking about software deployment, LANDesk has a very powerful Push functionality indeed! However, in mid-size to large organizaitions you should really try to avoid this. It’s time-wasting to install manually software on devices. An administrator should really focus on automating the software deployment, and/or in addition let the user decide when or where to install software.
      However, if you really want SCCM to “push” software to computers, you could use SCCM Right Click tools. You can force clients to retrieve policies, which partly fullfills this functionality. I think the SCCM Right Click tools are more versatile than LANDesks Console Extender. Take a look at

      Talking about patch management, you can use SCUP (System Center Update Publisher) to create and deploy patches for many vendors like Adobe and Oracle. SCUP for SCCM 2012 is free and works very well. Take a look at and for some examples.

      Talking about Power Management, LANDesk indeed has Wake-On-Wan which is nice and saves you some time configuring switches and routers. In some organizations, Wake-on-WAN may even be a key requirement, because of security risks.
      SCCM, on the other side, offers much much more granularity, Take a look at

      I see your company already chose LANDesk . Which is a fine choice. As I already said in my orginal post, choosing for LANDesk or SCCM really depends on (the needs of) your organization.

      1. Christian,

        I know I’m a little late to the discussion, but your comment:

        “However, in mid-size to large organizaitions you should really try to avoid this. It’s time-wasting to install manually software on devices. An administrator should really focus on automating the software deployment, and/or in addition let the user decide when or where to install software.”

        Tells me you are new to large organizations or do not have much, if any, experience working in one. The push feature to install software is one of the main functions I use to get packages that are required on all workstations in an enterprise to the end points. Combined with functionality to install the package(s) silently – which I realize both applications do equally well – this can be an incredibly valuable tool. Even more so, the ability to use a Push-Policy, which begins with a push and then converts itself to a policy for those workstations that are not available at the time of the push, is the best of both worlds! If you let users decide when to install software, some will never install it, period – unless you work in a place where everyone follows the rules set by I.T. all of the time – if you do, please let me know where you work so I can come join you ;-)

      2. Hi Dave, thank you for taking time to reply.
        I believe you did not understand my comment correctly (or: I did not use the right words to make my point :-) ).
        What I tried to make clear: In Enterprise environments, it’s undesirable to have users calling the Servicedesk asking for a specific application. Even better: a user doesn’t want to call the servicedesk! He or she just wants to run the software!
        A system administrator must indeed be able to push software to computers. SCCM can do this, LANDesk can do this. A task can be scheduled to run at the moment a computer is online. Again, SCCM and LANDesk can do this. However, if an enterprise administrator focusses on manually pushing software to a machine when a user requests the software, he’s not ready for working in an enterprise environment. A task for pushing software to a collection of computers is acceptable only if 1) the collection is a query, and 2) there’s a check whether the software is installed correctly, and if not, tries to reinstall the software the next time asap.

        I hope I’ve made myself clear now, taking away the feeling I’m new to large organizations. :)

      3. I have used sccm for 8 years and I now have used landesk for 2 years and going.

        task sequence vs Landesk templates.. What version of landesk are you using to compare to sccm 2012. The templates in landesk 9.5 can do every thing you mentioned minus WMI. Thats it. Patching is a no brainer and easy. targeting is just clicks . The key with landesk is to get the agent installed almost right away and your are golden. You them will be able to do everything landesk is capable of doing during provisioning. I can build a brand new windows 7 template in minutes.. Update it world wide in minutes.. Install targeted software in , patch the device.. not just only patch for windows but patch all apps no sweat.

        As for push, it is nice to have this option as a well defined method for delivery in landesk in my opinion. You sir, when you say you should avoid this in large org.. Do you work in a large org or have you ever? You will know that some time when stuff hit the fan and you need to push some you can. the cool part about landesk is that there is a policy based push. You push once then it becomes a policy for the pc’s that are not online.. Best of both worlds in my opinion

        Sup vs patch management.. Hmm you don’t have to but yes you pay for a subscription from landesk to make things real real easy. How easy? landesk patch management gives your a crazy amount of options as to how to manage patching. this is full time work if your or has lots of apps. Paying for the subscription eliminates the 2-3 people you need to manage patches. When i say manage patches i mean manage versioning ect.

        Power management.. In 9.5 just like in sccm you can assign granular roles to admins if security is of any concern.

        All in all, if you are going to compare 2 products, compare the latest version of the products to be fair.

        If your environment is near perfect and heavily microsoft driven, SCCM is a slam dunk!.. If your environment is so -so , not microsoft driven Landesk is a great choice!!.. I am biased. I have a heavy sccm background and I will always give sccm 2 thumbs up no matter what.. But landesk gets a thumb up from me as well!!

  12. 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.

    1. Hi Bob,

      I agree that this comparison is not covering all features of both LANDesk and SCCM. Both products offer some extra features, but it’s almost impossible to do a complete roundup. Therfor I’ve decided to concentrate on a few key features both products offer in quite the same way.
      I’m not familiar yet with 9.5, so it would be unfair to do the “9.5 vs 2012” check. I’ve seen too many features of LANDesk (and SCCM) not working (or not working very well), so I stick to 9.0. As soon as I’ve seen and worked with LD 9.5, I’ll update this post with the results.

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