Don't drink the Kool-Aid
Hey everyone. Looking to get some thoughts for my scenario. I'm a one man shop, and as such, I probably use only 20% of the features of Labtech and Connectwise. I like both products, but are very complex and unfortunately I just haven't taken the time to learn how to do everything. I struggle with getting patch management working, (watched Vernon's vid and set it up, but not sure its working?), scripting, editing/creating montors.. I do like the out of band management such as event log viewing, process killing, etc, but mostly use remote access to fix issues.
I just reached my 100 device mark. I have about another 6 months on my first 100 device purchase. Should I purchase another 100 devices, or should I jump ship, and use something simpler? I'm considering GFI Maxx. I've trialled it before, when it was Houndog, and it was nice, simple, though lacking features.
If I do jump, are the 100 licenses that I've already purchased resellable?
I guess I'm just looking for some outside ideas of where I should go from here. I *really* don't look forward into getting stuck into another 2 year license payoff with labtech.
Wait and give Labtech 2012 a try. Things are a lot more logical from a layout perspective and most of the rest of your frustrations have been worked on quite a bit. LT 2012 will be out in just a little while as well.
It's hard to say as we are far from a one-person IT shop. Though, I strongly feel that LabTech is the best choice and I wouldn't jump ship.
Yes, 2012 is fantastic and most likely could resolve all or most of your issues. Though I would re-visit Vernon's videos on patching. It works fantastic and has worked wonderfully since we went live with LabTech early 2011. The key is to spend the time to set it up for your environment. Once set its pretty much set and forget.
Thanks. I wasn't aware of the new out of the box features that were coming in 2012. After doing some research, I'm going to wait and take a look. It looks like there will be a few options during the upgrade, and one will be to delete current settings and setup using the new Ignite settings. I'll give that a shot.
Thanks for the feedback.
Craig - we checked out GFI. It's an ok product, but their business model worried me. We've used a few different GFI products in the past (Email Archiver, MailEssentails, etc) and had very little if any success and happiness. My issue with them - as it was with Kaseya was that they were also going after the end users as well as the MSP market. I don't want to have to compete with software vendor to get business, especially when the customer seems that the out-of-the-box functionality is all they need. Of course, that's a sales issue that we can easily work through!
I'd recommend LT in a heartbeat and it would take an act of congress for me to jump at this point.
Craig - as an MSP and VAR/Reseller/Network Integrator for the past 20+ years, I can tell you I have looked at or used just about all the tools on the market at some point in time. As fas as RMM tools, LabTech has provided me the best out of box experience to date. I can certainly agree with you that there is a level of complexity to this product, but there is to all the others as well. Since you are a one man shop, I suggest you touch base with Stack Advisors. They work very closely with LabTech and can offer you a lot of assistance with scripts, monitors, groups, templates, etc. and can even manage your LT Server for you (or host it). I contract with them frequently for services and their staff is great. Here is the contact information to get your started, and please mention to Bill that I sent you. Thanks and good luck.
LT2012 is OUT. Give it a try now.
I've upgraded and I'm giving it a shot. There's a lot more monitors than before, which is nice, but trying to clean them up now. I had Vernon's patching method in place before, so I have to re-learn the "patch manager" method. I never performed the on-boarding process before, but redid this for all of my clients. I like how the system is detecting server roles. Along with easy of specifying patching groups, it makes it easy for me to automatically have say, VM host servers patch on Wednesdays, but regular servers or guest OS's to patch Mondays.
2 questions for labtech gurus out there. First, anybody using the patch manager and have any tips? I need to read the documentation, but I don't understand what I'm looking at so far.
Second, if you have deployed Ignite, you'll notice a TON of sensor monitors. I'm getting alerts at least every hour on voltages or temps being too high, and I can't find where these monitors are, or how they're getting applied. I need to be able to disable, or adjust the thresholds for these per agent.
But I do see now, that the OOBE is more than any other RMM tool can offer. GFI Max is easier, but not nearly as powerful yet.
Let me see if I can answer your questions but I am sure others will also chime in.
Patching in LT 2012 is pretty simple no matter if you do it via the Patch Manager or at the Patches Tab at the correct group level. The real key to being successful with the Patching as designed within Ignite is to make sure all patch approvals are done at the correct group level. The structure for approval is simply as follows:
- Approved (THIS IS WHERE ALL APPROVAL TAKES PLACE - Everything here is approved or ignored basically)
- Servers (At this group you could deny or ignore a patch that was approved above to exclude it from all server class machines)
- Workstations (The same thing applies here to ignoring or denying across all workstations a patch that were approved at the default level)
- Deny Rules
- Deny .NET 4 (All .Net 4 patches should be denied at this group and members of this group will override the approved .Net 4 patches and not install them)
- Other Deny Folders (same as .Net 4 denies but this is folder by folder specific)
Some specific documentation on Patch Approval can be found in this quick reference guide http://support.labtechsoftware.com/component/k2/item/download/383.html and Patch Scheduling here http://support.labtechsoftware.com/component/k2/item/download/382.html
As far as Patch Manager goes, by default when it is opened it is set to default to the Windows Updates Approved folder in the structure. All patches that are set to Install, Ignored, Not Set, etc. will show in the window. You simply approve or ignore the patches that you want to push out. If you change the Apply To: area in the top right corner to point to the next group ( Windows Updates Approved Servers) you would then override any inherited settings if you had a reason to deny a specific patch across all servers for example.
On the sensor monitors you have the ability to customize the variances that are used for the thresholds by way of manipulating system property values. A document will be published in the next few days that will outline what options you have for overriding the default setup including the ability to turn this off completely. Bear in mind that the idea of adding this level of monitoring to systems was to enlighten you to potential problems that simple event monitoring cannot locate. The variances that are set by default and used with the MAX value that the sensor is reporting at the time of creation are liberal enough so that you do not get put in a position where a CPU overheats to the point of failure without an alert. The other good thing about this process is that if a sensor triggers and then falls below the threshold the ticket that was created closes out and the next time a condition that exceeds the threshold occurs a new ticket is created. The real value here is that you can use ticket history to see potential problems such as fans that are clogged with dirt causing overheating and can react before a system is rendered inoperable and your client is then asking you why you didn’t catch the issue since you are providing monitoring to them.
I am glad to see that you think the OOBE is superior to what others offer. The approach we took in developing it was to build a foundation that could be expanded on and still meet the needs of partners that had 200 agents or 20,000 agents and make it so once a partner ran a simple onboarding process they could see instant monitoring without the hassle of figuring out how to do everything. We used our real world experience in working in the MSP space and thought through not only what partners were doing but also what else potentially should they be doing to put them in a better position to manage their clients machines. As time evolves we will do a better job of communicating not only how to do or use something but also from a business perspective why you need to be doing it such as in the sensors or other areas such as software installation monitoring, Exchange reporting and change control items.
LabTech offers a ton of features and we are now on the path to equip the MSP to use our tool without the learning curve of figuring out what to do first as you migrate from a competitive solution. While others may be simpler to use, I agree that some functional components are not as robust or are lacking. This release was a baseline for Ignite and you will see in the future many more useful things being rolled out release by release including enhancements to further contribute to ease of use and setup to get partners rolling on day one once they install.
Wow. Thanks for the response. I think I got it.
So before I blow out everything that I've done and start over... In the main windows.updates.approved group, I can set updates that apply to just servers, to approved, and even though that's inherited to workstations, that will have no effect on them? I understand an update won't install if it doesn't apply to a particular OS, etc. but I just feel like if I approve 5 of the same update for 1 workstation, that the system will be doing extra working sorting out which patch should actually be applied, or it may even try to install it, and fail.
For example. KB981852 shows 5 different patches. I can approve all of them in the main group, and that will have no ill effects? And I can even apply MS exchange updates at the main level, and that won't bonk up, or create more work for the workstation based agents?
Edit * Also, if I approve say, Windows defender at the main level, if I didn't want servers installing windows defender, would I set it to Ignore or Deny at the servers level? Would Ignore override the inherited Approved?
You are correct, patching works just the way WIndows does it so if it is approaved and not applicable it will be actualy ignored by the machines - only thing that apply and are approved will be installed.
Also like you said at the end, if you approve Defender at the top level and then deny it at Servers the servers will not install it.