How does Symantec Ghost Solution Suite compare?

A side-by-side breakdown of the SmartDeploy imaging solution and Symantec Ghost legacy cloning software.

SmartDeploy IconSmartDeploy is an easy to use, hardware independent Windows OS and application deployment software that uses centralized, single image management and pre-built model-specific driver packages to deploy a single image to any endpoint device and improve IT efficiency while maximizing user experience.

Ghost IconSymantec Ghost Solution Suite is a hardware-dependent application that accomplishes OS imaging and deployment through legacy disk cloning methodology. Ghost software has a long history in the IT community yet hasn’t significantly evolved over time to work with modern endpoints.

See how SmartDeploy compares.


Manage a single image with SmartDeploy’s hardware-independent layering architecture

small SmartDeploy Icon Leveraging virtualization for image creation, SmartDeploy’s modular, layered architecture allows a single image to be deployed to any device. Users no longer need to make changes to images or create model-specific images to support various hardware devices over time. To solve the model-specific challenges, SmartDeploy leverages virtualization to create a hardware independent image that can be deployed to any device. Furthermore, SmartDeploy handles driver challenges by providing model-specific driver packages, called Platform Packs. In this patent-pending approach, only the precise drivers and software-specific settings required for a particular device are injected at deployment time. This approach allows the fastest, most reliable deployment and highest endpoint performance.

smartdeploy imaging software

small Ghost icon Symantec Ghost most often utilizes hardware specific images, in part because the underlying file format is a hard-disk sector by sector copy. This approach works best when users create and deploy images to identical hardware. Generally, users must create and maintain a separate image for each endpoint model they support and device drivers for those particular machines automatically become part of the image. This results in a large image library which is difficult to create and becomes quickly unmanageable at scale. Another option with Symantec Ghost is to utilize an add-on called DeployAnywhere or another 3rd party tool to handle device drivers. These tools rely solely on Plug and Play to choose the correct drivers for the endpoint from a large driver database. This method is slower and can cause unexpected results at the endpoint where incorrect drivers can be installed which leads to timely troubleshooting and wasted disk space.

traditional ghosting software

“SmartDeploy solved our workstation imaging problem. Ghost and Acronis are too simple. Microsoft SCCM is too complex. SmartDeploy is easy to use. Its automation feature is also incredible.”

– Leon van Lare, Head of ICT


Deploy an image with SmartDeploy in just 36 minutes

Deployment time in minutes

The results of a deployment tool comparison test conducted by independent testing firm, PassMark Software, conclude that capturing and deploying an image with SmartDeploy is 47% faster than Symantec Ghost. SmartDeploy is faster than competing solutions because of its layered image architecture, simplified driver management, and zero dedicated infrastructure requirement.

Image Updates

Single image management allows for routine and easy updates

small SmartDeploy IconWith SmartDeploy, the reference computer is built on a virtual machine for ultimate flexibility and efficiency. Users often create and manage a single image with SmartDeploy, making routine updates simple and fast. Plus, SmartDeploy runs Sysprep automatically at deployment time. So you don’t have to worry about the technical complexity, plus it maintains the integrity of your reference computer indefinitely since it isn’t affected by rearm limitations.

small Ghost iconGhost users typically manage a separate image for each endpoint model they support. This method requires a user to start up each device, perform updates, and recapture each image. Generally this happens over a network and requires special procedures, like Sysprep, to be executed before capture. This process can be time consuming and an update schedule can become too overwhelming to maintain.

“I have been in IT/IS for 18 years. I have dealt with a myriad of imaging products (Ghost, WDS, ImageX, Acronis, etc.) SmartDeploy has been the easiest, most intuitive product that I have dealt with, so far. I am extremely pleased with SmartDeploy and its ease of use.”

– John Abron, Rapid Advance

Evolution of Windows

SmartDeploy works the same for all architectures and versions of Windows

Image creation and deployment processes have evolved with each new Windows version. Technical details such as the ability to capture multiple partitions, disk formatting options, Sysprep syntax, and other core aspects of imaging are different with Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and changed even more with Windows 10. Using a reliable and flexible deployment toolset can significantly improve IT management efficiency.

small SmartDeploy Icon

SmartDeploy handles all of these challenges automatically for you. The same tool and process can be used on all versions of Windows OS’s and applications. IT professionals are able to use a toolset to maximize their time and streamline deployment and migration projects.

small Ghost iconToday, customers are dealing with an inability to configure Symantec Ghost to work properly on new operating systems. Continuing to use Ghost software to support the latest Windows operating systems can cause organizations extraneous cost, time, and effort.

Evolution of Windows

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