Symantec Ghost vs. SmartDeploy – 3 Critical Differences

Do you experience the daily headache of managing PC images? Multiple images, high storage costs, and spiraling complexity are reason enough to consider dusting off that resume. IT pros are frustrated with popular products like Symantec Ghost Solution Suite (formerly known as Norton Ghost).

Fortunately, Ghost isn’t the only choice. SmartDeploy, a Windows OS imaging and deployment tool for both physical and virtual environments, offers three key improvements over Symantec Ghost:

  1. Easier driver management
  2. Device freedom
  3. Faster deployment

Easier driver management
Traditional deployment tools like Ghost create driver bloat, which means the drivers are rolled into the image for a particular endpoint. Driver updates can cause epic headaches, especially if your organization hasn’t standardized on a single platform.

Depending on the number of endpoints, this in-image driver inclusion can quickly result in an unmanageable image library. Additionally, large driver databases take additional deployment time and can yield unreliable results. To avoid driver bloat, Ghost users often pay extra for third party driver tools or it becomes a full-time internal task. Either solution drains time, money, and resources.

“I once spent three weeks trying to get Ghost to work with a new series of desktops and never could get it to work properly.” Explains Nicholas Schraufnagel, IT Manager for WAV, Inc.. “It was a nightmare.”

SmartDeploy answers this problem with Platform Packs—pre-built, model-customized packs that deploy driver-specific settings and software. This not only rids the image of driver bloat but also saves disk space and troubleshooting time.

Nicholas converted from Ghost to SmartDeploy and reports, “Using SmartDeploy, within a few hours I created an image from scratch and loaded it onto three different types of computers.”

Device freedom
SmartDeploy has evolved to meet customers’ needs. IT pros need the freedom to create an image for each device with the convenience of mass deployment. SmartDeploy delivers this freedom, Ghost doesn’t.

SmartDeploy lets IT manage a single image for any endpoint target in an organization’s infrastructure. IT pros no longer have to maintain model-specific images, freeing up valuable storage resources. SmartDeploy allows users to make images based on the software they need, not the hardware they support.

Deploys nearly 2x faster*
Because SmartDeploy capitalizes on the efficiencies of virtualization without the need for hypervisor, it captures and deploys images nearly 47% faster than Ghost. Its speed comes a patented boot-time driver injection process, prebuilt driver packages, a layered image architecture, and the fact that no additional infrastructure is required. Plus, it doesn’t rely on specific hardware and is simple to set up and use.

“I gave SmartDeploy to an entry level IT employee who had it up and imaging within a day,” reports Nicholas “We got 30 images done using SmartDeploy before we ever got Symantec Ghost to work with one.”

SmartDeploy is the remedy for IT headaches often caused by Ghost. For more information, read more about how SmartDeploy and Symantec Ghost compare. Or see for yourself by joining us for a live demo.


*Data based on test conducted by PassMark Software in July, 2011. Deployment times include image capture, driver management, and image deployment for one computer. Contact us for a link to the PassMark’s complete Windows Imaging and Deployment Software Comparison report.