So we've been using ZCM in production since last June or so, and we have nearly 1,000 systems in our management zone (and climbing). The product has improved substantially since 10.0.2 and now. But installing, repairing and upgrading the agent continues to be a source of significant problems.

It's not once the agent gets installed - it's the installation and upgrade procedure that is a nearly fatal flaw. The installer isn't nearly smart enough, and during upgrades there's almost no indication to an end-user that it is proceeding. And once an update completes "with errors", the administrator is directed to look at a log file on the edge machine. That's hardly helpful. Uploading the log to the server might be a bonus.

Once someone's agent is broken - either because they shut their computer down while the 20 or so MSI packages are being installed and they didn't know it, or some other random thing goes wrong - it requires manual intervention to fix it. That substantially reduces the return on investment provided by ZCM. Either we have to send someone out to repair it, have the customer bring the computer in to the helpdesk, or spend a lot of time on the phone trying to get the end-user to remove and re-install the agent. Hardly a model of workstation management.

The agent ought to be smart enough to self-heal and roll back if an update fails. Barring that, allowing the agent to install over itself wouldn't be a unwelcome. At least when a computer stops responding correctly the agent could be redeployed to the workstation using the standard deployment tool.

Or provide a single utility (one .exe file) that rips a ZCM agent out, leaving the image safe data. Everything. Files, cache, registry keys, services, and installation database entries. At least that could be pushed out remotely by some mechanism and then the agent could be re-deployed.

Honestly, the agent installation and distribution mechanism is just too complicated and too cumbersome. It's letting the product down. System updates are no longer the disaster they were in the 10.0.1 or 10.0.2 timeframe. But the way that the agent installer is designed, and the fact that it isn't smart enough to roll back, self-heal or install over itself is a liability.