SMS 2003 and System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMGR) 2007 Offers below key features
Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 provides a comprehensive solution for addressing and resolving your change and configuration needs. SMS 2003 enables you to:
Deliver critical business applications reliably and easily to users in the right place at the right time.
Reduce software costs and stay compliant by understanding the installed application base and their usage.
Improve security of the Windows environment through increased vulnerability awareness and reliable targeted delivery of updates.
Deliver enterprise management to the growing mobile workforce through industry standards independent of connection or location.
Reduce operational costs by fully utilizing the management capabilities built into the Windows platform.
1) Effective and Efficient Management
SMS 2003 is Microsoft Corporation's strategic solution for change and configuration management of Windows-based systems. As hardware and software assets comprise a large portion of the IT budget, corporations are becoming more focused on finding ways to reduce these costs while continuing to deliver valuable business capabilities. SMS 2003 delivers on this by reducing the overall operational costs of managing and deploying software.
2) Simplified, Reliable Software Deployment
While new applications often offer valuable business capabilities, large-scale deployment projects have become less feasible given the difficulty and cost associated with such a project—resulting in potentially placing businesses at a competitive disadvantage. By providing a comprehensive solution for planning, testing, deploying, analyzing, and optimizing software applications, SMS 2003 delivers end-to-end capabilities to help enable the seamless deployement of the latest business productivity application to every device - from server to handheld.
3) Understanding Software Assets
As corporations are becoming more focused on reducing costs, the ability to accurately track corporate software throughout the lifecycle and stay compliant with vendors' licensing policies has become a necessity. SMS 2003 provides an integrated way to not only know what applications are installed, but to track application usage as well. It can track which users are running applications, for how long, and how many instances concurrently. This functionality is fully integrated with the enterprise scalable inventory of SMS 2003, and will allow you to save money on potential new application purchases, stay compliant on existing products, and effectively phase out unused applications, resulting in enterprises using what is paid for and paying only for what is used.
4) Securing the Enterprise
Failing to implement a comprehensive security patch management strategy could have severe consequences for enterprises - critical business production systems may fail, or security-sensitive systems could be maliciously exploited - all leading to a potential loss in productivity, time, access to business applications and subsequent revenue. SMS 2003 delivers an enterprise-proven solution for managing update deployment, providing a set of tools and processes that enables quick and easy determination of Windows-based systems in need of critical updates, and the ability to test and reliably deploy these updates throughout their environment, allowing enterprises to proactively maintain the integrity of their Windows environment.
5) Supporting a Mobile Workforce
As corporate workforces evolve from cubicle dwellers to road warriors, this increased degree of mobility introduces additional challenges for managing PC's and devices. By using the rich manageability infrastructure in the Windows operating system, industry standard Internet technologies such as HTTP, and the technology and best practices from Windows Update—used today to implement hundreds of millions of software updates per month—SMS 2003 has extended its enterprise scalable asset management and software distribution solution to the mobile client. Software can be distributed to machines over slow link connections without interrupting the core business functions and as users move from location to location, SMS 2003 determines their physical location and enables the download of critical software from the closest source.
6) Windows Management Services Integration
Taking advantage of the built-in management capabilities within Windows systems, management solutions can reduce operational costs by not duplicating infrastructure and functionalities already available. By integrating with the Windows platform, and then investing in the backend technologies, such as Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), Active Directory®, and Windows Installer Services, SMS 2003 provides an increased level of manageability for Windows-based clients.
7) Integrating Operations and Technology
Although SMS 2003 provides all the capabilities for change and configuration management of the Microsoft platform, without also implementing the operational processes in place to utilize these capabilites, enterprises will not be able to realize the full potential of this technology to effectively manage Windows-based servers and clients. To assist enterprises in implementing these processes and technologies effectively, Microsoft offers a series of Solutions Accelerators for SMS. Developed as part of Microsoft Solutions for Management, the Solution Accelerators provide a blueprint for addressing key management issues by combining people, process, and technology to help solve specific customer scenarios. The Solution Accelerators are integrated with Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF), management best practices based on the discipline of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). By taking an approach based on process as well as technology for solving management issues, MOF focuses on reducing unplanned system downtime caused by technology, process and people failures. The Solution Accelerators for SMS include:
New Application Installation Solution Accelerator using SMS, delivering an end-to-end supported solution that implements best practice processes to address software deployment of a new application onto an existing Windows Operating System.
Security Patch Management Solution Accelerator using SMS providing guidance for deploying software updates, service packs, and Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) fixes to Windows servers, SQL Server™, Exchange, and desktop clients.
8) Hardware and software inventory
By collecting hardware and software inventory data with Microsoft® Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003, you can build a rich database containing detailed information about the computers in your organization Such as Add or Remove Programs, CDROM Drive, Computer System, Desktop Monitor, Disk Drives, Disk Partitions, IDE Controller, Keyboard, Logical Disk, Memory, Motherboard, Network Adapter, Network Adapter Configuration, Network Client, Operating System, Parallel Ports, PC BIOS, Pointing ,Devices, Processor, Services, Sound Devices, System ,USB Controller ,Video Controller and Workstation Status
9) Software distribution:
SMS 2003 delivers the necessary tools to plan, test, analyze, and deploy complicated line-of-business and user productivity applications, allowing enterprises to provide critical business applications throughout the organization. To help reduce the operational costs of preparing software for deployment, SMS 2003 utilizes the Windows Installer Service, allowing self-healing software packages to be created directly from a Windows Installer (.msi) file. The combination of SMS 2003 and the Windows Installer Service enables users' security levels to be maintained for regular activities, while applying and utilizing elevated rights to enable automatic deployment of software, maintaining a high security configuration at all times. SMS 2003 was designed to be bandwidth-aware throughout the application deployment process, preserving valuable network resources for business usage through a delta replication capability. Delta replication greatly reduces network traffic by only propagating changed or new files throughout the SMS 2003 hierarchy, allowing incremental changes to applications without consuming expensive network resources.
10)Remote tools :
Microsoft® Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 Remote Tools is a suite of complementary applications that you can use to access any client in an SMS hierarchy that has the Remote Tools Client Agent components installed. By using Remote Tools, you can provide assistance and troubleshooting support from your computer to clients within your site. You can use Remote Tools to access and control clients that are using the Legacy Client or the Advanced Client.
You can use Remote Tools across a wide area network (WAN) or Microsoft Remote Access Service (RAS) links to assist clients in remote locations. Remote Tools supports RAS connections with a minimum speed of 28.8 Kbps. You can also establish a connection to your organization and then access clients on your network.
In addition to SMS Remote Tools, which you can use to assist any supported client, SMS 2003 integrates Remote Assistance and Terminal Services into the SMS Administrator console for assisting applicable clients. You can also use the SMS Administrator console to manage and configure Remote Assistance settings for applicable clients on a site-wide basis.
SMS 2003/ ConfigMGR 2007 provides you with a number of predefined reports that you can use to quickly gather a wide variety of information about your SMS operations. You create and manage reports by using the SMS Administrator console. You run and display the results of a report by using Report Viewer, which requires Internet Explorer 5.0 or later. You can view and navigate the list of reports by using either the SMS Administrator console or Report Viewer.
System Center has invested heavily in operating system deployment, building on top of the Windows Platform, and encompassing core deployment technologies common to Windows. The powerful capabilities of operating system build, customization, deployment and provisioning are also enhanced with the addition of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. Advanced customization using the Task Sequence engine and driver catalogue greatly simplify the Windows Client or Windows Server deployment process. With Service Pack 1, new support for multicast, unknown computer scenarios and full support for both Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 are achieved.
13)Software Update Management
Building on top of WSUS v3, Configuration Manager provides the ability to provide Microsoft, 3rd party and LoB application updates to both network and mobile users. Organizations that have invested in WSUS infrastructure today can directly leverage this to streamline their software update process integration.
14)Desired Configuration Management
A model based approach to managing the desired configuration of a system. Desired Configuration Management delivers the ability to measure and manage 'Configuration Drift' of your systems by defining configuration baselines. These baselines can be made up of Operating System configurations, software updates, prohibited and allowed applications, as well as customized settings. Additional Configuration Pack knowledge is also available to further provide deep insight into organizations infrastructures at the application or operating system level.
A highly detailed, categorical tracking of deployed applications using the Asset Intelligence database of known applications to discover and manage software families and titles. Improved Asset Intelligence from SMS 2003 also discovers and reports on computer owners and which applications where last run through software metering. In addition, full support for SoftGrid virtual applications and operating systems ensures accurate insight to the network landscape.
System Center Configuration Manager has brought significant improvements to an already powerful feature. Improving network traffic and site replication activity with Binary Delta Replication reduces the amount of data moved from site to site. In addition, the introduction of Branch support on workstation class systems allows for smaller sites with minimal infrastructure to relay Distribution Point style services. Finally, Internet Based Client Management brings the ability to deploy software packages, and updates to remote users. In Configuration Manager R2, full Microsoft Application Virtualization (SoftGrid) integration with Configuration Manager Application Virtualization Management creates the opportunity to deliver virtualized applications to a full set of client scenarios including streaming.
Managing clients beyond corporate boundaries is a significant improvement to managing security, updates and mobile scenarios. Internet Based Client Management for both Desktops and Devices is now available out of the box, delivering a full range of management capabilities to the mobile workforce. Offline, Internet Based and Branch scenario support are now included, driving a broad range of management support to your mobile workforce.
Out of the box integration to Windows Server 2008 NAP. Through the power of Windows Server 2008 and System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Network Access Protection, organizations can define and enforce system health validation for a number of areas of configuration. Configuration Manager extends this powerful capability to provide validation for the presence of Software Updates, one of the leading security issues today. Through this integration, systems can be validated through a variety of network connections as well as remain in a polling relationship inside corporate boundaries. If configuration drifts from defined policy, instant network restrictions can be applied until remediation.
19)Optimizing the Datacenter
Configuration Manager introduces a strong collection of server specific capabilities for the datacenter. From planning and deployment, to managing security, updates and service level agreements. Configuration Manager delivers capabilities such as 'Maintenance Windows' which allow for organizations to define when change can happen to collection members. Desired Configuration Management brings baseline definitions for both OS and workload management, providing datacenter administrators abilities to manage configuration drift of their systems. Finally, through the automation of software updates, the process of keeping large numbers of servers updated becomes more consistent through automation, and cheaper to maintain security levels. With Service Pack 1 and full support for Windows Server 2008, a complete management cycle from planning, through deployment and operations is centralized, simplified and secured.
20)Enhancing the Desktop experience
Historically known as a desktop management tool, significant improvements have been made to improve the increasing challenges organizations face for both mobility and security requirements of the mobile workforce. From planning and deployment to managing production configurations across numerous connections states, Configuration Manager reduces cost and complexity for your Windows client systems by adding robust automation, explicit targeting and security enhancements to your desktop landscape. Combined with mobility support across Branch and internet based connections the mobile workforce has never been more protected.
Scale – Configuration Manager scales to the largest of organizations today. Introducing SQL cluster support and SQL Reporting Services, through to the managed limits of 200,000 per Central site, 100,000 per Primary Site, 200,000 for System Health Validation, and 25,000 per Management Point. Configuration Manager is able to meet the demands of any sized organization.