Microsoft Systems Center 2012 Article 1.2

Microsoft Systems Center 2012

Article Series 1.2

This article takes a look at the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, or SCCM. First, we will discuss the role and features of the product, and then expand a bit on the various new changes made in this version of the software, and what distinguishes it from earlier versions.

The SCCM is the brains of Microsoft’s System Center 2012 Suite. It maintains consistency in system configuration and management by using templates in the individual build process. The templates are used and crafted by IT Professionals to meet the individual needs of their organization. Whether they be security, business or functional application needs, SCCM does it all. To support this organizational structure, SCCM has additional components called Compliance Settings that maintain consistency across various systems and machines by preventing users from updating using unsupported or unique update parameters – a sort of regulatory safeguard for your system.

Next, let’s talk about the features of SCCM. Microsoft offers with this product hundreds of features that IT administrators can use as a part of their configuration to enhance their management practices. While some are more apparent than others, the general major features are as follows:

Operating System Deployment – All computers are based off of an operating system. However, deploying an operating system to all the computers of a vast organization can be quite a trying task. SCCM makes it simple to do by providing all the necessary tools to quickly and easily deploy and operating system as either an imaged installation or as a scripted method of installation.

Patching and Updating – Once an organization’s operating system of choice has been deployed, the work doesn’t stop. SCCM include the mechanism and tools needed to patch and update current systems, improving on the often used Windows Server Update Services tool by providing administrators with a more active patching capabilities. The active update system also conforms to any organization’s needs, forcing system patches, updates and reboots as dictated by the administrator based on policies set and published by the IT department.

Organizational Tools – In order to efficiently and effectively provide system updates and patches, the management tool needs to know what hardware and software each system in a network is running. That’s where SCCM comes in, providing the tools necessary to track the physical and digital assets of the systems it is managing. In addition, SCCM integrates a report generation tool that includes the ability to create personalized and customized reports on practically anything, ranging from asset inventory reports, to patch and update levels of each machine in the entire enterprise. Finally, SCCM also provides compliance management, ensuring that all systems have the same software, drivers, updates, settings and other important information to easily meet the most stringent compliance rules.

Remote Control – In the unfortunate event that a system needs to be serviced, SCCM has a remote-control process that allows the IT Administrator to remotely log in and control any computer either on or off the network with ease, making diagnosing and troubleshooting problems that much easier.

Software Deployment – Even though the operating system deployment will install the base OS itself on a server or client’s system, there are other things that need installations from time to time. An example is applications that need to be managed. SCCM allows and Administrator to effortlessly install, update, and manage software applications on any system, including unique applications configuration and customization.

HTTP and HTTPS Client Connections – An important part of SCCM is it’s ability to provide the simplest and most efficient form of client connections. In most organization’s networks, to manage a system it had to be directly connected to the network for someone to connect to, or someone had to VPN remotely to the network to apply patches and updates. With SCCM, this antiquated mode of support is gone, with a new HTTP and HTTPS connections system in place. This means that a remote system need only be connected to the internet, and it can be reached and provided support and updates from anywhere in the world, connected to the SCCM server through a secure HTTPS tunnel.

When Microsoft’s SCCM first debuted years ago, it left quite a bit to be desired. The interface was unfriendly and unintuitive, and its functionality was limited at best. However, with the current corporate movement towards cloud-based servers and computing, Microsoft has really upped their game and developed a product that vastly improves on its predecessor. Despite being the newest edition, SCCM 2012’s interface has not changed much from it’s 2007 predecessor – many changes were internal to provide the most efficient and feature rich experience possible. Here’s a quick summary of what has changed in the newest release:

New Setup Options – IT Professionals are now given the option of installing additional site system roles, such as Management Points and Distributions Points, during the setup process.

Addition of a central administration site – The newest editions of SCCM has added a new configuration option of setting up Central Administration Site at the root of the SCCM hierarchy. Now, instead of having the Central Site also being the Primary Site for all SCCM roles, the Administration Site is used for reporting and to facilitate communications between primary sites, thus adding the option of an additional layer for administration.

Behind-the-scenes Changes – SCCM now uses database replication to transfer data and update changes of site database content with other sites. It has also removed the need to configure Network Load Balancing Management Points – management points are now automatically set up and configured when they are added to a site.

Elimination of Native vs. Mixed Mode Sites – Both mode sites are no longer distinguished from the other. This means that potentially an organization could communicate with internal Management Points over HTTP while simultaneously requiring external Management Points to connect over HTTPS, providing more flexibility and security.

Elimination of Site Roles – SCCM no longer has system roles for many points, instead including them in a hierarchy with no need to specify a default Management Point.

Security Improvements – The newest version of SCCM provides various security improvements, including the addition of role-based administration to provide organizations with the ability to manage and administer endpoints across an entire enterprise, and improvements in the use of certificates and the introduction of user and device collections.

Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager runs it all. From the first steps of deploying an operating system, to managing, updating, and supporting a vast array of systems in an enterprise organization, SCCM makes it simple and easy to do, and PSS can help. We have the experts available to help you move your organization to the next level of efficiency and productivity.

1-800-285-2448 ext 1 (Technical Support)

Microsoft Systems Center 2012

Microsoft Systems Center 2012

Article Series 1.1

Microsoft Systems Center 2012 is a suite of programs from Microsoft that encompass Server management in one easy to use platform.  Prior to the release of this product, IT professionals found themselves managing patching computer systems, imaging workstations, monitoring servers, deploying software manually, backing up systems, and monitoring servers individually.   Now with Microsoft Systems Center 2012, the suite manages all those tasks, under one license.  Standardizing with Microsoft Systems Center 2012 is not only cost effective decision; it is a solid technical integration decision as well.  This article will discuss the important programs that comprise Microsoft Systems Center 2012 and how they are beneficial on all enterprise levels.  This article is the first of the series, and each article will further examine the components of Microsoft Systems Center 2012 and offer best practices as well.

The primary component in Microsoft Systems Center 2012 is System Center Configuration Manager.  This is the building block program that all of the other platforms will expand upon.  The System Center Configuration Manager begins with the ability to image or lay down the base operating system on a server or client-system based on specific guidelines for configuration.  Once the operating system has been installed the Systems Center Configuration Manager continually applies updates and patches to the system as necessary.  This platform also tracks the system inventory and allows IT professionals to maintain system configuration is maintained or edited as the enterprise grows, and has remote-control capabilities.

The Systems Center Operations Manager takes the organizational structure created and developed in the Systems Center Configuration Manager and monitors the on-going health of the system, as well as any applications that are installed and utilized on the system.  Based on specific rules, the SCOM tracks any sequence that falls out of the standard configurations, and notifies the IT professionals immediately to resolve the issue before it becomes a catastrophic mess, saving time, money, and resources that would be used to correct the issue and keep it from escalating.

The Systems Center Data Protection Manager is a god-send to the back-up world.  The Systems Center Data Protection Manager backs up client systems, server file systems, and Exchange databases, SQL databases, Hyper-V guest sessions, SharePoint Data, and all workstations that have Windows 7 and are connected to the network.  Thanks to this program, the organization now has the ability to recover a single file that was lost to restoring a completely dead machine.  Most companies cannot put a price on recovering their email, let alone a machine, or the company server.  With Systems Center Data Protection Manager deployed in the Microsoft Systems Center 2012, the client can completely recreate the network and system with new machines should there be a fire, act of God, or some other horrible event without the loss of data.

The Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager is a way to manager virtual systems.  As more and more companies opt out of having physical servers on location and are moving to virtual servers, clients are looking for a way to manage this process.  The Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager can also transfer fully running physical servers and transfer the operating system, application, and data to a virtual server in an automated physical-to-virtual conversion process.

The Systems Center Service Manager is a product that performs incident management and change control system that is tightly integrated with the Systems Center Operations Manager, Systems Center Configuration Manager, and Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager to take alerts, log problems, inventory information, and track system configurations so that the IT professionals that manage the network, servers, and systems have a healthy “pulse-check” of the enterprise system.  The Systems Center Service Manager brings together management polices and procedures under one platform that the other Systems Center tools use to facilitate day-to-day tasks.

System Center Orchestrator is a customizable run-book that provides graphical and text-based scripting that allows process not typically found in an enterprise environment to be supported by Microsoft Systems Center 2012.  These special processes can be anything from launching a script, processing a report, moving data from one system to another on a scheduled basis, or any of the similar tasks.  The Systems Center Orchestrator handles mundane tasks that can be standardized and triggered to ensure consistency in the operational process.

Microsoft Systems Center 2012 is a dynamic tool for any organization.  With so many benefits, and only one license to implement them, it is a very easy to see why enterprises that have a progressive growth plan for their business are choosing this option.  PSS Enterprises have the experts on staff to get your organization to this next level, protecting valuable data, streamlining processes, and being proactive in your network management.

Contact your local Solutions Specialist for your free network analysis, and let them show you how an amazing product, Microsoft Systems Center 2012, will save you time, money, and trouble in the future.

1-800-285-2448 ext 1 (Technical Support)