Thursday, July 19, 2007

MS: Third-Party Solutions for SMS

Web Sites:

MyITForum is the premier online destination for IT professionals responsible for managing their corporations’ Microsoft Windows systems; it is especially useful for IT professionals working with Microsoft Systems Management Server. (
http://www.myitforum.com)

FAQshop endeavors to provide a “one-stop-shop” for systems management questions, answers, and utilities. (
http://www.faqshop.com)

SMS Alliance is a consortium of companies that leverage joint resources to strengthen the capabilities and benefits of SMS. Their mission is to provide organizations with the best-of-breed solutions and services to enhance and extend SMS 2003. (
http://www.sms-alliance.com)

1E is one of the founding members of the SMS Alliance, 1E is a company on the cutting edge of systems management. It enhances and extends Microsoft management and deployment technologies, delivering advanced automation and reporting across the enterprise. (
www.1e.com)

Macrovision Corporation, another founding member of the SMS Alliance, Macrovision Corporation is a recognized leader in software deployment packaging, software installation, and software updating solutions. They offer one of the best software packaging tools with AdminStudio.
(
http://www.macrovision.com/)

PS’SOFT, as a founding member of the SMS Alliance, offers extenders for SMS 2003 that focus on IT asset management. They offer a web-based software cataloging system called SMS Software Requests. (
www.pssoft.com)

Vintela, another founding member of the SMS Alliance, Vintela offers a seamless solution to extend security and compliance of Microsoft Active Directory to Unix, Linux, and other platforms and applications. They offer solutions that help IT administrators manage Unix, Linux, and MAC systems using SMS 2003. Vintela is now part of Quest Software. (
www.vintela.com)

iAnywhere, the last founding member of the SMS Alliance, iAnywhere offers frontline security and management to SMS and provides extensions to manage your enterprise’s mobile and wireless devices through SMS. (
www.iAnywhere.com)

AppDeploy is the Internet resource to go to when you need to script or repackage an application for distribution. Among other points of interest at the site is a massive library of applications, sorted by application name and vendor name. For each application listed, you’ll find a community-based thread discussing the best practices, links, scripts, and challenges met/overcome with working with the application in regard to installation scripting/repackaging.(http://www.appdeploy.com/)

DesktopEngineer is perhaps one of the best resources in the Windows Installer arena. This site offers a wealth of information on Windows Installer technology, techniques, and troubleshooting tips. I have noticed that he is starting to increase the content related to Microsoft’s upcoming PowerShell scripting language. (http://www.desktopengineer.com/)

Tools

SMSView is a utility that is used to extend the functionality of the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 advanced client. SMSView allows you to perform the following actions on an SMS advanced client: All nonadmin users to view current mandatory assignments and advertisement status, View advertisement history (past 60 days), View current mandatory assignments, Rerun advertisements, Remote operations (remotely view and manage the SMS client), Display hardware/software inventory status, Display management point/proxy management point, Repair the SMS advanced client. (
http://www.smsview.com/)

SMS 2003 Monster MOF is a MOF file that contains several new classes of MOF that will improve SMShardware inventory capabilities. The Monster MOF will enhance inventory data without requiring intimate knowledge of the SMS_DEF.MOF file. (
www.smsexpert.com)

SMS 2003 Web Remote Tools assist SMS administrators and allow client administration from a web page. (
http://www.myitforum.com/articles/19/view.asp?id=8662)

Corey Becht’s Right-Click Tools is one of the best set of tools for all SMS administrators. This tool allows you to right click on any collection or individual PC within the SMS Administrator console and initiate hardware inventory, reassign the site code, restart the SMS Agent Host service, rerun advertisements without modifying the advertisement, perform discovery, initiate software inventory, create file collections, monitor software metering usage, refresh machine policies, evaluate policies, update Windows installer sources,change port number, and change cache size.These tools can run per computer resource or for all the members of a collection.(
www.myitforum.com/articles/8/view.asp?id=7099)

Microsoft SMS Toolkit 2: Microsoft released a very nice set of tools for SMS called the SMS Toolkit version 2 . It contains the following tools: IIS Lockdown 2.1 Template, URLScan 2.5 Template, Policy Spy, SMS Trace, Advanced Client and Management Point Cleaner, Advanced Client Spy, Policy Verifier, Send Schedule, Management Point Spy, Set Preferred Distribution Point and CAP, Delete Certificate, Patch Management Evaluation, Delete Group Class, Transfer SMS ID, Package Loader, Management Point Troubleshooter, Client Site Assignment Verifier, Site Boundary Tool, Create Secondary Site Tool, Create SMS Address Tool.(
www.microsoft.com/smserver/downloads/2003/tools/toolkit.mspx)


Security Logon Audit Tool (SLAT) extends SMS hardware inventory to include user logon information.This data can be used in web reports and queries. The tool includes the following samplereports: Top users for all systems, User logon information for a specific computer, Systems where the last logged-on user is not the top user, Systems where a specific user has logged on SLAT searches the security event log for the 528 event, which is created when user logon events occur and is enabled via Group Policy. (http://www.systemcentertools)

Enhanced System and User Discovery Tools, out of the box, SMS 2003 does a pretty good job of discovering systems from Active Directory. It’s not perfect, though—there are a few gaps in its methods. The Enhanced System Discovery tool, assists in filling these gaps. Out of the box, SMS 2003 does not perform Windows NT 4 domain discovery. This tool solves that by enumerating all machines from a list of NT 4 domains, resolving their IP addresses from DNS or WINS, and creating data discovery records for each system. (http://www.systemcentertools/)

BITS Bandwidth Manager is an SMS Installer script that lets you throttle BITS bandwidthon Windows XP SP2 systems. You do not need to manually adjust any settings. The script takes care of the Registry key manipulation for you.(http://www.myitforum.com/inc/upload/11332BITSManager.zip)

1E SMSWakeUp: this WOL product is able to turn on computers after they have been shut down by users. The wake cycle can be triggered on a regular schedule to power up systems in preparation for the workday, or to perform software deployment activities. (http://www.1e.com/)

1E NightWatchman: Since we are talking about waking systems that have been shut down, it maybe a good practice to examine how best to shut down those systems in the first place. Why dowe want to shut down systems? We do this to enforce reboot cycles and to save energy costs. (http://www.1e.com/)

1E SMSNomad Branch: Some offices may not have the server hardware to allow for a Distribution Point (DP). But those offices may have a substantial number of users and/or be separated from the rest of the network by a low-speed or saturated WAN link, which you would rather not send multiple copies of a package across. SMSNomad Branch acts similar to a peer-to-peer network, allowing other computers to become DPs. If one machine is shutdown, another is selected as the DP. Included in this technology is multicast, increasing its efficiency to reduce network traffic on the local network segment. (http://www.1e.com/)

1E OSD Plus Pack: This is an enhancement to the SMS OSD Feature Pack. It allows you to leverage the SMS OSD Feature Pack in offices that do not have DPs. OSD Plus Pack offers similar functionality to SMSNomad Branch, but also has a few other applications bundledwith it: State Migration Editor, which is an interface for the User State Migration Tool, AppMigrator, which allows the automatic reinstallation of applications after OS imaging, PXE Lite, which is a local PXE server to allow deployment of OS images to bare-metalmachines booted from the network PXE server. (http://www.1e.com/)

SMS Companion 2006: This product provides WOL capabilities, similar to 1E’s SMSWakeUp, but leverages slightly different technologies behind the scenes. A key difference is that SMS Companion puts systems in hibernation, rather than powering them off. The following are some of the key applications included with this product:Wake-on-Schedule: Allows clients to come out of a hibernation state. Service Windows: Allows you to restrict the SMS inventory and software distributions from happening during specific time periods, to reduce or eliminate user interruptions. Load Balancing: Allows you to reduce peak network and SMS server loading by making sure that the clients use these resources in a controlled manner. (http://www.smsexpert.com/)

Quest Management Xtensions for SMS: Since Windows platforms are not the only systems in an enterprise, you may need a way tomanage other platforms, such as Unix, Linux, and Mac OS X. These management extensions offer that capability for SMS 2003. One of the unique aspects of this product is its support route: first-level support is handled by Microsoft Product Support Services. (http://www.quest.com/quest-management-xtensions-for-sms)

1 comment:

Snipper said...

Thanks a lot for this useful information!