Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

If you are in the midst of your IT migration, or just getting started with your planning but you’re not 100% sure what systems are in your environment, nor what applications have been deployed, then take heart – help is here!  This week, the Solution Accelerators Team announced the release of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 3.2.  I’m sure that right now, there are two questions that many of you have:

  1. What is a Solution Accelerator?
  2. What is MAP?

Solution Accelerators are free, scenario-based guides and automations that are designed to help IT Professionals who are planning, deploying and operating IT systems using Microsoft products and technologies.  Security and Compliance, Management and Infrastructure and Communication and Collaboration are the different scenarios covered by the Solution Accelerators.  Now that we know what a Solution Accelerator is, what’s MAP?  MAP is a scalable and agent-less platform designed to assist you in adopting the latest Microsoft technologies.  MAP includes inventory, assessment and reporting features that do not require the installation of agent software on systems or devices.  MAP can not only discover all the systems within your Active Directory, but all the “unmanaged” workgroup machines as well!

So, what are some of the assessment areas are available in MAP 3.2?

  • SQL Server Database Instance Discovery (new)
  • Forefront Client Security / NAP Readiness Assessment (new)
  • Power Savings Calculator (new)
  • Virtualization Infrastructure Assessment (new)
  • Windows Server 2008 Hardware Assessment
  • Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 Hardware Assessment

The inventory wizard uses an number of methods to collect inventory data – WMI, Remote Registry Service, Performance Counters, Active Directory Domain Services and SNMP.  The wizard must have the appropriate credentials.  There are some considerations to help ensure the effectiveness of the inventory and assessment.  Although the MAP toolkit is agent-less, it does require that all of the computers being inventoried are powered on and connected to the network.  There is no need to have a user logged on to the system, but the system itself should be network accessible.  If there are any network issues, or networking changes planned, those should be resolved prior to performing an inventory.  If you are working on discovering computers in workgroups or NT 4.0 domains, the Assessment Wizard has a Windows Networking Protocols computer discovery method that uses the Computer Browser service to discover systems.

The Remote Registry service is used to find the roles installed on a system.  It is also required for the Performance Metrics Wizard and completing the Windows Server 2008 role assessments.  The following should be taken into account in terms of the Remote Registry service:

  • The Remote Registry Service must be started
  • The Windows Firewall Remote Administration exception must be enabled
  • You must authenticate using an account with Local Administrator-level privileges

So, as you can see, the MAP Toolkit has some powerful features that can ease some of the pains in planning and migrating an IT infrastructure.  More resources are listed below, including the MAP Team Blog.  That brings us to the end of this post – until next time …

Additional Resources:

- CC Hameed

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