Recently we posted an article that referenced the top focus areas for Client Deployment, and started a 5 part series on the elements involved.  We posted Part 1 a week ago focused on Application Management, and its now time for Part 2. 

In our first part of the series we spoke about the need, and the tools to help organizations understand application inventory, compatibility and packaging.  A large part of these efforts, backed by industry experts, proposes that when these tools are used as part of a larger management toolset strategy, time can be compressed, and cost can be saved.image

Client Management software, like System Center (seen the new website yet?  Vey slick – nice work Dave and team) , quickly centralizes the tools and their data.  Its great to have some internally written scripts, tools from a vendor, or services running from an enterprise platform, but if there is not a image centralized repository to collate the data, and roll it into meaningful reports that can form the basis for decisions, the efforts are not realized.

Stepping along to the areas of Image and application package management, Client Management technology provides a centralized repository where simple administrative tasks can be collaboratively managed by a team, either in 1 location or across a distributed network of staff.  The management platform also serves as the host for the apps and OS images that are replicated across the network, providing local access to target systems in the next phase, deployment.

At the deployment phase, Client Management technology accelerates its delivery of value by providing a centralized platform that allows the organization to explicitly target, schedule and control the rollout of images, applications and updates to larger numbers of users.  For organizations that are small or distributed, these capabilities are even more important.  The ability to target the Accounting team next week in Dublin, followed by the Sales team in London the week after is incredibly powerful.  This allows the business to operate, while providing a centralized control mechanism for the IT Administrator to deliver their services.  This platform also provides the ability to deliver a consistent image across numerous scenarios.  Network targeted, PXE, DVD or bootable media, or OEM.image

Through all of this, System Center Client Management technology doesn't just provide control of delivery, it brings the other important aspect of these services.  Reporting.  In any Client management landscape, there is a need to be able to report to on a number of areas.  For IT, reporting means measuring services, reducing troubleshooting, and refining processes.  To the business, reporting provides a measurable, defensible data set to analyze IT success.  Reporting is not just for the administrator, it is for the Security officer, the regulatory or compliance team, the help desk and the CTO.  System Center provides a collection of capabilities around reporting.  From in-console reports on areas as low level as an application install state, to OS deployment metrics for a large scale Windows 7 deployment. 

From the Configuration Management perspective, System Center provides over 400 inbox reports that translate to web services through SQL Reporting Services.  From the Performance Management side of the house, System Center delivers a wealth of in-depth analytics about hardware, OS, application and service level performance.  These can be agent less, through areas like Watsons logs, or as robust as focused Management Packs specific to an OS or application.  The bottom line is Windows is a lot smarter of an OS than it used to be.  Do excuse the sarcasm, but as we moved through W2K, XP, Vista and now 7, the OS is far more dialed into what is going on under the hood.  Performance and Reliability metrics, power transition timing, and other performance factors are now tracked in the box.  System Center centralizes that data for you and provides a platform to roll those data points into a centralized collection of meaningful reports that can be sliced by OS, application, MP, and more.  When that distributed data gets rolled together, the organization can do something about it.  It could be as simple as an out of date driver, or as important as an application memory leak.  The goal?  To keep that target system running as efficiently and performing as the day it was built. 

Other reports and data streams are equally important.  From a regulatory and compliance perspective, it is just as important to ensure that systems are maintained and compliant to the corporate or regulatory standards that are enforced.  How does an organization prove they are compliant?  Reports.  By providing powerful new capabilities for incident, problem, asset, and change management, System Center Service Manager supports organizations as they seek to improve the service they provide to their users. 

Another area where Client Management technology assists the organization is in data management.  Data Protection Manager is the new standard for Windows backup and recovery, delivering continuous data protection for Microsoft application and file servers using seamlessly integrated disk and tape media. DPM enables rapid and reliable recovery through advanced technology for organizations of all sizes.  A cool new feature in DPM 2010 is the ability for roaming laptops to get centrally managed policies around data protection. Laptop data will be protected whether connected to the corporate network or travelling on an airplane.

Client Management technology is important to the business for a lot of reasons.  If you are investigating your next client deployment project, System Center is a great platform to consider for a number of areas.  If you would like to see more of these covered by the teams who built them, join us at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas the week of April 20th, where we will be hosting our annual Management and Security conference.  We would love to meet you.  Already attending?  Let us know.  Want to follow the action, grab and follow the twitter hashtag @mms2010 . 

Here are some additional resources for you:

Up next, ‘Planning, Setting, Monitoring Client settings’

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bio picJeff Wettlaufer 
Sr. Technical Product Manager
System Center

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