Thursday, March 09, 2006

TechNet Build'06 Tour - Session 2, Managing Change

Assuming the IT Manager (for Microsoft Server systems) has done a good job of baselining the infrastructure using tools like System Management Server, Baseline Security Analyzer and the Security Configuration Wizard, the next step in the MOF (Microsoft Operations Framework) is change control.

Personally, this is one of the areas that a one-person IT team most fears, especially when users either do not appreciate or will not follow procedures. Deploying software for users needs to be controlled and managed, something users with 20 years of personal computing experience find frustrating and symptomatic of an anal-retentive personality on the part of the IT Manager. Well, that might be true, but not because software deployment is unnecessary.

Deployment of Internet Explorer is a perfect example of how security and ease-of-use sometimes conflict both from the user and management perspectives. Increasingly, we rely on a browser interface for internal and external applications that are critical to our daily functions, even in small/medium businesses like ours.

I like what I see of SMS, but at this point, I'm not sure it is a cost-effective deployment management solution for deploying software and platforms like Internet Explorer 7.0. But...there is so much there! Business Desktop Deployment looks very interesting. I'll need a baseline reference desktop computer for testing purposes. But this would all be possible by taking our existing test server, adding virtual server and then creating virtual servers and PCs. All I would need is more memory!

One of the things that made this session memorable was witnessing Rick Claus having demo glitches. Yes! Rick is human...given his demo perfection at most other events, it's good to know!

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) is a free tool from Microsoft which helps SMBs deploy patches and updates throughout the network, a tool which Windows IT Pro Magazine readers ranked as the #1 patch management update product. This replacement tool for the previous Software Update Services (SUS) now includes support for Microsoft Office, SQL Server, Exchange Server and the operating systems.

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