|New England Area SMS User Group
This is the official web site of the New England Area Systems Management User Group (NEASMUG)
! Here you will find information related to our group activities: past and upcoming meetings, current events from the most recent meeting and other items of interest to the System Center Configuration Manager Administrator located in the northeastern United States.
This group is affiliated on a national level with www.myITForum.com
and the Global IT Community Association http://tinyurl.com/oddocy.
Regionally, we are also affiliated with Boston User Groups, Inc.
a centralized home for technical user groups in the eastern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and Rhode Island areas.
If you wish to become a member of our group, see the mail list subscription details and procedure below.
For details and any additional group related information, contact:Ed Aldrich (Chair)
April Cook (Co-Chair)
To subscribe to the Group Email List Server:
1. send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. NO subject line
3. in the body simply put the text
4. You will soon receive an automated reply from the list server giving help/directions and so on to set up personal preferences
5. You will see all incoming list email subject lines prefixed with [NEASMSUG]
6. You will send email to email@example.com
After our recent member survey following our last meeting, we are trying out another venue for this meeting, while returning to our traditional time.
DATE: 26 March 2013
275 Grove Street
Newton, MA 02466
parking is available at the TechTarget facility
Deploying and Managing Virtual Applications and Settings with System Center|
Speaker(s): Jeff Gilbert (MSD-IX)
In this session, learn how Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 and MDOP technologies can be integrated to provide users access to the applications that they need, along with their custom application and Windows settings, anywhere in the enterprise without installing applications directly on their desktops, laptops, or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) sessions. This session will feature demonstrations of creating virtualized applications using App-V, generating custom settings templates for UE-V, and deploying and managing App-V and UE-V with System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1.
Jeff will have the full MDOP portfolio installed on his demo box and can go into more detail about the other MDOP technologies if any are interested. The session/demo is really about showing how you can use MDOP and CM12's application model together to provide a consistent user experience across devices; including applications, application settings, and their data files. I use the other MDOP technologies to manage the GPOs and will have MBAM 2integrated with CM12 for the demo to show how users can self-recover if they run into BitLocker encryption issues. Jeff will also show how to sequence an application using App-V and deploy it with CM, then how to generate a settings template using the UE-V template generator and apply it to synchronize applications settings for users (both MSI installations and virtual installations).
TO REGISTER (Important!!!):|
As no food or beverages are provided, advance registration is not required for this meeting
****** Previous Meetings ******
12 Dec 2012|
By popular demand we are devoting the entire meeting to a deep dive of Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 presented by Microsoft’s by Michael Boldezar. This will be followed by Q&A
27 Sept 2012
Configuration Manager 2012 Migration
Notes From The Field
Everybody is doing it, or about to. Come and hear what others are doing, pain points encountered, tips/tricks and so on.ring your questions! This is Old School User Group format where everybody shares information for the benefit of all!
16 Feb 2012
What else do you need to know??
We have the distinct honor to host for the first time arguably the world's foremost expert on System Center Configuration Manager as our only presenter! Wally has been associated with this Product Group since the very beginning. He is also the magic behind YEARS of MMS Labs you all know and love! He is doing a LOT of travelling to evangelize the upcoming release of the BEST EVER Configuration Manager 2012 product.
Tonight he will present an overview and demo of the product, and tell you everything you need to know to migrate your existing infrastructure into this radically redesigned architecture, including a demo of the process!
Bring your video camera! Bring your notepad! BE THERE! Wally is travelling all the way from Redmond WA for the sole purpose of presenting to our group! If HE can make it, so can you!
This will be The Most Important Meeting in the 12 year history of this group!
Be sure to RSVP as seating will be limited!
I TOLD you it was BIG NEWS!!! There is a lot of work and expense going into this meeting! Please honor that effort by simply SHOWING UP! You will NOT be disappointed… Money Back Guarantee (See April!!)
See you on the 16th!!!
19 Jan 2011
We had a great, albeit small, meeting for our first meeting in 2011.
Jared Cook and Jeff Gilbert of Microsoft were available for a Q/A session. We had the distinct pleasure of welcoming Jeff as a permanent fixture to the area after his recent relocation from Redmond to Boston ads the head of the entire MDOP program! We look forward to putting him to work for the group in the very near future!
BDNA presented their "Normalize" software asset management solution:
BDNA “IT Visibility. Solved.” This covered their Normalize, Technopedia and Discover solutions for SCCM. The demonstration showed how some of the world’s largest SCCM customers currently leverage BDNA to optimize Win7 planning and deployment, mitigate Security Risk and administer IT Operations.
Highlights from the presentation:
- company is 10 years old, privately held
- 350 customers worldwide (incl major banks, auto mfrs, etc)
- Main office in Mountain View, CA with additional offices in Paris and Guangzhou
- 140 employees
- 4 patents currently held, several more pending
- Primary product focus: map and normalize IT assets (HW and SW) to provide sophisticated reporting and analysis throughout the entire lifecycle
- data integration with CfgMgr for enhanced capabilities in that space (collections and sophisticated targeting, enhanced CfgMgr reporting, etc)
The pricing model for BDNA Normalize is sold as a service (includes periodic updates of the core product database) or perpetually (a one-off license fee). The unit metric is per discovered/managed device. The total cost is a combination of frequency of use(updates to the database) and number of devices managed. The one-off fee is estimated at something less than $10/device
29 September 2011
Meet our new local Microsoft contact and meeting host Michael Boldezar. Reconnect with Microsoft's Jeff Gilbert, also of myITforum fame, who is now in living here in New England assigned as the Content Publishing Manager (he will bring one of his technical writers as well for Q&A as well). East meets West as well as we present Gene Feriolli, the former PM for Server App-v. And of course, lots of Q&A!
Speakers and their Content:
Discussion on the clarity around support statements on SCCM and Server App-V;
Deep demo around how to virtualize server applications via PowerShell:
Deployment management of applications in datacenters is a time consuming and sometimes unreliable process. Server applications packaged with Microsoft Server App-V can be deployed in different methods. Gene will guide you through the different ways to deploy virtual server applications using Server App-V PowerShell cmdlets and as part of a service with SCVMM 2012. You will see these deployment methods in action and how these can help and Organization Lower the costs of IT
Jeff reprises his lab session from MMS - Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6 Service Pack 1 Sequencer Technology:
Review the latest updates in the App-V 4.6 SP1 release including: a streamlined sequencing interface, built-in best practices and diagnostics, and App-V Package Accelerators. Jeff will show you how to create a new App-V package, create an App-V Package Accelerator, create a package from an Accelerator and see how the Sequencer's new diagnostics lead to App-V packages that just work
Food/ Drinks provided
6:00 Q & A - SCCM Open forum with Microsoft and the group members
7:00 Featured Topic
15 September 2010
Jared Cook current System Center product releases (including Opalis!), v.Next and his usual great inside info.
Ed Aldrich provided an overview of 1E's newest product "NightWatchman Server Edition". This product allows the Data Center Manager a tool to aid server consolidation, decommissioning, as well as power management and many other features!
3 Feb 2010|
Jared Cook was on hand to address a wide array of topics in his usual well-informed manner. As always, he's prepared to "go with the flow" of the group as may be necessary. This year looks to be THE YEAR for Win7 deployment as many organizations finally make the move away from XP. If you've been avoiding the entire OSD/MDT/Wim Image thing, this is the year to get into the space in a serious way. Start out on the right foot as Jared tells all, the good, the bad, and the ugly (especially if you are still on SMS2003!!!).
Bags, bags, and more bags! I’ve amassed a collection of 5 new bags to hand out from various events, including the prototype for this year’s MMS Attendee bag
MMS2009 DVD: We have 9 of these to hand out!
Books including Steve Kaczmarek’s CfgMgr 2007 Admin Companion and a handful from my own library that I will never use (incl .ASP Net, SharePoint 2003 and some others that are probably antiques, but someone may want ‘em)
23 Sept 2009|
SQL Reporting Svcs
Configuration Manager 2007 R3
Configuration Manager vNext
We presented an overview of SQL Server Reporting Services, the tools used to create your own reports, the "Model" paradigm as a foundation to building reports easily, connecting multiple databases to provide 3D Cubes for data analysis, etc... This is a major addition to the ConfigManager reporting solution that you WILL want to learn how to use effectively!
4 February 2009|
The Redmond Road Show returns to New England!
Khuzaima Iqbal, a lead developer on the ConfigManager Product Team in Redmond, currently a lead developer on SCCM v.Next was the guest speaker. His session was a collaboration of both questions for him and questions he had for us.
He addressed questions, scenario’s, and dilemma’s around today's product, and collected feedback around vNext.
His presentation slide deck, containing a wealth of info on SMS/CfgMgr is here: <tbd>
3 Sept 2008
We are pleased to welcome back to our meeting the always-popular STEVE KACZMAREK from the ConfigMgr Documentation Team, along with other Team members on line via concall from Redmond (Carol Bailey, Rob Stack, and Nathan Barnett)!
We had a terrific exchange of ideas around documentation and ¡§help¡¨ content going forward, with things like ¡§content as a service¡¨ where all help-like info was pulled into local console directly from a cloud so was always ¡§current¡¨ and only ever needed to be updated in one place (the cloud)... allowing a local copy also for those sites with no internet access from data center for example.,.. but still pulling dynamic content down in real time in same or similar fashion that those locked down sites use to pull security updates and catalog ¡§down¡¨... also talked about YouTube-like mini-videos that would ¡§show¡¨ how to perform certain actions/steps (e.g. configure certificates in native mode; set up WSUS; etc, etc)... and so on...
Check out the Configuration Manager Writer¡¦s Blog: http://blogs.technet.com/wemd_ua_-_sms_writing_team/default.aspx
and be sure to sign up for their RSS feed. Remember you can still use firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any documentation comments or suggestions ¡Vbe nice, because all nasty emails will be deleted ƒº
Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 was Released to Manufacturing http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/softgrid/default.mspx
Check out Peter Ballantyne¡¦s ( and his team) docs that also went live last week: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc843848.aspx
The APP/V folks also have an email alias email@example.com please send along your comments for their documentation as well.
25 June 2008|
Microsoft New England Corporate Office
6:00 Q & A - SCCM Open forum with Microsoft and the group members while we enjoy pizza :)
8:00 SCCM SP1
An information sharing evening. For those who have already upgraded to System Center Configuration Manager, bring your experiences, and for those who are planning your upgrade, bring your questions.
Jared Cook (Microsoft) will demo / discuss System Center Configuration Manager SP1/R2. Jared will connect into his lab to provide a visual overview of SP1.
Are you currently evaluating or using Softgrid? This is your chance to talk with the product architect and share your experiences with the current product and also to share the deficiencies that make it difficult to deploy / manage in your environment. After a candid discussion you will have the opportunity to see what is coming in the future release (4.5) of the Softgrid product with discussion around:
o Softgrid and Enterprise Software Distribution interop scenarios
o Internet Facing Scenarios
o Globalization / Localization
o "Dynamic Suiting"
Bring an external Hard drive with you there is going to be a special give away that you won't want to miss! Make sure that you have 40GB free.... ;-)
21 June 2007|
SMS 2003 SP3 and Asset Intelligence
Jared Cook from the Microsoft Waltham Systems Management team will present a lively overview of SMS2003 SP3, with added focus on the new Asset Intelligence components now in SP3!
Bill is in the area discussing virtualization strategies with local customers, so this is likely to be on his mind. VISTA just shipped, so VISTA deployment with SCCM 2007 is likely to be in the mix... but with Bill, who knows?!
1 November 2006|
We were privileged to have both Dustin Ingalls and Steve Kaczmarek from Microsoft attending and presenting to our group!
Dustin is now assigned to the Waltham office and coordinating the acquisition of Softricity, and its integration into SCCM 2007
Steve leads the Documentation Team back in Redmond. he says "My goal in meeting with on site customers is primarily to assess how the SMS admins approach their work, and especially where they go for information about making SMS work in their organization. As the doc manager, I am looking for contrastive feedback from customers about the content we are currently providing - quality, discoverability, usability, completeness, and format. I'd like to talk about the direction we are going with the SCCM content, and brainstorm about what can make the "content" into truly usable "information". I'd like to talk with the folks that implement and maintain SMS, as well as with those that use it daily."
April 6th, 2006|
Integrating Application Virtualization
On-demand Streaming into SMS Environments
Just about everyone understands the concepts of a Virtual Machine (VM) environment to "virtualize" a server or PC, but what about applications? Microsoft and Softricity recently announced a strategic partnership wherin the Softricity solution is now tightly integrated with Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS). As we all know, SMS is the most widely used tool for deploying and managing applications and operating systems on Windows® desktops and servers. With SoftGrid for SMS, IT administrators can now gain all the benefits of the SoftGrid platform – including application virtualization, on-demand streaming and self provisioning – from within their existing SMS infrastructures. It provides a single management interface for both locally installed and virtualized applications. The presenter will demonstrate how SoftGrid for SMS enables SMS users to take advantage of the manageability inherent in the Windows platform to quickly achieve greater ROI and speed up application deployments.
January 25th, 2006|
Desired State Configuration Management
Mike Schultz, of the national Microsoft Consulting Services organization, provided an excellent and in depth overview of the newly released Desired State Configuration Management solution accelerator. The evening's content ranged from a high level overview of DCM, through the installation, configuration operation, and deployment of the tool. DCM makes use of a configured set of "rules" that defines the desired state of a class of "like" servers. The results are contained in a "manifest" that is advertised to a server (or collection of servers), where a special scan tool evaluates the systems "compliance" with the data in the manifest. The results are carried up to the SMS database for high level reporting, trend analysis and so on. The PowerPoint slides along with four sample manifests will e available here shortly.
Deep Dive Into Latest Products From 1E
Derek Hartung from 1E presented on 1E’s tools for the agile infrastructure, a collection of products that enhance and extend the features of SMS and MOM, providing visibility and control for Windows environments. The presentation included live demos and covered the following products:
Deskmon – lightweight monitoring for critical desktops
OSD Plus Pack – zero touch desktop migrations
Shopping – user self-service for SMS applications
TruSys – server baselining and change management
MOMent – executive reporting for business services and SLAs
SMSNomad – advanced bandwidth management
SMSWakeup – remote WOL for SMS advertisements
NightWatchman. – advanced power management
Extending SMS 2003 with Microsoft & 3rd Party Solutions
This was a reprise of the session Ed Aldrich presented at MMS 2005.
Manakoa's MOM 2005 System Controls Management Pack:
This was an excellent joint presentation conducted by Microsoft and their key Partner, Manakoa Services Corp, to demonstrate MOM 2005 and Manakoa's System Controls Management Pack (SCMP). The SCMP audits key compliance controls for IT resources in order to support compliance governance efforts. Leveraging MOM 2005 collection, event management, alerting, and reporting services, the MP simplifies auditing processes and provides detailed reporting on IT compliance data. It also provides templates for event rules, alert notifications, and reporting services to track regulatory auditing requirements. The initial release of this MP focuses on collecting IT system security events to support Sarbanes-Oxley reporting requirements for Windows Servers.
Manakoa's presentation may be downloaded here: 10956Manakoa_SOXSolutions_NewEnglandUserGroup_062005.zip
LADYBUG: The newest Microsoft offering to automate submission and tracking of bugs for all product lines (code name LADYBUG) will be updated to include SMS in early-mid February. To see this terrific solution, visit http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/productfeedback/. For a good overview, select Microsoft Operations Manager in the PRODUCTS drop down dialog. Soon you will also see SMS there as a valid option!
SMS Expert’s Dave Jaffe (http://www.smsexpert.com/) presented an excellent overview of the latest software release of their product Extended Software Distribution 2003. The philosophy behind this product: Provide the enterprise with a web based store front for supporting deployment of software. Highly Recommended!!
Dave's PowerPoint slides are attached HERE: 10324SMSExpert_ESD.zip
New Products Coming in 2005 for SMS
- Enhanced Hardware Inventory (EHI) - a tool to extend SMS abilities into the non-Windows platform
- SMS Alert - A tool to alert if "Business Practices" are exceeded (this bears watching IMHO!!)
- eBooks: Look for titles on MOF customization; MSI; and, Managing a Global SMS Hierarch
Softricity www.Softricity.com. did a brief presentation of their Softgrid Extensions for SMS product (see [http://www.softricity.com/news/031504.asp). Due to scheduling constraints they had a very limited time slot; however, in that short time, they made a compelling case for a very interesting technology and approach to application deployment. Here’s a brief overview of their offering:
SoftGrid® Extensions for Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) allows customers to combine the electronic software delivery of Microsoft SMS with the application virtualization capabilities of Softricity SoftGrid. The combined products enable enterprises to simplify and accelerate testing, deployment and management of all Windows applications.
SoftGrid SMS enables enterprises:
Greater flexibility by allowing customers to choose the best way to deploy conflict-free applications while managing OS-level patches, updates and inventory from a single, integrated management console.
Elimination of application conflicts through SoftGrid's patented SystemGuard™ technology, a protective run-time "sandbox" environment that allows applications to execute without being installed and without altering the host computer.
Significant reduction in regression testing by eliminating the need to test how one application's installation affects an existing installed environment; this results in accelerated time to deployment.
eXc Software www.eXcSoftware.com. Their presentation was very intriguing. If you understand how SMS_DEF.MOF uses the WMI “providers” to probe for and retrieve specified information, then you understand how eXc is able to get data from a wide range of devices and pull the results into SMS. They implement their own “providers” into the WMI space on the site server, and then run a script (VB; Java; dot.net; etc) on the target device to get the desired data. They use either TelNet and/or SSH to get to the target device. Examples of their “extended” WMI Providers (partial list only!):|
AS400; IBM MVS; 3Com; APC; Cisco; EMC; HP Tru64; HP-UX; IBM AIX; MAC OS X; OpenBSD; Redhat Linux; SCO Unix; Sun Solaris; Synoptics; etc
They are also heavily into the MOM space as well, extending MOM alerting/monitoring into non-Intel devices for real time management and monitoring. They use an agent-less model, and charge a flat fee of $49.00 per device managed. Supports SMS2 and SMS 2003
Vintela www.vintela.com. The focus was on their new VMX product (www.vintela.com/products/vmx/), released 8/2004, for SMS2003 only. The simplest way to think of this product is to visualize an SMS “client” from Vintela being installed on a Unix device (root access required to install, either PUSH from SMS console, or manually on the local system). Once installed, the Unix device then looks and acts just like an Intel/Windows SMS client with all the same features and functions, including the ability to launch Unix remote control tools. Once installed, it even extends the SMS Console to add Unix related collections and queries. This product is so tightly integrated within SMS 2003 that should you need support for it, you go to Microsoft PSS! Pricing: $1,995 for the SMS Server side; $125 per non-Windows server; $75 per non-windows workstation. This is a very slick implementation. Vintela is also a founding member of the SMS Alliance.
June 17th, 2004|
SMS 2003: Installation/Upgrade, Configuration and Operation
With the launch of SMS 2003, Microsoft has added a powerful management capability into the Systems Management space that offers massive improvements over SMS 2.0.
Andrew Boisvert will demonstrate a new installation of an SMS 2003 site into an Active Directory 2003 environment into an existing SMS 2003 central site hierarchy. He will configure that site to discuss the various options and their relative pros and cons. He will also discuss major architectural changes in SMS 2003 from SMS 2.0 as well as important new features. Other discussion points will include the use of Management Points, schema extensions, advanced security, roaming boundaries, web-based reporting, software distribution improvement, the SMS Advanced Client, new OS support, asset management within SMS, and how to best leverage Active Directory 2003 to get the most out of SMS 2003.
Upgrade scenarios will also be addressed, including "in place" vs. "side-by-side migration"
There will also be a discussion around the recent Microsoft Management Summit, and some of the new SMS related items we are looking forward to over the coming year, like the Device Management Pack and the OS Deployment Feature Pack!
February 26th, 2004 (Marlboro, MA)|
BigFix Client Manager Suite
Including an overview of BigFix Client Manager for SMS; and, BigFix Client Manager for AntiVirus.
Many existing Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) deployments suffer from improperly configured or corrupted nodes. BigFix Client Manager for Microsoft SMS optimizes and enhances the management and performance of SMS and the legacy SMS client. BigFix Client Manager for SMS continuously monitors your legacy SMS clients and ensures that they are installed and operating properly at all times. Need to keep SMS running smoothly on Windows 95, 98 and NT 4? Want instant notification of new problems in the SMS environment? BigFix Client Manager for Microsoft SMS can help:
SMS legacy clients are installed
SMS clients are working correctly at all times
SMS client files are up-to-date
Windows registry keys are set correctly
Damaged or missing DLLs are immediately detected and repaired
Web-based reports on SMS client coverage and operation
SMS 2003 Preview Tour
Presented by Bill Anderson, Lead product Manager - Enterprise Management Division,
There were over 100 attendees at this event, nearly ½ of which were members of this group! Talk about a great turnoput!
For those who were not able to attend, I've attached a 3mb ZIP of the Powperpoint slides included on the CD provided to all attendees!!
Following is a detailed summary of the event.
MS: So just how do you plan on supporting those MAC clients? Keep an old site to support them in the hierarchy?
ANS: No, we’ll probably just let them drop off the face of the earth
MS: We’d likely support that plan!
250,000 seats in production at RTM
SWD Reliability: From the soon to be released Marathon Oil EAP Case Study (12,000 seats in production since beta II): they ran 1 million installs from 70 packages by their client base, with 198 failures, or better than 99.99% success; HelpDesk calls are down by 20%
At Microsoft, pre-SMS2003, they saw an 11% rate of “end user” initiated job executions when requested to do so via email notifications (patch management installs
MS “OTG” group, now, using integrated patch deployment with mandatory executions, they are able to obtain 97% compliance on 108,000 workstations and 5,500 servers in as little as 4 hours. The workstation group deployed 350,000 SW distribution installations/configurations since July using one SMS Admin (None other than our old friend Paul Thomsen!!)
PS’Soft has a terrific integration with SMS for total asset management solutions
Vintela has a CIMOM agent to extend SMS into the UNIX/LINUX space
Xcellenet has tools to extend to the Palm/Blackberry space
Altiris has tools to extend into the handheld and UNIX/LINUX space |
1E has, in addition to their well known SMSWakeup WakeOnLan tools, also has SMSNomad Branch Office add-on to extend secondary site (like) behavior to remote sites without need for a true secondary site
Dell has integrated their hardware patch/bios upgrades directly into the Patch Management system! You go into DSUW, and drop down on the “type” of patch desired. Now, in addition to Security and Office, there will be a “DELL” option! This is huge!! Call your Dell reps for details!!
OS Deployment via Feature Pack – look for this in Q2/04:
Integrated OS Deploy planning; User state migration; Powerquest/Ghost integration
MP Scalability and WAN-remote clients accessing the MP
Depends a lot on how the site is configured, and on what frequency events occur (all impacts client activity to/from MP: How often is the client checking for new policy? What are the SW Metering cycles/schedules for data upload? How often is inventory running? NOTE: HW/SW inventory is now on the order of 5-7x faster and more efficient than legacy client. Use a single client and NetMon to model behavior and see what’s actually taking place; Setting up an MP “proxy” at the remote location may help this issue
SCALABILITY Guidelines doc due next month
PRINT and/or hard copy versions of existing docs will be available next Monday on the SMS home page
Over 160 reports included
Advertisements now include support for execution during a “service window” using a “start” time as well as an “end” time, scheduled on a recurring basis (e.g. “between 1am and 3am, daily)
Odds and Ends
“Virtual PC” product (Vmware like tool) is RTM
“Virtual Server” product is at RC1 (ship due Q1/04)
New MSI Installer (with MSI Uninstall/Rollback support) due Q1/04
New MBSA v1.2 (able to find MDAC and the other oddball product patch state info) due 11/ or 12/03
Using BITS download technology: Use care in creating packages; if you compile many files into a single, large file you may have issues with traveling computers getting the entire file drizzled down. If the client commences the BITS download from DP “A”, then move to a new location, the download may well resume from DP “B”. BITS technology today is such that the cache “catalog” held by the client, when compared to the download at “B”, is unable to resume at the “BYTE” level at “B” using the binary checkpoint feature; consequently, BITS will resort to drizzling down at the file level – or the entire large program. It can do this at the BYTE level within a file if the d/l continues from “A” since the catalogs are in synch. Best Practice (for now): Deploy packages using many files vs. a single compiled file
Overall impression: An excellent preview… excellent technical drill down, and Q&A sessions… our 5+ hours was devoted to extensive technical discussions overall, with tons of one-on-one Q&A time at the end of the session…
September, 2003 Meeting
Dean Leonard presented an overview of this very timely topic! For those who are not aware of it, SMS 2003 has all the features of the SMS Feature Pack for SW Update Services built right into the product. This discussion illustrated the mechanics and processes used by this powerful feature set. The information presented was also of significant benefit to those with SMS v2.0, and wanting to know more about implementing SMSFP today!
PS'Soft's license compliance and asset tracking add-in to SMS. See http://www.pssoft.net/news_agenda_sept17-24.html for additional details.
May 2003 Meeting
KEYNOTE TOPIC: Microsoft Management - The Future
presented by Dean Leonard, Technical Specialist; Microsoft Waltham office
Many thanks to ANA HAMSON for her thoughtful and much appreciated donation of light snacks before the meeting!
This meeting date coincided with a day of free seminars conducted at the Microsoft complex in Waltham. Microsoft Operations Manager was the focus of the morning session; while, the SMS Feature Pack for Software Update Services (SMSFP), and the Admin Feature Pack for SMS were presented in the afternoon. Nearly ½ of the SMS session was comprised of our group members. For those who did not attend, you missed an excellent series of seminars.
The recent adoption of the SMSFP as a means of actively managing and deploying critical Microsoft patches has generated a very high interest level in this new SMS specific "technology". Consequently, most of the peer discussion portion of this meeting centered on the FP: an overview of "what exactly" it is, basic descriptions of the four core elements, and its day-to-day "production" usage. Nearly ½ of the meeting attendees have not yet adopted the FP, nor had they attended the Microsoft seminar. This discussion then provided a good, basic, tutorial for those administrators. Subsequent to this meeting, several have since already installed the initial components of the FP.
Mike Schultz (www.smsexpert.com) provided an overview of the two latest tools to come out of his lab: Site Sweeper and Config Cleaner, both of which are still in beta testing. Site Sweeper is designed to automate the process of cleaning all database residue of a no-longer-required element, most often resulting from old MIF files or testing MOF extensions. These can add debris into the SMS schema that clutters up query development, often causing duplicated "names" of data constructs, and so on.
Config Cleaner is a tool designed to rapidly and safely delete the often overlooked accumulation of .CFG files that can build up in a site's "inbox". Having a large, and often unnecessary, accumulation of these files can cause an inordinate increase in system processing, elevated CPU utilization, and so on.|
Our Keynote speaker, Dean Leonard, came to our meeting heavily laden with a WIDE assortment of Microsoft hardware, software, and clothing. These included: 2 "TechNet" laptop carrying bags; 2 copies of Office XP; 2 Microsoft logo polo shirts; 1 hooded and lined Microsoft logo jacket; 2 copies each of Microsoft Links 2003, and Links 2003 Additional Courses; and, 1 optical laptop mouse; and for all attendees "Microsoft Management" logo ball caps, and handouts of the "Microsoft Management" strategy and position papers.
Microsoft Redmond also donated copies of the MS Press publication "Introduction to Windows Server 2003", which also included a copy of Release Candidate 2.
Dave Ferraro of GTECH donated a really sharp Laptop carry case from Altiris.
Mike Schultz also provided 6 copies of his new BETA tools Site Sweeper and Config Cleaner.
Dean Leonard presented our keynote presentation on the future of Systems Management.Prior to this meeting, Dean was given a blank slate on his topic. He chose to focus the majority of his time passionately discussing the current state and status of Operations Manager.
As an aside, Dean informed the group that the "Application Center" product is being phased out. Where this product was previously part of the "Big Three" in the management space (along with MOM and SMS), it will now become core functionality within the OS, exposing its functionality to other Microsoft management products and processes.
The following paragraphs summarize the highlights of Dean's discussion. It should also be noted that the opinions and observations stated are Dean's, and should not be construed as representing official Microsoft policy.|
- MOM is now selling at a very fast pace. Many customers are calling Microsoft requesting a pilot implementation. While this is good news from a sales perspective, it is seriously taxing the technical side. Microsoft typically prefers to rely upon their "Solution Providers" as a third party to augment Microsoft resources. Currently there is a serious shortage of skilled MOM Administrators to fulfill this role (i.e. "career opportunity!!").
- This provides significant opportunity for the individual who becomes proficient in MOM specifically, and "management" products in general. This product knowledge however, must be coupled with a broader knowledge of "how" all the myriad tools and products come together. This applies particularly to the integration of multi-vendor tools and management platforms (such as HP OpenView, BNC, NetCool, and others)
- The small- to mid-size businesses in particular are very aggressively pursuing "systems management" initiatives. The focus industry wide is on "Quality of Service" in the IT space. Emphasis is on Trend Analysis, Systems Availability; Service Levels; etc. The underlying thinking is often along the lines of "if we deploy smarter tools, we can cut staffing proportionally". This is clearly flawed logic... by deployment of smarter tools, that then frees up the existing, skilled, staff to perform other important tasks that were unable to be accomplished in a timely fashion - if at all.
- Products and platforms being deployed today are increasingly complex. It is incumbent upon the IT organization to "do it right the first time". The old FRAM commercial comes clearly to mind: "Pay me now, or pay me later!"
- Long term product strategy will see a confluence of SMS and MOM into what is currently called "System Center". This is a "bundling" strategy - not a migration of the two applications into one. The customer may still deploy one without the other. The anticipated implementation for this product migration is coincident with the release of "Longhorn" in the 2004 time-frame.|
- "MOM 2003" is currently in BETA testing. As is the philosophy of all Microsoft Beta programs (and seen today in the SMS 2003 program), enrollment is being carefully managed and monitored. The key emphasis is on quality, and not schedule.
- Input from the Systems Administrator community at large is playing a huge role in the development of the next generation of Microsoft's Systems Management products (SMS 2003, and MOM 2003). The preeminent sources of this feedback is found from Microsoft email aliases ( firstname.lastname@example.org); www.betaplace.com as the centralized "home" for authorized Beta testers; and the Systems management "Communities" represented by the Microsoft newsgroups, and www.myitforum.com. Customer feedback (the "Administrators" of today) is given careful scrutiny and helps provide a significant part of product direction and development.
February 26th, 2003
Keynote Topic: Admin "Show-n-Tell" Night
A number of our members expressed a desire to show the group examples of interesting tools, techniques, and procedures that they use on a daily basis at their respective companies. This meeting will showcase a variety of these tips, tricks, techniques, and other methods that they developed to make their lives easier, their sites more effective, their inventory more detailed, and so on.
If you wish to have a few minutes to tell the group something of interest, or to perhaps show off a tool or process you use, then please make your wishes known to the facilitator for scheduling. This could be some custom Web Reports, a personalized Web Reports Dashboard, an inventory technique or process, and so on.
A few of the items that will be presented are sneak previews of some material that will be presented at the upcoming Microsoft Management Summit (MMS), for example; enhanced inventory using Mike Schultz's Enhanced Software Inventory (ESI) tool; the first public unveiling of the SMS Knowledgebase EdNet 2002; and so on.
This will also be the time for those planning on attending the MMS to prearrange logistics so members will be able to "find" each other at the conference - we don't want anyone to feel left out or "lost" in a sea of SMS Admins!
We will also spend a portion of the meeting in the usual Q&A fashion, sharing problems and possible solutions.
Note that there will be no Hartford meeting this quarter. The future viability of the Hartford venue is in question at this point. The meeting is in need of a facilitator who will help conduct these meetings going forward. Without one, this venue will cease, so if you are in that area and wish to see this continue, please consider volunteering one night every three months to help make it happen
Q&A session: During the Q&A, Ed Aldrich will present the first public preview of his upcoming and long awaited SMS Admin "knowledge-base" "EdNet 2002". This compilation of approximately 1,000 separate tips, tricks, and reference material spans four years of SMS evolvement, along with some AntiVirus, Altiris, WMI, and SMS 2003 information. This product will soon be commercially available on www.netimpress.com |
KeNote: This time will be devoted to providing our members an opportunity to do a brief presentation on various ADMIN Tips, Tricks, "Gotcha's" and so on This will be a great opportunity to learn how some of your peers are managing their world!
Keynote Topics include:|
Mike Schultz: Mike will do an overview of his great new WMI and MOF extension tool ESI, available today at www.netimpress.com
Dave Ferraro (GTECH): Dave will cover a variety of issues discovered related to site installation problems using the command line parameters; Preventing installation on Domain Controllers and a glitch therein; TIps on getting "Sender" addresses working "when all else" fails; and, a very strange cause for client installation failing
Andy Boisvert (CriticalSystems): Andy will give an overview of the unusual level of support Mobile Automation's latest offering provides to support wireless and hand held devices
April Cook (Getronics): April will present a brief overview of her work creating Custom dashboards within the Web Reports application. This is the core of her upcoming presentation at the Las Vegas MMS!
Ed Aldrich (CVS): Ed will also give a brief overview of his upcoming MMS presentation on managing your AntiVirus environment using SMS.
1. Training voucher for SMS training classes at New Horizons
2. Shrink wrapped, full copy of SMS v2.0, including 10 Client Licenses
3. Shrink wrapped, full copy of Windows2000 Advanced Server, with 25 Client licenses
4. Shrink wrapped, full copy of SMS v1.0 (a real Collector's Item!!)
5. Full set of Microsoft Official Curriculum for course 732BC "Supporting SMS V1.2 (Another collector's item!)
6. Enough darned tee shirts to clothe the entire group and their extended family!
Again, remember to send Dave Chapman your RSVP!
We are conducting a Special Meeting on 12/2 at 6:30 pm at the Fidelity facility in Marlboro, MA!! We have the distinct pleasure of hosting this meeting for Karl Bystrom as a keynote speaker! For those of you who do not know Karl, he is the Microsoft Program Manager responsible for SMS 2003 Reporting, among many other things. This meeting will be a working meeting to assist in the development of Microsoft management strategies. Karl will be in our area at this time and has graciously offered to meet our group to gather information on Systems Management as we see it... better yet, let me pass on Karl’s words directly to you:
As for topics...This may sound kinda selfish, but I'm very interested in the overall areas of reporting and asset management (both SW and HW asset mgmt) and would most like to use this meeting as an opportunity to get ramped up on the business issues and process/tool issues that you folks have to deal with. Also, we're starting a research/survey project to get more information about enterprise management and are putting together a questionnaire about management issues, so we might want to do something around that.
I'm less interested in things like nitty-gritty questions about, say, "how do I write a report that shows <foo> data?"--I'd be more interested in why you need <foo>, who uses that information, etc. Also, it wouldn't be productive to use the meeting as a bitch session about SMS--that's what mailing lists and SMSWISH are for :-) But again, if there are business or process reasons why people would request a piece of functionality, I'd be interested in hearing about that.
I know this sounds like I'm really focusing on high-level issues, but at the moment I want to get a broad look at the things you have to deal with--and this will help determine the course of Microsoft management technology over the next few years.
I don’t know about you, but this looks to me like a fantastic opportunity to get involved with senior Microsoft staff on the core issues of Enterprise Management within our areas of responsibilities.... I can tell you from personal experience that Karl is a terrific guy, who is very open and forthright on issues of concern and importance to us all – and he listens!!. This is a terrific opportunity for those of you who believe, like me, that these are important issues... I offer this opportunity up as a challenge to all of you who have voiced concerns or complained in the past about the seeming unwillingness of Microsoft to “hear” your message or concerns as Administrators in the Systems Management space!|
As always, please RSVP to Dave Chapman at Fidelity to assist in planning and security access to the facility.
Sept 19th (Hartford, CT); and
Sept 25th (Marlboro, MA)
Video Replay of Microsoft Management Summit Presentation
GREAT NEWS!! We have obtained copies of the DVD produced by Microsoft after the MMS Conference. This contains all presentations conducted in the Grand Ballroom, complete with video of the presenter along with a synchronized presentation of the PowerPoint slides!
Those who registered on myITForum.com and joined this groups members-only forum participated in a survey to choose which of 10 presentations should be presented to our group. The most popular presentation topic is Topaz Technical Drill-down, by Brady Richardson. This choice, however is certainly subject to the group's desires on meeting night. We have the flexibility to change as desired.
Special Notes! We will distributing a copy of the MMS DVD at both meetings to ALL Attendees! YOU MUST BE PRESENT TO RECIEVE YOUR COPY Microsoft was kind enough to set up a second production run and provided a number of these to our group!
We have copies WindowsXP Professional!
We also have terrific prizes from the New Horizons and Pinnacle Training franchises in Burlington, MA and Hartford, CT worth $2,145.00, redeemable for one week training of your choice at either their Boston, Burlington, Quincy, Westboro or Hartford area facilities.
June 13th (Hartford, CT); and
June 20th (Marlboro, MA)
We had a great turnout at both the Hartford and Marlboro meetings. Bill Carter did a superb job setting up the Hartford meeting - complete with tons of sandwiches, soda, chips, cookies and so on! We had enough to feed an army! Those of us that attended the Hartford meeting also had an added and unexpected bonus - we had a chance to meet Mike Schultz' fiance "Dee" and her lovely daughter Kaitlin (who just graduated from the 1st grade!)
Following is a general summary of the events and discussion at both meetings (many thanks to April Cook for her terrific notes!).
SP4 Upgrade Experiences
Michael Schultz at Pfizer talked about his upgrade to SP4. He found it to be pretty much a basic install: <next>; <next>; <next>; <finish>. No reboot was required. Of his 12,00 total clients, 6500 were upgraded within 24hrs. Two servers yielded a few strange messages in their event logs on a scheduled reboot. One more reboot cleared up all unusual issues in the Event Log. Once upgraded, Mike simply applied his customized SMS_DEF.MOF without stopping any services or taking any other undue precautions. Mike did notice some slow performance periods while upgrading, notably in Offer Manager.
Reiterating the importance and visibility of the SMS Wish List alias [mail]email@example.com[/mail], two items were brought forth:
-New console interface (drag & drop)
-A method for organizing queries and collections (nesting queries)
PLANNING FOR SMS 2003|
Mike Mott's manager at Pfizer/Groton (CT) had a brilliant idea to aid in getting a jump on SMS 2003 testing and implementation! They created an SMS 2003 installation on a server in their production domain, set up as a "Reporting" site server - no boundaries assigned. A one-way address was then created from the existing SMS 2.0 CENTRAL site server after it was assigned to its new parent - the "2003" reporting server. The 2003 system complains about the inability to communicate back down to its new 2.0 child, but they simply ignore the complaints! This has the net effect of replicating all production data to the 2003 system, where they are now able to explore most aspects of the back end components in 2003, and begin to use the significantly improved Web Reporting. Should they eventually decide to commence pilot testing of the Remote Client, it's a simple matter of assigning a single OU or subnet to the 2003 system as a site boundary!
Another thought: Are you enabling the "Message Queing Service" now on your new Win2K deployments? This optional OS component is a requirement for those new Remote Clients! Why not get a head start?!
Group member Andy Boisvert, representing his employer "CriticalSites" http://www.criticalsites.com conducted another of his phenomenal presentations on SMS 2003. His presentation is available at this link:
5983Overview of SMS 2003.zip
This was the group's first public viewing of an actual site, complete with all elements of the 2003 architecture. Andy spent the last several months studying 2003, digging under the hood to see how it "ticks". The result was this excellent PowerPoint "overview" presentation, with special emphasis on the new elements of SMS 2003.|
Questions from SMS 2003 presentation
The following are among the many questions that came during his presentation. Unfortunately we have to conduct additional research to get the answers!
-Do domain security accounts get removed from existing "standard" clients after converting to advanced security mode?
-Does the Remote Client poll the Server Locator Point (SLP) only at logon?
-Are there means to control Software Distribution throttling?
-What exactly is the SMS Agent Host Service?
PREVIOUS MEETING (3/21/02)|
Phil Wilcock of 1E presented an excellent overview of their SMS product add-ons [url]www.1e.com[/url] including SMSWakeup and NightWatchman.
Phil's presentation material may be downloaded here:
DECEMBER '01 MEETING (12/18/01)
The "peer-to-peer" discussion continues as a very popular agenda topic. We once again had to curtail the discussion to maintain the rest of the agenda's schedule.
Andy Boisvert presented an excellent overview of the hot topic "Customizing Inventory via SMS_DEF.MOF Modifications". Andy made extensive use of the excellent reference material submitted by Mike Schultz and several other members of the myITForum.com community.
Andy's presentation consisted of not only a PowerPoint presentation, but also included actual MOF code snippets and live demonstrations of each as they were added in turn to his laptop system's SMS client and related SMS site database. Collectively they presented a simple, clear and concise overview of the entire process from MOF modification and deployment, client inventory, and database extension with collected data.
Andy's presentation materials (slides and individual code snippets) may be found here on myITForum.com at http://www.myITforum.com/inc/groups/NEASMSUG12_01.zip, or in the Group's "Links" section (found off the group Home Page).
Meet our new local Microsoft contact and meeting host Michael Boldezar. Reconnect with Microsoft's Jeff Gilbert, also of myITforum fame, who is now in living here in New England assigned as the Content Publishing Manager (he will bring one of his technical writers as well for Q&A as well). East meets West as well as we present Gene Feriolli, the former PM for Server App-v. And of course, lots of Q&A!|
Speakers and their Content:
Discussion on the clarity around support statements on SCCM and Server App-V
deep demo around how to virtualize server applications via PowerShell
o Deployment management of applications in datacenters is a time consuming and sometimes unreliable process. Server applications packaged with Microsoft Server App-V can be deployed in different methods. Gene will guide you through the different ways to deploy virtual server applications using Server App-V PowerShell cmdlets and as part of a service with SCVMM 2012. You will see these deployment methods in action and how these can help and Organization Lower the costs of IT
Jeff reprises his lab session from MMS - Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6 Service Pack 1 Sequencer Technology
Review the latest updates in the App-V 4.6 SP1 release including: a streamlined sequencing interface, built-in best practices and diagnostics, and App-V Package Accelerators. Jeff will show you how to create a new App-V package, create an App-V Package Accelerator, create a package from an Accelerator and see how the Sequencer's new diagnostics lead to App-V packages that just work
Food/ Drinks provided