A major challenge for IT administrators faced with managing their technology infrastructure is figuring out which tool is best for which job. With MOM, SMS, and WSUS and Microsoft Update, it is important for the administrator to understand the features of each tool and to understand how the tools work together. In addition, where there is some overlap in functionality between the tools the administrator needs to understand the benefits of using one tool over another. In this chapter, we cover the following:
MOM: A solution for operations management
SMS: A software deployment and management solution
WSUS: Update services for decentralized environments
MOM, SMS, and WSUS
You get a functional overview of MOM, SMS, and WSUS and the Microsoft Update components. You compare the products, understand how they fit together, and review criteria to help you decide when to use which of the products.
To get started, let's describe what each product is designed to do. MOM 2005 is a solution to enable operations management that provides event and performance management, proactive monitoring and alerting, reporting and trend analysis, and system-specific knowledge and tasks to improve the manageability of your servers and applications. While MOM 2005 is primarily focused on managing Windows-based servers, there are third-party solutions that enable you to manage server applications and services running on other platforms as well. SMS 2003 enables you to manage client computers and servers within your organization, including tasks such as troubleshooting, software asset management, software distribution, software updates, reporting, and many others. WSUS enables IT administrators to deploy the latest product updates to Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP operating systems. By using WSUS, administrators can fully manage the distribution of updates that are released through Microsoft Update to computers in their network. When you look at the descriptions for each product, there is some overlap conceptually. As we drill into the details, the distinction will be much more clear. We'll start with MOM 2005 and how it supports operations management functions.