Systems and operations management can be complex and expensive. A comprehensive approach to this problem requires the use of operations management tools, software deployment tools, configuration management, and other release management tools and techniques. The knowledge of the organization is critical in helping to make sure that everything works well. In addition, doing the job right involves custom rules or scripts and reports to help ensure that everything is running as expected. For many IT professionals, this kind of operations management is a mix of a number of different tools along with custom scripting and manual effort to monitor logs and other reports. While this approach will get the job done, it can often be more expensive and time consuming for administrators. In addition, the use of too many special-purpose monitoring and management tools in the environment, along with custom scripts and reports, introduces more opportunities for mistakes and can lead to unsatisfied users or customers.
Microsoft is taking a comprehensive approach to systems and operations management and is building tools targeted at the small business all the way up to the largest enterprises. While there is more work to do in improving these products, Microsoft's focus to build a well-integrated set of monitoring and systems management solutions is significant and should be a point of consideration for any IT administrator who is evaluating or implementing these tools in their environment. This book was written to show how the current Microsoft tools for systems and operations management can work together to provide a comprehensive approach to automating IT operations. In addition, this book takes a look at where these tools are going and what IT administrators can expect from Microsoft in the future to help make operations and systems management tasks easier. It is important for IT administrators to consider not only the present operational and systems management requirements but their future needs as well when evaluating and implementing the technologies, and this book attempts to address both of these areas.
When the idea for Professional MOM 2005, SMS 2003, and WSUS was first discussed, the goal was to provide a single source for IT administrators to understand how these systems and operations management technology can be used in their environments. Since that time, the book has also evolved into a comparative tool that can help a reader to understand which tool is right for which job. The audience for this book includes anyone who is involved with implementing, supporting, or managing a set of tools for systems and operations management, including IT operators, IT administrators, IT infrastructure managers, and system architects.
Readers with some background in systems and operations management will probably get the most out of this book; however, no specific level of skill or knowledge is assumed. The writing is aimed at readers who have a basic understanding of IT infrastructure on the Windows platform and have familiarity with Windows XP (and earlier) client deployments and Windows Server technologies.
For readers who understand the principles behind systems and operations management and who are interested in the installation procedures and configuration for MOM 2005, SMS 2003, or the Microsoft Update (MU) and Windows Server Update Services tools (WSUS), you may want to jump right into Chapters 3, 4, and 5. For those that are interested in evaluating these tools and using this book as an aid, start with Chapter 2, which covers the basics of how these products work and how they can be used together. Chapter 16 looks beyond the core products that we've discussed throughout the book and incorporates other systems management products from Microsoft. This is a good chapter for those interested in the product roadmap beyond MOM 2005 and SMS 2003.