SCE – First looks
I installed System Center Essentials beta 2 and the install was fairly simple. The slides I saw from the MMS said it could be done in 10 clicks. Similar claim to MOM 2005 Workgroup and someone told me CRM v3 as well. What is the obsession with installing in 10 clicks or less? If it is 11 clicks does Microsoft think that we won’t install it in case we get RSI? There are a number of prerequisites but they are similar to SCOM 07 and as I had previously installed that on this particular VM I did not have too much more to do. The checker works well and if there is a missing bit it gives you the link to the page. In my case for the .Net 3 bits. Why does it need .Net 2 and 3 though?
The console takes in a version of SCOM that has been tuned for the mid market which Microsoft size at 50 to 500 PCs. It also uses WSUS v3 (in beta separately as well) and it does some simple hardware (about 30 attributes) and software asset (from add/remove programs) collecting and reporting. The surprise for me was the software distribution module which can distribute exe’s and well as MSI files and is very simple to use and it keeps track of and reports on deployments. There are some bugs (well it is beta). All the groups I created were given long names that were nothing like my names which I never saw again. Some of the reports are not in this version yet. I set of a couple of tasks and the dates were shown as 01/01/0001 but all other dates showed correctly. I tried to set up an MSI for distribution and it errored whereas the exe was fine.
I could still do clever things like use one of the monitoring template to monitor a web site (very much like the Web Sites and Services MP for MOM 2005 but simpler). The great thing is that this is designed to integrate with SCOM 2007 for service providers that look after multiple customers unlike Workgroup which was not allowed to link into MOM Enterprise. Well worth reading the white paper on this is you are a service provider. It is great to get a breakdown of issues by customer. For companies that need monitoring, patch management, software distribution and some basic asset management it looks like a winning package depending on how the price it, licence it and what its limits are for server and client numbers. My only beef is that I find the monitoring part (which comes from SCOM 07) too complex. I do like in the in place taks though. They are great. I think the interface is confusing in SCOM as well but that may just be my familiarity with MOM 2005. Still if it could simply the interface to monitoring in SCE then it would be really great. SCE Overview http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/sce/sce_overview.mspx
Good white paper – http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/sce/demo/index.html