Microsoft's latest management software previews

Microsoft's latest management software previews

Microsoft has released the latest preview versions of two members of its System centre 2007 family of management software.

The first release candidate of System centre Essentials 2007, along with beta two of System centre Configuration Manager 2007, are both available for download.

Aimed at midsized businesses with between 50 and 500 computers, System centre Essentials 2007 is new software that provides IT administrators a single console for managing servers, clients, hardware, software and IT services. Enhancements since the second beta include better network monitoring of SNMP-enabled network devices, 64-bit and Vista support, remote control of managed client and server PCs and integration with SQL Server.

System centre Configuration Manager 2007, the next version of the product formerly known as System Management Server, or SMS, helps Windows-centric businesses automate the setup of new software and the application of updates and patches. This version will offer policy-based software update management built on top of Windows Server Update Services; improvements to its operating system deployment features, including support for Vista; integration with the Windows Application Compatibility tool kit to aid in hardware assessment and ease Vista migration and planning; and increased software and hardware asset management.

Configuration Manager 2007 has a beta available now.

SMS, along with Microsoft Operations Manager, or MOM, are longtime Microsoft management tools that the company said at its Management Summit last year would be renamed and made the flagship products of the new System centre family of management tools.

Microsoft also said it plans to offer by the end of the first quarter new features in SMS 2003 SP3 that allow customers to better plan their Vista migrations through identification of hardware not powerful enough to support Vista or Office 2007; reconcile installed versus paid-up software on their network; and categorise applications to help planning efforts for Vista or Office upgrades.

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