Pros: Small, concise, comprehensive, well written, timely
The Bottom Line: If you need a backpack friendly reference guide to (almost) everything SMS 2003, you can go wrong with the Microsoft System Management Server 2003 Administrator's Companion.
Book Type: Soft-cover; 825 pages Publisher: Microsoft Press; Bk&CD-Rom edition Publishing Date: February 2004 Language: English ISBN: 0735618887
Part of my job as a Senior Systems Engineer for a mid-sized Mid-West financial company entails using and administering our Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003(SMS) installation. Although I have installed, configured and administered SMS 2000 installations, I am new to the SMS 2003 environment. Not that there are many major differences between SMS 2000 and SMS 2003, but there are enough under-the-hood tweaks to the software management program that I felt a little help in the form of the Microsoft System Management Server 2003 Administrator's Companion, was in order.
Microsoft System Management Server 2003 Administrator's Companion is divided into the following five parts:
Part I Installation, Planning, and Management Part II Resource Discovery, Client Installation, and Remote Control Part III Software and Package Management Part IV Site Database Maintenance, Recovery, and Upgrade Part V Appendixes
The 825 page SMS 2003 Administrator's Companionpublished by coincidentally by Microsoft Pressis a small blue paperback guide that provides step-by-step instructions for managing day-to-day operations of SMS 2003. These instructions include application installation, Patch Management, Package Distribution and Management, Remote Control of Client Systems, Disaster Recovery, Site Administration and other issues.
While the guide does touch on SMS 2003 installation, planning, and configuration, this is a necessary part of the proper management of the application. Daily System Management Server 2003 administration procedures and frequently used tasks are also covered in-depth. The book is replete with documented procedural examples that cover administration fundamentals (site administration as well as software and package administration), active directory services, SQL database administration, as well as Site database maintenance, query creation and reports. The book is specifically designed for current SMS 2003 administrators and those who have more than a passing familiarity with Windows Server 2003, SQL Server, and Active Directory (AD).
From the Publisher: Streamlineand centralizethe management of your Microsoft Windows-based desktops with the essential guide to planning, deploying, and supporting Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003. This in-depth administrators reference drills into SMS features and components and provides easy-to-follow procedures, practical workarounds, and key troubleshooting tactics for everyday, on-the-job results. From remotely installing, managing, and troubleshooting applications to deploying patches, monitoring system usage, and tracking assetsyou get must-know details for protecting and optimizing your technology investment.
The Microsoft System Management Server 2003 Administrator's Companion allows you to:
o Plan, install, and configure your SMS site and site systems. o Prepare existing SMS 2.0 sites for migration. o Construct a management hierarchy, including creating secondary sites. o Understand patch management and how to integrate SMS 2003 into the process. o Walk through resource discovery and client installation methods. o Create and distribute software packages and critical updates through the management. console and through scripts. o Implement and administer standard or advanced security modes. o Monitor site activity, track information flow, and analyze network and server performance remotely. o Plan your disaster recovery strategy, including maintenance and backups.
Since assuming my new duties I have found the SMS 2003 Administrator's Companion invaluable ally in the almost daily barrage of administrative chores associated with even a mid-sized SMS 2003 installation. Granted, a large portion of my administrative functions associated with SMS consists of remote management of desktops and creating, or editing, software packages, and or deploying .MSI or other software packages, but there is fair amount of behind-the-scenes work that needs to be accomplished. From monitoring and managing the SQL database, to tracking processor, disk, and memory usage, to creating and managing queries and reports, the functionality built into SMS can be overwhelming.
This is where the SMS 2003 Administrator's Companion really makes a difference in the amount of time I can spend looking for answers. For instance Part II (Resource Discovery, Client Installation, and Remote Control) covers everything from Resource Discovery Methods, to Inventory Collection, to Remote Control of Client Systems. Most of the answers I have sought have been within the pages of this very concise and mostly complete book.
That is not to say that the SMS 2003 Administrator's Companion has all of the answers; it doesnt, nor would I expect it to, but it does contain the most common administrative tasks one might encounter.
SMS 2003 Administrator's Companion is well laid out, and I believe written in an easy to follow, logically laid out format that make finding the answer easy. Is it the only book or reference material you should have at your disposal? Of course not, but it can certainly enhance your Microsoft SMS 2003 reference arsenal, and give you a quick a compact guide to look for answers.
Could I be a successful SMS Administrator and user without the SMS 2003 Administrator's Companion? Sure, but it would be a lot harder and a lot more time-consuming; and time is not something I have a lot of. If you need a backpack friendly reference guide to (almost) everything SMS 2003, you can go wrong with the Microsoft System Management Server 2003 Administrator's Companion, from Microsoft Press.
About the Author: Steven D. Kaczmarek, MCP, MCT, MCSE, is a professional trainer, writer, and consultant specializing in Systems Management Server and enterprise network management. He is the author of Microsoft Systems Management Server 2000 Administrators Companion and Mike Meyers MCSE Windows 2000 Directory Services Administration Certification Passport.
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