Chapter 1: Introduction to the System Center Suite

Excerpt from Microsoft System Center Enterprise Suite Unleashed

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Enterprises that do proactive planning and modeling can leverage the System Center Capacity Planner tool, and those organizations with mobile devices can inventory, control, provision, and deprovision mobile devices with the System Center Mobile Device Manager product.

Finally, for smaller organizations that want the key capabilities available in the System Center family of products but really only need the most common features used in organizations, they can get the System Center Essentials product. System Center Essentials provides patching, updating, monitoring, alerting, and virtual system management for organizations with fewer than 500 users and fewer than 50 servers.

All of these tools are available to be purchased individually or are bundled in suites and can be purchased together. The focus of this book is to help you, the reader, better understand not only what the products are, but how the products tie together so that you can develop an overall strategy for managing and administering your servers and client systems throughout your enterprise.

Best Practices

The following are best practices from this chapter:

  • Utilize the capabilities built in to System Center Configuration Manager to deploy the base operating system for both servers and client systems in your enterprise.

  • Use templates and standard configurations so that all system images and all applications deployed use the same settings and parameters for organizational consistency.

  • Leverage the System Center Configuration Manager product’s Desired Configuration Management (DCM) if you want to enforce policy-based system standards.

  • Implement the Internet Client in System Center Configuration Manager for remote and mobile systems that need to be managed, but rarely or never VPN or directly connect to the network backbone.

  • Use System Center Operations Manager to proactively monitor systems and alert IT of any pending problems.

  • Utilize the event correlation capabilities of SCOM to more easily isolate system problems and errors to root causes of the problems.

  • Implement the application-monitoring capabilities of SCOM to monitor specific application sessions critical to the safe operations of an application server.

  • Back up servers and applications using System Center Data Protection Manager using incremental timed backups for more flexibility on recovery of information.

  • Choose to back up secondary systems in an environment (such as the second node of a cluster) so as to not impact the performance of the primary server during a backup.

  • Consider pushing DPM backup data to a cloud service provider and eliminate tapes altogether in an enterprise by having short-term backups reside on the DPM server and long-term backups reside in the cloud.

  • Use the System Center Virtual Machine Manager product to manage physical host servers of both Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware host systems for centralized virtual host management.

  • Use the physical-to-virtual (P2V) tool in VMM to convert physical servers into virtual guest sessions.

  • Use the virtual-to-virtual (V2V) tool in VMM to convert virtual guest sessions (either Hyper-V or VMware) into Hyper-V virtual guest sessions.

  • For organizations that delegate administration to multiple levels of administrators, use the administration delegation feature in VMM to distribution rights to multiple administrators.

  • To allocate virtual host resources to users to create guest sessions as they require, use the Self-Service Portal feature in VMM to assign usable templates and configuration options for users.

  • Implement the System Center Service Manager product to centralize incident management in the organization and provide help desk controls for IT personnel throughout the organization.

  • Leverage the change-control capabilities in SCSM to ensure and to enforce the organization’s change-control policies in the enterprise.

  • Provide self-service capabilities to users so they can submit problems and incidents themselves and can check to see if there are known fixes to the problems where they can fix the problem quickly and easily themselves.

  • Use the System Center Capacity Planner tool to model system configurations for file systems, SharePoint, Exchange, and SCOM environments to properly size and scope servers and server roles for these applications.

  • Use the System Center Mobile Device Manager product to more easily manage mobile devices, including provisioning and deprovisioning devices.

  • When a mobile device is lost, use the device wipe capability found in MDM to wipe any and all data on the device and prevent the information from getting in the wrong hands.

  • To provide secure access from mobile devices to the network, use the Mobile VPN capability in MDM to allow a secured and protected connection to the network.

  • For organizations with fewer than 500 users and 50 servers, consider deploying and using System Center Essentials for patching and updating systems, deploying software, monitoring, and managing virtual systems to simplify the installation, administration, and management of systems.

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