Saturday, January 13, 2007

Day Two: The SMS saga continues

It's my day off, but I want to go over some of the things that happened yesterday.

I confess. I do have some rudimentary understanding of how SMS works. Before the old Admin left I had worked with him on creating a package for deploying Microsoft Project 2003. Also, as I’ve said before, I did most of the implementation of the OSD Feature Pack. Just to give you an idea of where I’m coming from, since we currently do our deployments using the OSD deployment CD, there are no collections or advertisements involved. Also, Image packages are slightly different than regular packages. Not much, but enough so that Microsoft has made it a different object within SMS.

I also did find some of the documentation left behind by the old admin. As I alluded to in my first post, this documentation was buried in a sea of files that dated back to 2003. Many of the processes and procedures that were documented were no longer relevant. However, being the clever SMS admin that I now am, I sorted the documents by date and started working my way backwards from newest to oldest. After 4 hours I had accomplished the task of putting a copy of the current and relevant documents in another network share, which I shared with newly minted SMS admin 2 and 3.

What little jewels did I receive for my hard work? Well besides a pat on the back there was an up-to-date copy of the current SMS Hierarchy. Our site has close to 20 SMS servers! Most are actual site servers with several primary and a couple of child sites. Some are simply distribution points. Is this the best setup? Only time will tell.

In addition to the SMS Hierarchy, I managed to salvage a copy of our implementation of the Microsoft Patching procedure. It had screen shots and detailed step-by-step instructions! Everything you would need to administer Microsoft Patches via SMS. The old admin has actually installed ITMU (Inventory Tool for Microsoft Updates). After a little reading up on ITMU, this little gem was going to be the answer to all our prayers. ITMU will sync all the patches available on Microsoft update with the SMS server using a designated Syncing machine. Then it updates the existing Microsoft Updates Tool package with the new patches. After that it will allow you to test the patches on a pre-production environment. Finally, it will allows you to deploy the updates to the rest of your machines. Life was looking pretty sweet. SMS isn’t really a full time job is it?

Next time: Microsoft best practices and reality clash.

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