I really wanted to sub-title this entry as: “Microsoft wants me to run how many System Center servers?!?!?” so I will.
I have been working with System Center Service Manager (Microsoft’s foray into the service desk arena), in some form or another, since it’s original announcement and beta release going on 2 years ago. Therefore, I am very excited that Service Manager is looking like it should see a release sometime in 2009 or 2010. And while I have found the latest iteration of Service Manager to be an excellent product (you can get info about downloading the latest beta of SM here: http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/service-manager.aspx), what I really want to get into today is not SM’s capabilities (these may change over the next 12 or so months at least a little, plus most of it is still under NDA anyway) but the basic underlying architecture that Microsoft has chosen. Service Manager is built using the System Center Configuration Manager database. At first glance this may seem to be a good thing, Microsoft has found a way to consolidate databases making it possible to run 2 products SCSM and SCCM using only 1 database. But…The old (and new) version of Forefront, Microsoft’s anti-malware product, is built on the Operations Manager database. And again I hear you say “Great! Now I can run 4 products with only 2 databases.” And once I again I say, “But wait there’s more.” We still need WSUS to complete the management puzzle. So now we can manage our entire network using Microsoft’s System Center suite of products using (by my count) 5 products and a bare minimum of 6 servers, some of which may be virtualized against Microsoft’s recommendations. Awesome! Except I’m a mid-sized business so use Systems Center Essentials…
So what are we Mid-Biz’s to do? As of right now I am sorry to say that I cannot find a way to put all the pieces together so that they fit. Obviously, for a mid-biz 6 servers just for management is not a realistic solution and that’s not even mentioning the overkill that SCCM and SCOM would be for someone with under 500 clients on their network. As I covered back in September, making SCE and Forefront work together is very possible, but trying to add Service Manager to the mix just does not work well right now.