Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr), version 2007 is Microsoft’s latest Change and Configuration Management (CCM), tool. At a very high level ConfigMgr provides the following basic functions:
- Desired Configuration Management (DCM) - A target baseline of what machines should be running as their baseline can be created. This can then be deployed via ConfigMgr and any deviations reported on and actioned accordingly.
- Hardware and Software Inventory - Information relating to the hardware and software configuration of a machine can be retrieved from a machine and stored in the ConfigMgr database where it can be utilised for various functions.
- Network Access Protection (NAP) - A baseline such as OS, Service Pack (SP) level, and applicable hotfixes can be determined. Any machines connecting to the network that do not meet this baseline can be denied access until the baseline is met either through the use of ConfigMgr automatically bringing the machine up to the baseline or by the user (for example in the case of a visitor from an external company), ensuring their machine meets the baseline.
- Operating System Deployment (OSD) - Images can be created and deployed via ConfigMgr to upgrade/ install the Operating System (OS), on the targeted machines.
- Remote Control - The ConfigMgr administrator (or users granted sufficient rights), have the ability to remotely access and control a machine as though they were physically sat in front of it.
- Reporting - ConfigMgr provides a wealth of extensible Reports that allow the information contained in the Site Database to be viewed and analysed.
- Software Distribution - Software can be packaged up and deployed via ConfigMgr to targets resources such as machines, users and groups.
- Software Metering - The usage of specific software can be monitored and reported on to ensure that software is only being run where it should be and that a company has bought sufficient licenses for the software it is using.
- Software Updates Distribution - Updates to software such as patches and hotfixes can be deployed to those machines identified as requiring them.
Of course in order to be managed by ConfigMgr target machines need to have the ConfigMgr Client installed on them.