SP1 Released for Systems Management Server 2003

Microsoft posted the first service pack for Systems Management Server 2003. While the company characterizes the service pack as a "relatively small update" to SMS 2003, which came out in November, SP1 is important to Microsoft's larger management roadmap.

Systems Management Server is an important part of Microsoft's System Center Suite, which Microsoft plans to deliver in the first half of next year. The suite will include SMS, the recently released Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 and a new product called the System Center Reporting Server.

The version of SMS that will anchor the suite is SMS 2003 with SP1. Microsoft also plans to flesh out the suite with two as-yet-unreleased SMS feature packs -- an operating system deployment pack and a device management feature pack.

Microsoft characterized SP1 as "primarily a rollup of engineering software updates," but a spokesperson pointed out functionality improvements in four areas. SP1 improves SMS 2003's platform coverage with support for Windows XP Service Pack 2; Virtual PC and Virtual Server 2005 both as virtual and discrete entities; machines that aren't joined to the domain; and several 64-bit clients.

SP1 is said to improve the security of using SMS by encrypting inventory data from SMS clients; providing full mutual authentication between SMS clients and the SMS infrastructure; and improving Security Certificate provisioning to make it part of the client installation process.

Other areas of feature improvement include partner extensibility and performance.

SMS 2003 SP1 is available here.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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