MMS 2012:Desktop Management with System Center 2012

Posted On 2012-04-19 by dwirch
Keywords: MMS Microsoft Management Summit System Center Operations Manager Configuration Opalis 2012 desktop
Tags: MMS 2012 Blog General 
Views: 1087

Supporting desktops in large organizations has become increasingly complex. Support teams that are looking to streamline support through improved, remote troubleshooting while working in the security constraints of 'least privilege' access need to look at how Microsoft System Center Operations Manger, Opalis and System Center Configuration Manager can be configured to work together to provide a single, easy-to-use and relevant solution.

I really enjoyed this presentation by Rory McCaw. Utilizing System Center 2012, he was able to show us the path to enlightenment, where managing desktops is push-button easy.

Task Featurette

There are a few highlight features I'd like to point out, which are sure to be of interest to any System Center enabled system administrator:
  • Monitor desktop and application health
  • Associate a desktop (or other asset) with a specific user
  • Identify systems currently pending reboot, ie: in the case of a patch application
  • Remediation tasks:
    • reboot workstation
    • enable remote desktop
    • set currently logged on user as registered owner
    • explore system drive (C:\) of workstation

These might seem like some trivial feaures. However, think about how you would normally perform these actions.

For example, if you would like to see who is in the local administrators group of a particular workstation, you'd fire up ADUC, find the machine, connect to computer management of the target, and view the local admins group on the box.

Not anymore. All these tasks described above, plus more than few others, are now exposed in the Operations Manager 2012 tasks pane, when you are focused on a particular machine. You can even reach in and kill processes on remote machines, which would be very handy during software deployments.

A Great View

Custom views are a key component of filtering the vast quantity of data that is available in the average Ops Manager environment, and with 2012 this is no different.

Configuration Drift

Configuration drift has been a major pain for administrators for a long, long time.

You have this beautiful, golden image that took a year to perfect, and every workstation or server that goes out the door is built with it. However, over time settings get changed, apps get installed, and basically the system is now no longer within the boundaries of your image.

Reporting in System Center will let monitor for this configuration drift. It will let you know which machines are still compliant, and which ones aren't. And, unlike you significant other, it will let you know what is wrong, and even has the ability to fix the non-compliant systems for you. This can help greatly if there are manual system deployments going on.

In Summation ...

Overall, the individual pieces of the System Center suite are become more tightly integrated with each other. I wouldn't be surprised if in the future the pieces of the suite weren't mashed together into a single product. The lines are already blurred, and I think it would be the logical next step for this great package of management tools.

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