By Josh Applebaum

Getting The Most Out Of System Center?

Ziften participated in Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2 weeks ago, and I had the pleasure of manning our booth.  It was a great event for us, and I got the chance to speak with a large number of IT practitioners.  A common theme I heard from them was frustration with getting client information correct in System Center, Microsoft’s answer to system management.

While System Center’s functionality is extremely valuable, there’s a problem with attaining accurate situational awareness on endpoints, causing compliance problems.  For example, company policy might state that IE6 is unacceptable, due to numerous security concerns, but the reality is that IE6 is actually on workstations.  System Center might be pushing upgrade packages, but these can fail.  Then System Center “thinks” the upgrade has occurred when it has not, creating a dangerous situation.

System Center relies on Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), which is a set of specifications to allow management information to be shared – a great concept, allowing for a protected and efficient OS interface.  However, it was designed for gathering information on static things like hardware.  The absolute last thing endpoints are is static.  In addition, WMI can simply fail.  I’ve heard estimates that WMI is down on 20-25% of all systems.

So I was able to speak about the Ziften solution with MMS attendees.  The cool thing about Ziften is it can achieve true situational awareness on endpoints – not what management “thinks”, but what is really there.  With an agent on the endpoint, Ziften is able to examine what is really installed, find multiple versions of the same software, find out-of-compliance processes and apps, root out inconsistencies and even remediate the situation.  With the Ziften agent on endpoints, System Center can do its job and end the frustration!


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