All this training kit leaves out is the live instructor.
- By Stan Spotts
- May 01, 2000
Microsoft Press has attempted to take the contents
of the official classroom curriculum for Systems Management Server
(SMS) 2.0 administration and convert it to a self-study book and
support CD. The group that developed the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0 Training Kit was made up of the
very people who developed the Microsoft Official Curriculum, so
it wasn’t by chance that they met this challenge.
You open the box to find a book of over 750
pages and two CDs. One of the CDs is a 120-day evaluation copy of
SMS 2.0. The other contains practice files, examples, and movies
explaining key concepts. The book is an excellent guide and makes
a handy reference even after you’ve completed your training.
This course supposes that you possess the working
knowledge of a Windows NT 4.0 MCSE. This isn’t an extraordinary
assumption; SMS is a product that requires its administrators to
understand Windows NT networking thoroughly. If you don’t already
know how to work with matters like user accounts and group maintenance,
domains and subnets, or even file and share permissions, you’ll
have a difficult time understanding the material.
The order in which the material is presented
is mostly well thought out and sensible. In line with the classroom
curriculum, each chapter ends with a quiz about the key issues explained;
answers are in Appendix A. Additional questions are scattered through
the text, just to keep you alert. Labs, which surface in most chapters,
give you a practical taste of what you’re learning; to perform
them you’ll need two computers capable of running as NT servers
in a network.
You start with the requisite introduction to
SMS chapter and move on to site installation. After your site is
set up, you collect inventory. Once workstation data is in inventory,
you can distribute software. If you have software, you may require
metering to make sure you stay within your license agreements. Once
you have users on workstations running applications, you’ll
want your help desk staff to support them using remote tools.
Network monitoring, site configuration, security,
inter-site communications, reporting, monitoring and troubleshooting,
and other details come after these basics. There’s even a section
explaining the use of the SMS Installer. Oddly, and this is the
one instance where the information is out of order, planning is
in Chapter 9. Planning is such a primary concern, it should have
been introduced before any installation information.
It would have been nice to see a section dedicated
to scripted installation since the available documentation from
Microsoft, even in the BackOffice Resource Kit, is insufficient.
Scripting is useful for multiple site installations, and there are
some situations where you may have no choice but to run an automated,
This is one of the best self-study training
kits available from Microsoft. It thoroughly covers every aspect
of the product. If you’re thinking about using this as your
primary means of study in order to prepare for exam 70-086, Implementing
and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server, this kit will
give you a great start. You’ll still need to install and work
with the product if you expect to pass, but no more so than if you
attended the class. Also, seriously consider reading the SMS 2.0
information in the BackOffice Resource Kit.
Stan Spotts, MCSE+Internet, MCSD, MCDBA, MCT, MCP+Site Building, MSS, CCA,
A+, is a managing consultant at a leading international full service provider for