SP3 Beta Bows for Systems Management Server 2003

Microsoft has begun the open beta of Service Pack 3 for its aging Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003.

Besides bug fixes, SP3 provides some new capabilities, not least of which is support for Windows Vista.

Administrators can deploy Vista using the SMS 2003 Operating System Deployment Feature Pack update and manage Vista clients with SMS 2003 SP3, according to Microsoft statements.

The service pack also enables IT staffers to deploy applications to Vista client computers. Additionally, software and hardware inventories can be performed on those PCs using a new library of more than 400,000 software titles.

Among other new features, new license reports enable administrators to compare the Microsoft applications installed with licenses purchased as well as view how those titles were obtained -- for instance, through volume licensing, retail or OEM.

Other report features let managers view applications by category to see how many different applications with similar functions and versions are deployed in an organization - which can be useful for auditing, for upgrade planning and for performing software consolidation evaluations.

The beta of SMS 2003 SP3 can be downloaded here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.