System Center Essentials Highlights
I finally took the time to set down and look over the new System Center Essentials - Overview page that Microsoft has up. I'm sure that some of the other hosted solutions have this down but SCE looks like a solid product and I'll definitely give it a try when it comes out. I've signed up for the beta and hope to get signed up for it, especially with an interest on how it runs on SBS 2003 R2.
Some things I noticed:
A lot of the information is centered around WSUS or at least is seems that way. I hope that SCE is more than just a glorified WSUS. SCE will have a direct upgrade path from WSUS. WSUS has grown up and is pretty mature and now included in SBS R2 by default. This seems to be the next logical step. However will the extras that are wrapped around WSUS be worth the cost of upgrading? Time will tell.
Agent installation. It's good to see that apparently the installation of agents are tied to the Active Directory (no doubt through Group Policy as stated on the web). We previously tried Level Platforms and when they had the lowest price it was a great fit for a Managed Services provider but times are a changing. Microsoft is in the house. They won't necessarily perhaps have the best product but as with SBS I always usually say they have the best integration. This has been a stumbling block in the past especially when we had Level Platforms. Trying to get it to notice all computers was not an easy feat at times. Even tech support (and this was a while back, granted) had problems helping out on SBS at times. I think the agent installation is a smoother and overall better way to handle managed service applications. Others seem to do this very effectively and SCE has that. I just feel more comfortable knowing that something is actually running on a machine trying to contact the server rather than the server going out and seeing if anything is out there. Seems a little backward to me. Let's hope SCE gets this right as if this doesn't work the whole thing can be thrown out the window in my opinion.
Will SCE be the cat's meow? Time will tell.