It's my first day after vacation, and I am somewhat overwhelmed by the number of new releases relevant to my work, even though, I tried to keep myself updated through my RSS feeds. This post is more or less a to-do-list for me. If you are sys admin in a Windows shop, you're probably in the same situation.

Systems Management Server 2003 SP3
I've been waiting for SMS 2003 SP3 for quite sometime, now. Most important, certainly, is the full Vista support. The limited support SMS 2003 SP2 for Vista was one of the reasons why we postponed Vista deployment. There are also some new features related to asset intelligence. Please, check out the official SMS 2003 SP3 homepage for more information.

Windows Update Services 3.0
WSUS 3.0 has a couple of interesting new features. You can find a complete list at the WSUS team blog. Most important for me is the fact that WSUS finally gets a real user interface, i.e. an MMC-based one. I really don't like these Spartanic and slow Web interfaces. Ah, I guess, I mentioned this many times before. 😉

ISA Server 2004 SP3
If you use Microsoft ISA Server as firewall, then you probably know that ISA Server 2006 has been available for sometime. We use ISA Server 2006 as http proxy and didn't encounter any problems so far. However, we didn't update our ISA Server 2004 firewall since we feared that some of our scripts might not work properly anymore and also because the new features of ISA Server 2006 seemed irrelevant for us. Thus, we'll probably install ISA Server 2004 SP3 mostly for security reasons very soon. New features of ISA Server 2004 SP3 include new troubleshooting tools, improved log viewer functionality, and support for publishing Exchange Server 2007. By the way, an excellent source for information about ISA Server is Tom Shinder's blog. Some guys discussing the SP3 in a blog post there.

Forefront Client Security
So Microsoft finally entered the market for enterprise malware protection. We have been using Sophos Antivirus for a long time now and are not satisfied with it, anymore. With every new release, we encounter new problems. As an educational institution we get Microsoft software for a reasonable price. That's why I am quite interested in Forefront Client Security. However, I reported some time ago that Microsoft can't still compete with major anti-virus software vendors. Anyway, I am curious enough to want to take a look at it soon.

System Center Essentials 2007
System Center Essentials is the light version of Configuration Manager (formerly SMS) and Operations Manager (formerly MOM). This product is targeted for small-to-medium sized networks. We'll probably use the "complete versions" of these products. However, I am curious about the new Configuration Manager.

Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DART)
I just stumbled upon this one in Kurt Shintaku's blog where you can find more information about DART. There are several tools included which could be quite useful for Windows admins.

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Gosh! When will I find the time to check all these new releases? Originally, I planned to check out the Windows Server Longhorn Beta3 after my vacation. But now I don't know where to start…

  1. Chrissy 16 years ago

    Wow, I found every single product summary in here useful. Thank you so much! There’s a ton of stuff I see in SA/MSDN downloads that I’m not familiar with and I wonder what they are; I always say I’ll research them but it can be challenging to read through all of the Marketing Speak on Microsoft’s site.

    Please keep posting more like this if/when you have time.

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