Dr. Evil Asks: SMS=Sado-Masochistic Server?

— 12:53 PM on October 3, 2001

If you're not a network admin, this will likely bore you to tears, so feel free to move on to the next post. I've been tasked with evaluating Systems Management Server 2.0, and to that end I've been reading that product's Administrator's Companion. I've been fairly pleased with the book itself, but 100 pages in, I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to deploy this product. It seems to have a large number of ridiculous limitations, not the least of which is the apparent need to re-subnet your LAN on its terms to take advantage of many of its capabilities, which is just silly.

Setting all that aside, what I was really hoping for was a product that was built around Active Directory, but with better client support than the standard Windows 2000 tools, i.e. support for 9x clients and remote control. Being ignorant in the ways of SMS, I was hoping it was the answer, seeing as it's an MS product and all. But SMS seems to barely tolerate Win2K and AD, let alone support it. Active Directory integration is promised in a "future release of SMS" but I'm not in a position to wait for that. And implementing a second, separate management system on top of AD makes little sense, especially when that second system is as bassackward as SMS seems to be.

So here's my question: Is there a management product out there that supports 9x desktops and uses Active Directory as its base? Alternately, is there a product out there that's so #@$! good that it should make me want to point at AD and laugh?

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