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System Center Essentials Release Candidate Ships

Microsoft announced Thursday it is shipping the release candidate, or RC, of a new systems management tool aimed at the mid-market.

System Center Essentials 2007 is the latest offering in Redmond's recently rebranded System Center management suite. The package aims to provide a single IT solution with a single management console for managing servers, clients, hardware, software and IT services, according to company statements.

The overall idea is to provide a unified management perspective, enabling IT customers to proactively manage their environments. System Center Essentials entered Beta 2 in mid-September.

Ordinarily, new features are not added at the end of the beta test cycle. But in this case, several additions have been made, a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail. Among them are enhanced network monitoring of SNMP-enabled network devices, Remote Control of managed client and server computers, and 64-bit and Microsoft Vista support.

Also added are automatic scheduled discovery of computers via Active Directory, the ability to import update catalogs from third-party software publishers, support for managing systems in multiple domains in a single Active Directory forest, and integration with SQL Server including reporting, monitoring, hardware and software inventorying.

In addition, Microsoft has also released Beta 2 of System Center Configuration Manager 2007. Among new features added are policy based software update management built on top of Windows Server Update Services, which provides efficient targeting and deployment of approved updates with support for Wake on LAN to increase overall update coverage, according to the company.

System Center Essentials 2007 RC1 is available here.

System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Beta 2 is available 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.

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