MAP Toolkit 6.5 Beta and SCM 2.0 Released
Microsoft released two Solution Accelerator tools for IT pros late last month.
One of the tools is a new beta test version of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 6.5. The other is version 2 of the Microsoft Security Compliance Manager (SCM). Both are part of a no-cost family of Solution Accelerator tools that address Windows desktop and server functions, security and compliance, as well as virtualization functions. Although they are no-cost tools, they typically work as adjuncts to Windows environments or may require the use of other Microsoft technologies.
MAP Toolkit 6.5 Beta
The MAP Toolkit 6.5 beta is an agentless tool that can be used to draw up information from a computing environment to assess migration readiness, mostly to various Microsoft server technologies. Microsoft calls it a "multi-product" tool, and it can be used to check the readiness to move from other vendors' software products, such as moving from Oracle solutions to Microsoft SQL Server.
One of the new features in MAP Toolkit 6.5 is the ability to discover "Oracle instances on Itanium-based servers with HP-UX" with the idea of determining requirements for a move to SQL Server, according to a Microsoft blog. The info can also be used to calculate possible return-on-investment savings from such a switch, Microsoft claims.
MAP Toolkit 6.5 beta also has greater consolidation with Microsoft's Hyper-V Fast Track Onboarding program. The program provides architectural baseline guidance centered on Microsoft's software, as well as partner hardware integration recommendations, for physical-to-virtual migrations.
Software usage tracking has been improved in the MAP Toolkit 6.5 beta. An "active devices" feature can track software used on devices, which may be useful in monitoring Microsoft Enterprise Agreements. Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection security protection can now be tracked using the beta.
The MAP Toolkit 6.5 beta can be downloaded after joining Microsoft's beta program, which is accessible via this Microsoft Connect page.
Microsoft Security Compliance Manager 2.0
Microsoft SCM version 2 provides baselines and best practices for a computing environment, both at the client and server operating system levels. It can be used as a tool to assess security compliance and help reduce vulnerabilities. The tool supports desktops, private clouds and datacenter environments and works with Microsoft Group Policy and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, according to a Microsoft wiki overview page.
"SCM is intended to work with System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and the desired configuration management (DCM) feature of that product," the wiki explains.
One of the new features added to SCM version 2 is gold master support. IT pros can start a project via Group Policy or by taking a reference machine snapshot, according to a Microsoft blog. A second new feature is the ability to configure standalone machines via a new Group Policy Objects Pack feature, which lets IT pros "deploy your configurations to non-domain joined computers."
SCM 2.0 can be downloaded here.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.