SMS Service Pack 3 will add asset tracking

Microsoft has a new service pack coming in 2007 that uses technology from AssetMatrix as part of its desktop management software SMS 2003.

The asset tracking technology that Microsoft acquired from AssetMatrix in April will make its appearance in Systems Management Server Service Pack 3, slated for early 2007.

AssetMatrix will add the ability to create an inventory of more than 300,000 applications that can be recognized down to the patch level, according to Microsoft.

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Although SMS 2003 does have the ability to locate Microsoft software and some non-Microsoft assets, the newly added AssetMatrix technology will help IT administrators track non-Microsoft applications on PCs.

SP3 will also let IT administrators deploy Windows Vista using SMS 2003. For this reason, John Juris, a partner with SMS Expert, a Chicago-based consulting firm that specializes in SMS, said he believes that many shops will put off adopting the next version of SMS – called System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) – until 2008. SCCM is due out in 2007.

The service pack won't be for every manager. Josh MacNeil, assistant director of technology services and network operations at Whitman-Hanson Regional School District in Whitman, Mass., said his team will most likely bypass SP3.

"We deployed SP2 six to eight weeks after it was released, and everything's working smooth right now," he said. "So unless there are major changes in SP3, we'll hold off and just upgrade to SCCM."

MacNeil said his IT team does not need the software-tracking capabilities offered by AssetMatrix. "We're using SMS for remote management," MacNeil said. "We know what's on our machines, so we have everything we need right now."

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