SMS 2003 release delayed

Margie Semilof

Microsoft has decided to push back the delivery date of its desktop management software in order to fix two flaws that have dogged the otherwise well-received trial version.

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    The System Management Server (SMS) 2003 trial will extend through the summer of 2003, and the release will probably be in September, said Bill Anderson, lead product manager for Windows management. Anderson announced the delay during a Microsoft webcast.

    The product had been expected to ship in early summer.

    The company wants to make sure that customer deployment of Advanced Client goes smoothly and that the product is working well with SQL Server. Customers testing the beta version of SMS 2003 have reported trouble with both.

    It's unlikely that IT administrators or consultants will be concerned about the wait, given the history of SMS. The product's earliest versions have had problems, but later versions have shown improvement.

    Customers who use SMS 2.0 have gotten the software to the point where it does a decent job, and although the new features of SMS 2003 are welcome, an extra few months' wait won't make a difference.

    "I'm looking forward to the improvements, but most of all I don't want any instability in the product," said Dana Daugherty, a senior system engineer at PRA International, which is based in McLean, Va. "I would be willing to wait until the next year. I want something solid to come out."

    Kevin Bowlin, a Texas-based independent consultant, agreed that customers should be willing to wait for the release of SMS 2003 and give Microsoft the time it needs to make necessary adjustments. Though Microsoft has had its problems with SMS, the company has always tried to fix them, Bowlin said. "It looks like a good product and it makes adjustments from previous versions," he said.

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