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Microsoft's SMS admin gets a Valentine's Day update

What better way to give SMS administrators some lovin' than to give them a service pack update and some new tools on Valentine's Day?

Microsoft delivered the latest service updates to its Systems Management Server 2003 this week, adding fixes and improvements to the desktop management software that should kick up system performance a notch.

The company also sweetened its release by including two tools that could make administrators' lives easier. The first is the SMS 2003 Inventory Tool for Microsoft Updates, which one analyst called the most significant and value-added capability in the release.

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"This addresses some of the concerns system admins have with getting their hands around the different updates they have to apply," said Neil Macehiter, a principal analyst at Macehiter Ward-Dutton, a Cambridge, U.K., consulting firm.

The inventory tool provides security updates, an updated rollup and a service pack management system built on Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) technology. Macehiter said administrators running SMS 2003 SP1 will need to pre-install several upgrades before they can use the inventory tool.

The SMS Account Review Tool, which keeps track of account usage, is also included. This software gives managers a look at which accounts are most heavily and least used, Macehiter said.

The next version of SMS - SMS 4.0 - is expected to be released to manufacturing in the first half of 2007.

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