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SCE 2010 Resource Kit

1:21 pm in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

Last week the System Center Essentials 2010 Resource Kit has been published for download.  You can find it here:

So I downloaded the x64 edition and installed it on my management server.

The installation is pretty straightforward:





After the installation, a new item is created in the start menu called system center essentials 2010 resource kit readme.

So here is what you can expect from the resource kit:

Computer Group Repair Tool

This tool will identify and repair broken relationships between SCE computer groups and WSUS computer groups.

The executable to run is LinkDG.exe and can be found under %programfiles%\System Center Essentials (note: CMD run as administrator!)


Essentials Server Cleanup Tool

When you need to cleanup an old installation after a failure or whatever the reason would be, it used to be pretty annoying to clean-up all ‘leftovers’ of SCE.  With this tool, all leftovers will be removed automatically.

%programfiles%\System Center Essentials Resource Kit and SCECleanUp.exe is the tool you can use

Essentials Server Migration Advisor

This tool will help you in migration your essentials install to another server or recover an essentials server from a backup.  Note that the location of the tool is not in the readme file (forgotten?) but you can find it under the %programfiles%\System Center Essentials directory and it is called MigrationAdvisor.exe



Maintenance Mode Management Pack

This tool will make it easy for you to create maintenance mode schedules.  This can be extremely handy when you restart servers during the weekend or nights for whatever reason.

The name is ScheduleMaintenanceMode.exe and can be found under the %programfiles%\System Center Essentials location.



Published Software Certificate Update Tool

This is a nice one.  This tool will remove the existing publishing certificate and recreate the rules for all managed computers.  It will also resign all locally published content with this new certificate. 

Since I upgraded from SCE 2007 to SCE 2010, and I needed to recreate all my packages that were build in SCE 2007 because they were signed with the old certificate, from before the upgrade, this is the tool I could use immediately.

Find it under %programfiles%\System Center Essentials and UpdatePublisherCert.exe


The first time I had an error


The error stated 2147942403 which I had no idea what it could mean.  After some research I found out that in the Essentials console I still had a reference to a package that was already deleted from disk.  After removing that one, I succeeded in the job


Setup Log Parser

this tool will provide you with an easier to read format for the installation log files of SCE.


You can find it under %programfiles%\System Center Essentials and SetupLogParser.exe




Upgrading SCE 2007 to SCE 2010 … the long story part 4

6:13 pm in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

After a rather long upgrade, a disaster OS upgrade, an easy prerequisites flow and an almost flawless SCE upgrade in the end, I’m happy to say that everything is running again.  Next stop will be the upgrade of all the agents, but if I have issues there, I will post them separately.

Before I end this post series, I would like to give my conclusion:

1. Make sure you are prepared.  Upgrading an Windows Server 2003 R2 64-bit physical server to Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit wasn’t that easy after all.  Even taking everything in consideration, doing the assessments etc… seemed not to reveal possible issues.  So be aware and make sure that you have a very good, tested, backup of your server.

2. Never upgrade your OS to 2008 when it is still 2003 server on it.  I made the mistake by thinking that I had to do that just because otherwise I couldn’t install the virtualization component.  I learned afterwards that you can add that as a separate component.  By the way, Microsoft, I also didn’t read that on your upgrade technet page, which can be better anyway because there is not much to find there 😉

3. Don’t forget to change the config file otherwise you will have issues when he validates your reporting services.

So, if I ever need to do an upgrade again, I will keep my workflow from post two but adapt it so that the upgrade process of SCE 2010 comes first, then the OS upgrade and finally the Virtualization component installation.  This will give me much less issues.  Second thing I have learned, when your OS upgrade fails, and windows detects it, you can do a rollback to the original state which is pretty cool.  And by the way, it actually works because we had to do that 2 times (not that you have a choice at that moment but hey… who’s complaining).

If you only consider the SCE upgrade, you can say that the team did a good job (well at least at first sight) and that I only had one small problem which it told me during the installation wizard so I can’t complain there.

The next post or posts will be about possible issues that I have encountered and the solutions (hopefully) for them. So if I am lucky, I won’t be posting anymore :-) And otherwise

Till then


Mike Resseler

Upgrading SCE 2007 to SCE 2010 … the long story part 3

6:11 pm in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

Part 3, the actual upgrade.  After a lot of issues with the OS upgrade and the easy part for the prerequisites and “pre-jobs” it is time for the real upgrade.

Before I describe the attempt that actually worked, I should mention that I had also an issue.  During the installation wizard, I got this error:


Unable to use HTTP site from the http://servername:80/Reportserver_instancename Internet Information Services (IIS) node. Please select HTTPS binding

This was easily fixed, I had to change the following line in the rsreportserver.config to Value=”0” coming from value=2


I already started to feat that this would become the same as an OS upgrade, but after that, everything went fine, so here is the installation procedure.

Start SetupSCE.exe (for your information, and because of bad experience, I opened a command prompt as administrator and ran SetupSCE.exe from there…)


Choose Install and make sure that you choose Download the latest updates to System Center Essentials 2010 during setup.  I advice this because the customer I did this for downloaded the RTM version a day after it appeared on their volume license site and yet it already downloaded an update



So next window says it has detected an existing SCE installation and asked if it wanted to upgrade.  Yep, that’s the idea so let’s go for it



Next screen the username, organizaton and serial key.


The Microsoft license agreement.  I accept (do we ever have a choice :-))


The installer is now checking for the prerequisites


Now the system wants to know on which database it needs to be installed.  It shows me actually two database instances on that server which is normal since I have my running 2005 environment for SCE 2007 and installed an 2008 instance for the upgrade.  You can also that the 2005 instance can’t be chosen so I need to work with the 2008 instance.  (Not that I ever was planning on trying out the 2005 instance in a production environment but in a test environment I probably would be tempted :-))


Next up, select the reporting instance.  Selected the new reporting instance that I installed earlier on so that’s also ok.  When you press Next he will start validating that and here I got the error I described above and I think it is rather good that the essentials setup checks already here for possible issues.



The setup asks me for the management account credentials.  Since I already have a management account in 2007, I need to use the same one.  So remember that if you have forgotten your password :-)

And finally you get the configuration overview and then you can start the installation.  Note that you can make changes to your decisions on this page.



Here he is started.

Some time later (it was pretty fast, but takes more time then a new installation as he has to copy the databases from the SQL 2005 to the SQL 2008 instance and so on)


So, I left the checkbox on to open the console to see if everything was running and that seemed no problem.

Next step: Install the virtualization component

So I started the SetupSCE.exe again (yep, again from the command prompt) and choose Install again.  Then the next page popped up


So here I choose Add a component


The system shows me Virtualization and Reporting.  I already installed reporting so that’s grayed out but I can install the Virtualization Management


No choosing for an instance this time, and also check that it requires 7 GB which is quite a lot


Here he is asking me for the location where (in the future) the templates should be installed.  So I choose a directory on a volume and went Next


Review time and install




Opened the console and yep, everything running.

The last thing I did was reran over all the prerequisites I had done and changed them again.  I re-enabled the subscriptions but did not imported the management packs again but that is for another post.

Next step: My conclusion


Mike Resseler

Upgrading SCE 2007 to SCE 2010 … the long story part 2

6:05 pm in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All, after part 1, here is part 2.

So in the last part, I finally got a working SCE 2007 on Windows Server 2008 R2.  I know this has nothing to do with System Center Essentials, but it learned me something very valuable.  First upgrade SCE 2007 to SCE 2010, and then do the upgrade to windows server 2008 R2 :-).  But anyway, I got through and now I looked at all the things I needed to do before starting the upgrade from SCE 2007 to SCE 2010

So here is the flow I’ve used (this includes hw and sw compatibility checks but as said, the flow will need to change for the next time)



Removing incompatible management packs

I removed the the Windows Vista Management pack (Microsoft.Windows.Client.Vista.MP) and checked if KB960569 was applicable for me.

Take backups

Then I opened the SQL 2005 management studio and took backups of the following databases:

– OperationsManager

– OperationsManagerDW


Backups of the certificates

According to the technet documentation, I also had to take backups from the certificates so I did:

From technet:

· To back up the WSUS code signing certificate, on the taskbar, click Start, and then click Run.

· In the Run dialog box, type mmc, and then click OK.

· In the Console1 window, click File, and then click Add or Remove Snap-ins.

· In the Add or Remove Snap-ins dialog box, click Certificates, and then click Add.

· In the Certificates snap-in dialog box, select Computer account, and then click Next.

· In the Select Computer dialog box, make sure that Local computer: (the computer this console is running on) is selected, and then click Finish.

· In the Add or Remove Snap-ins dialog box, click Close.

· Expand Certificates (Local Computer), expand WSUS, and then click Certificates.

· Right-click WSUS Publishers Self-signed, point to All Tasks, and click Export.

· Complete the Certificate Export Wizard, choosing the option to export the private key, and then save the exported file to a safe location.

· To back up the Certificates folder, go to the System Center Essentials 2007 installation folder (usually C:\Program Files\System Center Essentials 2007) and copy the Certificates folder to a safe location.

Disable subscriptions

I’m not sure why this is necessary, but considering the fact that I already had some serious problems with the upgrade process of the OS, I decided not to take any risk.

I went to the administration node in the Essentials console and disabled all subscriptions.

Last but not least: SQL 2008 WITH SP1

The previous essentials is running on SQL 2005 so I needed to install SQL 2008 with SP1 before I could start the installation.  Please note that this is not necessary when you are running SQL 2005 express edition.  Then the installer will create an SQL 2008 express edition instance himself.

So I installed SQL 2008 SP1, again according to the Technet article with only the database engine and reporting engine.

So, in the next post, I’ll be doing the actual upgrade.

Now, this part was already much easier :-)


Mike Resseler

Upgrading SCE 2007 to SCE 2010 … the long story part 1

6:20 am in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

The last weeks I had to work on an upgrade from SCE 2007 to SCE 2010.  I had a lot of issues with it so I wanted to give them here so that you can avoid them if you need to do that

The situation

SCE 2007 is installed on a windows server 2003 R2 x64 physical box.  Because we wanted to use also the VMM part of SCE, we needed to upgrade the server.

So here was the plan I’ve built:

    1. Do a complete assessment (including MAP) of the server and all the software components.  This was not only a SCE box, but also the MDT 2010 box, Lenovo Update box… In other words, a complete management server
    2. Created the upgrade plan for the server to Windows server 2008 R2
    3. Created the upgrade plan for SCE 2007 to SCE 2010

On paper, this looked good :-)

After the MAP assessment, we did some firmware upgrades, removed some non compatible software, placed the drivers of the physical server to the latest available, and finally started with the upgrade.

Problem #1:

We started the upgrade, and find out that the Adaptec Storage software needed to be removed…

Huh? We already removed that because we saw that in the MAP assessment.  Quick look to Add/Remove programs learned us that it was indeed removed. (Started to doubt about myself here ;-))

After quite some time searching, we discovered that the uninstall left one .dll file in the drivers repository of windows.  After manually deleting that driver (actually we renamed it ‘just to be sure’) we could continue with the upgrade.

So we started the upgrade and after the reboot….

Problem #2:

Windows cannot continue because a few drivers are not signed (or something like that).  The good thing here is that you can revert if you want, getting back your original system.  So after a few tries… one of the colleagues said that he knew a way to fix that.  He booted on a winpe cd, went to the c: drive, extracted all the drivers out of a cab file to the windows drivers directory, rebooted, and there you go, everything signed… Well, still don’t know exactly what happened there but hey, I was getting closer to upgrade my SCE. 

Problem #3:

SCE console didn’t start anymore.  Huh? Let’s check the services and yes, services are not started.  Manual start?  Nope, stops immediately with errors.  So, still no upgrade now because I still needed to do the upgrade pre jobs.

After a long time of searching, I finally found out that doing an inplace upgrade from Server 2003 to Server 2008 with SCE 2007 is actually not supported.  Even on the forums I only got answers such as: I reinstalled, recovered etc… Now that wasn’t a plan I liked so I continued to search and suddenly found a clue, where somebody said that there were some dll’s that needed to be “reinstalled” … So here is what I did:

InstallUtil /i Microsoft.Mom.ConfigService.dll
InstallUtil /i Microsoft.Mom.Sdk.ServiceDataLayer.dll
InstallUtil /i Microsoft.Mom.DatabaseWriteModules.dll
InstallUtil /i Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.HealthService.Modules.DataWarehouse.dll

And that worked. 

So after a lot of issues, I was ready to do the next step in the plan… Doing the prerequisite tasks… But that’s for next post

Till then



SCE 2010: Part 2: Comparison & Thoughts

5:56 pm in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

In my previous post (link) I described in short what System Center Essentials 2010 is.  In this post, we are going to dive a little deeper and compare SCE 2010 with Operations Manager, Configuration Manager and Virtual Machine Manager.

While Operations Manager, Configuration Manager and Virtual Machine Manager are three different products, with three different consoles, SCE combines them all in one product, one console.  But, SCE is built for midsize businesses, meaning that it doesn’t contain all the functionality of it’s three ‘big brothers’.  Here’s the comparison

SCE 2010 versus Operations Manager


The table above shows the differences.

  • Monitoring of Windows Servers, Clients, Hardware, Software and Services (both)
    • The big difference is the way Essentials monitor network devices.
  • Management packs with expert knowledge (both)
    • As stated previously, Essentials will use the same management packs as Operations Manager so no differences there
  • Agentless Exception Monitoring (AEM) (both)
  • Add monitoring wizard (both)
  • Reporting (both)
    • 1st difference, Essentials doesn’t have a data warehouse.  In Operations Manager, you can retrieve data for one year and it works with an operational database and a data warehouse database.  Essentials only has one database and contains 40 days of data max.
    • Although there are many reports built in in the product, you can’t do authoring.  Operations Manager gives you flexibility if you want to create your own reports but essentials doesn’t have that possibility
  • Branch Office Monitoring (both)
    • As already said, Essentials is a one box solution, so if you are monitoring servers or clients in a branch office, then everything needs to go over the wire, while Operations Manager gives you the flexibility to place gateways, multiple MS servers.
  • Role Based Security (only OpsMgr)
    • If you want to work with Essentials, you need to be a local admin on the SCE server or a domain admin.  End-of-story.  Operations Manager gives you the flexibility of working with different roles, where you can give limited access to certain users.  SCE doesn’t
  • Connector framework (only OpsMgr)
    • Operations Manager has a connector framework allowing you to connect the system to other tools (helpdesk systems, other Management Groups…)  SCE doesn’t.
  • Audit Collection Services (only OpsMgr)
    • Operations Manager has something called Audit Collection Services (ACS).  With ACS, you have the possibility to do audit tracking on security, and save this to a special database for compliance reasons.  SCE doesn’t have this
  • Web Console (only OpsMgr)
    • Operations Manager gives you a webconsole where you can log on and do almost everything that you can do with the installed console.  SCE doesn’t have this.  If you want to work with SCE, you need to have access to a console.
  • Cross Platform support (only OpsMgr)
    • Operations Manager can monitor non-windows environments such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux for example.  SCE can’t

SCE 2010 versus Configuration Manager


  • Patch Management (Microsoft and Third Party) (both)
    • Although the table doesn’t say so, but there is a difference between SCE and SCCM.  SCCM has much more flexibility then SCE.  But everything that you can deploy as a patch with SCCM can be deployed with SCE.
  • Software Distribution (both)
    • SCCM is much more flexible and allows you to do advanced packaging.  SCE is about deploying MSI and EXE with some parameters but in the end, it is only capable of doing basic software distribution.
  • Hardware and Software Inventory (both)
    • SCE collects quite a lot but can’t be extended.  If you need additional inventory then you can use SCCM that can be extended through the use of MOF files
  • Branch office updates and software distribution (both)
    • Again, don’t forget that essentials is one box, so software distribution and patches are flying over the wire.  Ok, it is using BITS, but still, keep that in mind when choosing a solution.  SCCM can work with distribution points remotely
  • Operating System Deployment (only ConfigMgr)
  • Desired Configuration Management (only ConfigMgr)
  • Wake on LAN (only ConfigMgr)
  • NAP integration (only ConfigMgr)

SCE 2010 versus Virtual Machine Manager and Hyper-V console


In this table, there is the comparison with Virtual Machine Manager but also with the Hyper-V console

  • Templates (Essentials and VMM)
  • VM Cloning (Essentials and VMM)
  • Candidate Identification (Essentials and VMM)
  • Physical to Virtual Conversion (Essentials and VMM)
  • Virtual to Virtual Conversion (Essentials and VMM)
  • Migration across physical machines (Essentials and VMM)
  • Virtualization Reports (Essentials and VMM)
  • Monitoring VMs (Essentials and VMM)
  • PRO tips (Essentials and VMM)
  • Library (Essentials and VMM)
  • Provisioning (All three)
  • VM Configuration and properties (All three)
  • VM State (All three)
  • Checkpoints (Snapshots) (All three)
  • 64 bit guest OS (All three)
  • Hardware Assisted Virtualization (All three)
  • Live Thumbnail (All three)
  • Synthetic Network Support (All three)
  • Import VM (multiple VHD + snapshot (Hyper-V console and VMM)
  • Configure advanced network settings (Hyper-V console and VMM)
  • Inspect Disk (Hyper-V console and VMM)
  • Export VM (Hyper-V console)
  • VMWare Management (VMM)
  • Self-service console (VMM)



So above is the comparison of SCE with the three tools (OpsMgr, ConfigMgr and Virtual Machine Manager).  I don’t want to compare it with the Hyper-V console since this is a management console which is free. 

If you have a mid-sized company (meaning around 50 servers or less and 500 desktops or less) you now need to make a decision.  Will I go for the SCE solution, that has less features or do I have to go for the full-blown solution with all the three products.  The answer to that is (as always) not simple.  For each feature that is noted above, you are going to check if you really, really need it.  If you really need it, and it is not included in SCE… well then go for the full suite.  If you don’t need it, consider SCE for a moment.  But what if the company is growing?  And what if it outnumbers the 50 servers and 500 desktops.  For the new version I don’t know if it will be possible, but with SCE 2007 you could buy an upgrade path to the full solutions, and it costs you nothing extra, meaning that you already paid for SCE and pay additional the price for OpsMgr and ConfigMgr minus the price for SCE.  So no loss there.  Again, I don’t have information yet about pricing for SCE so I don’t know if they will keep that option.

Now let’s look at a few different features that are not the same in essentials.  I will just ask some questions that can help you in deciding.  The answer is not to be given by me, but should be taken by the company.

Differences between OpsMgr and SCE 2010

– Network monitoring.  Both products don’t have a “great” way to monitor network devices.  If you need this, then the solution won’t be to upgrade to Operations Manager but to look at 3rd party add-ons for OpsMgr and SCE.

– Reporting: As said, OpsMgr allows you to author and has a data warehouse.  So the questions you need to ask yourself are: Do I really need to author reports or am I happy with the reports (over 60) out of the box?  And for how long do I want to keep my data?  1 year, or the maximum of 40 days in SCE.  Both questions are crucial for deciding.  Do you really want (or obliged to) to keep your performance data for a server for 1 year?  Do I really want to retrieve an alert from a year ago?

– Branch office monitoring: This can be a tricky one.  How is the connection to your main office?  Still using dial-up? SCE might be not a good option.  Having a very slow WAN link which is already overused for other things?  Maybe SCE not a good option.  On the other hand, can I deploy additional OpsMgr roles to that branch office?  Do I have a (virtual) server overthere that can do the trick?

– Role based security: Important one!  Who needs access to the console?  Does it need to be limited for some users?  Then SCE is not an option.  Do you have just a few admins that all have the same rights?  Then nobody cares…

– Connector framework: Are you going to connect your monitoring solution to an external solution?  Then SCE is not an option anymore.  If you want the alerts (for example) to appear immediately in a helpdesk system then you need to consider Operations Manager (and check that your solution has the possibility to connect).  If this is not important, well, another feature gone :-)

–  ACS: Do you need to audit your security?  And if you’re not having a solution in place then ACS can help you.  But then you need OpsMgr.  Otherwise, the options remain open.

– Web console: Do you need to be able to view alerts, performance and other items through a webconsole, then you have OpsMgr that does the trick.  On the other hand, this mostly means that you also need Role Based Security.  If your admins have a console locally installed (We call these consoles the Outlook for Admins) or pushed through RDS or Citrix then they can also access it anywhere.  Make sure that you check with your admins whether they really need it or if it is just something “nice” to have.

– Cross Platform Management:  Do you need to monitor non-windows environments?  Are they supported by the cross-platform agents from OpsMgr?  Are there third-party add-ons that can deliver the same functionality?  Make sure you know these answers before deciding

Differences between ConfigMgr and SCE 2010

– Patch management: How much do you want to automate in the patch management?  If you want to automate the entire patch management process, including installing and rebooting of your servers then SCCM is the way to go.  But if you don’t want to do that, and if you are perfectly happy with doing the user patch management almost fully automated (meaning just approve certain updates where you don’t have an Auto-rule for) and the server patch management more manually, then the both products can do the same.  (But keep in mind that the way to handle the patch management is quite different in SCCM)

– Hardware and Software inventory:  Simple question, what do you want to know from your hardware and software.  If you don’t need to know some really really specific items where you need to adjust MOF files or write your own WMI queries, then SCE will do the job.  You need to know more, go for SCCM.  It all depends how important that data is.

– Branch office updates and software distribution: Check above, think about the connection bandwidth again.  Don’t forget that it uses bits and will download its updates during the day when traffic is low but still, this can be crucial for the decision

– Operating System Deployment: Do you need Operating System Deployment?  Yes? SCE doesn’t have this.  But wait, before you shout SCCM!  Do you need zero-touch deployment, meaning don’t touch anything, boot the computer through wake-on-lan or intel vPro or is a light-touch deployment (meaning press F12 in the lightest case) enough?  If the LTI choice is enough, then bing MDT 2010 asap.  (And put it on the same server as SCE ;-))

– Desired Configuration Management: Do you want DCM?  With this you can create baselines (for example: Windows Server 2008 R2, IIS, Powershell enabled, HIT driver version x, Latest patches, AV version x etc…) and do you want a tool that checks if all is OK (you can do the same for your workstations) then go for SCCM.  If you are not interested then this is another feature that you don’t need.  (By the way, this is a very nice feature, but takes time to deploy, but still very nice feature ;-))

– Wake on Lan: SCCM has it.  SCE doesn’t.  SCCM can use wake-on-lan for its purposes.  If you want this, then go for SCCM, but, first ask you network team if they allow it (you can’t believe how many network people start shooting the moment I drop the words Wake on Lan… Welcome to the real world gentleman.  Wake-on-lan is great to have, and not every workstation has Intel vPro. :-))

– NAP integration: SCCM has NAP integration.  With the right policies this is a great feature.  Imagine that a workstation is denied through NAP and quarantined to a separate Vlan.  At that moment, SCCM can be used to automatically push all the requirements.  User disabled Anti-Virus?  Don’t think so.  User doesn’t have the latest patches… You guessed it.  If you need this, then SCCM is the tool.  If not (because you use NAP but update a quarantined workstation another way) then we loose another feature to choose from :-)

Differences between Virtual Machine Manager and SCE 2010

Before I start, one important statement.  I said I’m not going to compare the hyper-v console with SCE 2010, but you do need to keep in mind that some features that can’t be done by SCE but only with Hyper-V require more work.  It’s much easier to do this from VMM then by doing it through the Hyper-V console.  Why?  Well, you need to know on which host the virtual server is residing.  But if you have a limited set of hyper-v hosts, then this is still perfectly possible.  If you have a lot of hyper-v hosts, then start considering Virtual Machine Manager,  but then again, you probably are over the 50 server limit…

– VMWare management:  You need to manage also virtual servers running on ESX?  Use virtual machine manager.  It connects through your Virtual Center and you can do everything which virtual center can.

– Self-service provisioning:  This is a fantastic feature if you have people that need to be able to create their own servers or if you want certain people to be able to restart their own servers and follow the boot process.  This is quite often used in development environments where the developers have their own environments (and infrastructure guys don’t want to restart every five seconds a server that is blocked by a bad code or wrong formed SQL query)  But again, do you need this in your environment? 


Before taking a decision about what tool to use, make sure that you look at all the questions.  SCE is a very powerful tool that has the advantage of one console, but lacks features compared to its big brothers.  It is also a one server solution so flexibility is limited.  You can’t separate roles on different servers.  If you have doubt if one server is capable of managing 50 servers and 500 desktops, I can guarantee you it doesn’t.  Size it well enough and it won’t be a problem.  But think about the features, because that should conclude whether you need SCE or the others…

Just my 2 cents,



SCE 2010: What can we expect part 1: Overview

6:38 am in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

System Center Essentials 2010 will be released soon, and a few weeks back I had some live meetings about this new product.  Since I used and implemented SCE 2007 a few times, I wondered how the product got evolved.  SCE 2007 is quite a nice product, but it had its flaws and shortcomings.  So in the next few posts, I’m going to try to describe some interesting features about the product.

So let’s start with what System Center Essentials 2010 exactly is and what the requirements are.

SCE 2010 is called a unified solution for midsize businesses.


Unified experience: SCE 2007 was already quite a unified experience.  You could manage your software, updates through one console.  Create your line-of-business applications through one console.  You could monitor your servers and workstations through one console.  As said, it had its shortcomings but for 90% of the cases this was enough.  I heard many times that you can’t deploy every software with system center essentials.  That’s true, but then again, if you can’t deploy it with SCE 2007, then it means that the software will need advanced techniques to be deployed.  And the question here is what you are going to do at that moment.  Every software vendor that brings his package in MSI can be deployed.

Proactive management: SCE 2007 was the “little brother” of Operations Manager.  It allowed you to monitor your environment and do proactive management.  It lacks a data warehouse compared to Operations Manager, but if you need that, then you probably need more then SCE.

Increased Efficiency: Working with one console and being able to perform many management tasks from this console is indeed an important asset of this tool.  Now with SCE 2010 you also will be able to manage your virtual environment from one console which will make it even more efficient.


First thing learned, they increased the number of servers that can be managed.  With SCE 2010 you can manage 50 servers (instead of the 30 from before) and 500 clients.

Second, System Center Essentials will need SQL Server 2008 instead of 2005 from SCE.


This picture represents the architecture overview for SCE 2010.  Here you can see very well on what SCE 2010 is built.  SCE 2010 is built onto a combination of Operations Manager 2007 and WSUS 3.  Now for those who worked with SCE 2007 know that not many management packs were available for SCE 2007 in the catalog, but that it was quite easy to check if a management pack from Operations Manager 2007 SP1 could be used.  That is something that many of us did and still do.  My first question here would be if this still would be the case or is the management pack library for SCE 2010 going to be maintained better as before.  The statement they made is clear: Essentials is using the same management packs as Operations Manager 2007.  So that’s a good thing.  A very good thing.

Platforms SCE 2010 can be installed:

  • Windows Essentials Server
  • Windows Server 2003 Standard, Enterprise SP2 or later
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise
  • Windows Small Business Server 2008 (note: x64 only)
  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (note: x64 only)

Of course the management console can be installed on remote machines and the database can also be placed on another server (SQL Server 2008 express, workgroup, standard, enterprise SP1 or later)

Also very important to know is that if you want to work with the virtualization part of essentials 2010 you need to install it on Windows Server 2008 or R2 and only on a x64 platform

Managed nodes

What can we manage with essentials 2010

  • XP SP2 or later
  • Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate
  • Windows 7 professional or ultimate
  • Windows Server 2003 Web, Standard, Enterprise SP2 or later
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise
  • Windows Essentials Business Server 2008 x64 only


What is needed to use this software?  I’m assuming here that you want the full blown solution, including the virtualization management:

  • 2.8 GHz or faster CPU
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 20 GB of Disk Space + additional 150 GB for virtualization + 100 GB for the wsus updates if stored locally
  • Windows Server 2008 with IIS 6.0 or 7.0 and .NET 3.5 SP1
  • .NET Framework 3.0
  • Active Directory
  • Domain Admin / Group Policy Admin

Now this Group Policy Admin is optional, but I’ve been in situations where I couldn’t create the GPO for SCE 2007.  This is quite messy to manage afterwards so I strongly suggest that you have the rights for creating a GPO during the implementation of SCE 2010.  SCE works with group policy to pass the correct settings to the clients and it is quite handy that this can be arranged for you.

All on 1 server

SCE 2007 was a one solution server.  It doesn’t have the flexibility to spread roles over multiple servers like his big brother.  For SCE 2010, this remains the same.  Put everything on one box.  The only two things that you can separate are the management consoles (remember, only 5 consoles can be used at one time) and the reporting server / databases that can be placed on another server. 

That’s it for now, next post: SCE 2010 compared against Operations Manager, Configuration Manager and Virtual Machine Manager.