I have implemented System Center 2012 Configuration Manager for many clients, and while many of them use it just for their desktops or laptops, they do not use it for their servers. For various reasons, they are reluctant to add their servers to the ConfigMgr environment. I always advise them to do so, because it just makes sense. Here are the top 10 reasons to add your servers to your System Center 2012 Configuration Manager environment:
1. Why not?
You already have the tool, so why not use it? Just put in the change request to install the SCCM client on your servers and start managing them. Make sure you test first, although chances are, it will not affect any server applications.
2. Maintenance Windows
You can use maintenance windows to define a time period when various operations can be carried out on the servers. This is especially important for servers, to ensure that configuration changes occur during periods that do not affect the productivity of your organization. During maintenance windows, you can deploy software, patch the servers or update and evaluate compliance settings.
3. Patch Compliance
This is a big one. I can tell you that you will score a lot of brownie points with your management and security folks by having your servers up-to-date with the security updates. Use maintenance windows to ensure the changes occur only when approved by the Change Control Committee. Install the patches in phases, starting with test, then QA or staging, and finally production servers, and give plenty of time to the application owners to test their servers before you apply the patches in production.
4. Configuration Compliance
The Compliance Settings feature fits the servers like a glove. It allows you to assess the compliance of your servers for many configurations, such as whether the correct Windows operating system versions are installed and configured appropriately. You can import this configuration data from the web in Configuration Packs as best practices defined by Microsoft and other vendors. Alternatively, you can create new configuration items and configuration baselines. You can monitor the results of the configuration baseline evaluation compliance, or you can run compliance settings reports to find additional details, such as which devices are compliant or non-compliant and which element of the configuration baseline is causing a computer to be non-compliant.
5. Accurate Asset Management
With System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, it is now easier than ever to configure your hardware inventory the way you want it and ensure you get all the information you need with minimum effort. You can now enable, disable, add and remove inventory classes for hardware inventory from the Configuration Manager console. You can use queries to see lists of servers with various configurations. You can use query-based collections to target patching or security updates deployment. You can use many built-in reports to display specific details about the hardware configurations of your servers.
6. Built-in Anti-Virus Protection
Endpoint Protection in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager allows you to manage anti-malware policies and Windows Firewall security for your servers. Use software updates to download the latest anti-malware definition files. You can send email notifications, use in-console monitoring, and view reports to find out when malware is detected on your servers. Endpoint Protection client is installed automatically when you install the Configuration Manager client, it just needs to be activated when you want to use it.
7. Automated Deployment
This is a very powerful feature, which allows you to create a base server image, which you can deploy to any new server to ensure a consistent configuration of your servers. You do that with your workstation image, so why not with your servers?
8. Application Management
You can deploy server applications to the application owners, so they can install them on the servers from the self-service portal according to their schedule. Speaking about brownie points, you will score a lot of those with them if you use this feature, especially when they need to upgrade an application.
9. Task Sequences
You can now use the Task Sequences to install different roles and features on your servers. Isn’t that cool?
10. Real Time Reports
Configuration Manager has over 400 built-in reports. You can use also create your own custom reports. You can use report subscriptions to configure the automatic delivery of specific reports by email or to a file share in scheduled intervals.
There you have it. I told you it makes sense…