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Microsoft Systems Management Server Overview

Archived content. No warranty is made as to technical accuracy. Content may contain URLs that were valid when originally published, but now link to sites or pages that no longer exist.

This appendix provides information about Microsoft Systems Management Server, which can be used to install and maintain Windows 95 on networked computers.

For more information about the Microsoft Systems Management Server, contact your Microsoft sales representative or see the documentation provided with Systems Management Server. For information online, type go msnet at any CompuServe command prompt and choose Section 16, or connect to the Microsoft World Wide Web site at http://www.microsoft.com and select BackOffice Information and White Papers.

In a corporate environment where you may have hundreds, or even thousands, of computers, the process of upgrading to Windows 95 can become complex — especially if you want to deploy Windows 95 on all computers at the same time. This appendix discusses how you can use Microsoft Systems Management Server to automate the large-scale deployment of Windows 95, making the upgrade process faster, easier, and less expensive for your organization. It also describes the services offered by Systems Management Server for centralized management of computers in an enterprise network, including inventory, software distribution and installation, management of shared applications, remote management and troubleshooting, and network protocol analysis.

Systems Management Server organizes computers into a hierarchy of sites. A site is a group of servers and client computers typically located in a single geographical area. A site can consist of one or more domains (that is, a set of servers and clients that are managed as a group) existing on the same LAN.

Systems Management Server uses the terms central, primary, and secondary to identify the capabilities of sites in the hierarchy. A central site is a primary site at the top of the hierarchy, from which all sites and computers in the hierarchy can be administered.

A primary site has its own Microsoft SQL Server database, which contains all of the hardware and software inventory information for the site and its subsites (sites attached below it in the hierarchy). The primary site can run the Systems Management Server Administrator tool for local administration of the site server and all subsites. A primary site must be running Windows NT Server.

A secondary site is a site that does not have a SQL Server database or the Systems Management Server Administrator tool. This site is administered from any site above it in the hierarchy and has no subsites. A secondary site must be running Windows NT Server.

A primary site can have either secondary sites or other primary sites beneath it in the hierarchy. A secondary site must have a primary site above it and can have no sites below it.

The following figure illustrates a sample Systems Management Server hierarchy. The hierarchical site structure is depicted on the administration console, so that you can easily identify a computer based on its location.

Cc751130.rke_01(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

Systems Management Server Requirements

The following lists the basic requirements for using Microsoft Systems Management Server:

  • Windows NT Server version 3.5 or later

  • Microsoft SQL Server version 4.21 or later

  • A 486/66 or better processor

  • 32 MB of memory (recommended)

  • A hard disk with at least 100 MB available

  • A network-accessible CD-ROM drive

  • A network adapter

  • A Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device (a mouse is recommended but optional)

Microsoft Systems Management Server supports the following connection protocols, networking options, and clients.

Connection protocols

Networks

Clients

Asynchronous
IPX/SPX
Remote Access Service (RAS)
ISDN
NetBEUI
SNA
TCP/IP
X.25

Windows NT Server
LAN Manager 2.1 or later
Novell® NetWare® 3.x or 4.x (in 3.x compatibility mode)
IBM® LAN Server 3.x
DEC™ PATHWORKS™

MS-DOS 5.0 or later
Windows 3.1 or later
Windows NT 3.1 or later
Windows for Workgroups 3.11 or later
Windows 95
Apple® Macintosh® System 7™
DEC Ultrix™
DEC VMS™
HP-UX®
IBM AIX®
IBM OS/2® version 1.x or 2.x
Sun® Solaris

The following table lists the typical requirements for sites in a Systems Management Server hierarchy, based on an installation of up to 1000 computers. These requirements are grouped according to how each server is used. Notice that all of the servers must be running Windows NT Server. Systems Management Server requires a Windows NT file system (NTFS) partition.

Systems Management Server Servers

Server Role

Processor

RAM

Storage

Recommendations

Central Site

Intel® 486/66
Intel Pentium
DEC Alpha
MIPS® R4000™

64 MB

1 GB

A high-performance computer is recommended due to the heavy load placed on the central-site computer by Microsoft Systems Management Server and SQL Server.

Primary or secondary site

Intel 486/66
Intel Pentium
DEC Alpha
MIPS R4000

20 MB

100 MB
40 MB

28 MB of RAM is required if SQL Server is on the same computer as the primary-site server.

SQL Server

Intel 486/66
Intel Pentium
DEC Alpha
MIPS R4000

20 MB

 

28 MB of RAM is required if SQL Server is on the same computer as the primary-site server. Storage requirements depend on the size of the installation.

Systems Management Server Clients

Operating Systems

Processor

RAM

Storage

Recommendations

Windows 3.x
Windows for
Workgroups
MS-DOS 5.x or greater

Intel x86

4 MB

100 MB

Client components require 4.5 MB of storage and 5 KB of conventional memory.

Macintosh System 7.x

68040
PowerPC™

16 MB

80 MB

Client components require 3 MB of storage.

How Systems Management Server Reduces Migration Costs

A recent survey by the Gartner Group estimates that the cost per computer to upgrade to Windows 95 will be between $250 (best case) and $750 (worst case). The primary difference between the best-case and worst-case scenarios is in the amount of advance planning and the level of automation of the installation. From the results, it's clear that time spent on planning pays off.

According to Gartner Group estimates, using Systems Management Server could affect the time required for installation, technical support, and administrative tasks, moving all of them toward the "Best Case" column shown in the following table.

Task

Best Case (hours per computer)

Worst Case(hours per computer)

Installation

 

 

Technician travel time

0.10

0.50

Backing up hard disk

0.10

0.75

Hard disk housekeeping

0.20

1.00

Installation of Windows 95

0.20

1.00

Testing of new configuration

0.10

0.50

Technical Support

 

 

Help desk calls

0.17

0.50

Tier-2 support calls

0.33

0.67

Peer-support calls

0.17

0.33

User disruption

1.00

2.00

Administrative tasks

 

 

Filling out forms

0.00

0.50

Updating inventory system

0.00

1.00

Total time for all tasks

2.37

8.75

Hours saved per computer

6.38

 

Source: Gartner Group

 

 

Your actual savings would depend on the number of computers you are upgrading and the price you pay for labor.

The Systems Management Server Solution

Systems Management Server is the perfect way to reduce the time, effort, and expense involved in migrating computers running MS-DOS and Windows to Windows 95. The software distribution and installation capabilities of Systems Management Server allow you to automatically distribute and install Windows 95 to all or a selected group of your LAN-based computers.

The immediate benefit that you realize by using Systems Management Server to upgrade to Windows 95 is a substantial reduction in the time required to perform the upgrade, resulting in a reduction in the overall upgrade cost. And, after the upgrade, Systems Management Server continues to save you time and money as you install, inventory, and manage other applications.

Systems Management Server Components

Systems Management Server consists of several Windows NT services and few platform-specific applications. These components communicate with each other by writing information to files, which they store in a specific database or directories. Each service or application polls the database or a directory for specific files, and records its results in files destined for the database or the next service. After all services or applications have completed their tasks, the finished product can be a client computer inventory or a successfully installed software package.

Inventory data and Systems Management Server component configurations are stored in a SQL Server database. The database information can be viewed using the Systems Management Server Administrator tool or through other SQL Server front-end tools, such as Microsoft Access.

The following terms describe the roles played by computers in the Systems Management Server system and define how they are structured within the management architecture.

Systems Management Server Terminology

Site Terms:

 

Central Site

This is the highest site in the Systems Management Server architecture. All sites and computers in the hierarchy can be administered from this site. There can be an unlimited number of subsites below the central site. The central site must be a primary site, and have a SQL Server database. The central site must be running Windows NT Server.

Primary site

A Systems Management Server site that has its own database, which contains all of the hardware and software inventory information for the site and its subsites. Local administration can be performed for the site server and all the sites below it in the hierarchy. A primary site must be running Windows NT Server.

Secondary site

A Systems Management Server site that does not have a SQL Server database or Systems Management Server Administrator tool. This site is administered from any site above it in the hierarchy and does not have subsites. Its site information is reported to the site above it. A secondary site must be running Windows NT Server.

Domain

A Systems Management Server domain is a set of servers and client computers that have been grouped together. A domain is primarily used to organize servers and clients into manageable groups and provide logon validation, inventory collection, report generation, and package distribution. Within any one site there is always at least one domain. However, each site can have multiple domains to meet your management requirements. Valid domains are Windows NT, NetWare, LAN Manager, and LAN Server.

Server Terms:

 

Site server

Each site has at least one site server. A site server is a computer running Windows NT Server that contains Systems Management Server components needed to monitor and manage the site, its domains, and its computers. The site server also serves as a collection point for instructions and inventory information.

Helper server

To help ease the load on the site server, you can move some of the components from the site server to other servers. These are called helper servers. Because helper servers are used to offload some of the processing from the site server, they must be running Windows NT Server.

SQL Server

Each primary site must have a SQL Server. Systems Management Server uses Microsoft SQL Server to store the site database. SQL Server can be installed on the site server or on a separate server. Although each site must have its own database, different sites can share the same SQL Server. It is, however, more efficient for the SQL Server to be on the same LAN as the sites using its databases.

Distribution server

This server is used as a distribution point when sending applications for clients to install or run. This means that the system administrator has to send only one copy of the software to each group of computers connected to the distribution server, thus reducing traffic on the network. A distribution server can be a Windows NT Server, a NetWare Server, a LAN Server, or a LAN Manager Server.

Logon server

This server is used to validate client computer logons, and functions as a transfer point between clients and site servers. When a computer logs on, the network inventory information is placed onto the logon server, where it is collected by Systems Management Server, and stored in the database. Any supported network server can act as a logon server. For example, a NetWare Server can act as a logon server for its existing client computers.

Notice that it is completely possible within a small Systems Management Server site for the site server to also be the logon server, the distribution server, and the SQL Server.

Microsoft Systems Management Server Services

This section describes the services provided by Systems Management Server to make it easier to manage computers on the network.

Hardware and software inventory.

Systems Management Server automatically retrieves detailed information about both the hardware and software for every computer within your enterprise and stores the information in a standard SQL Server database. The inventory properties of the computer can include the microprocessor, the various drives, the network adapter, the memory, the IRQ table, and a number of other hardware-related components.

Two types of software inventory information are available. The detailed identification inventory looks for a particular set of files (for example, EXE and DLL files) to verify that all of the required files are present and are valid versions. The comprehensive audit inventory checks the files on the computer's disk against a predefined list of applications. Systems Management Server can also collect copies of the computer's configuration files and add them to an archive. These inventory features are useful for tracking maintenance and planning upgrades.

Software distribution and installation.

Systems Management Server makes it easy to automatically distribute commercial or internally developed applications, upgrades or fixes, or virus-checking software to selected personal computers on the local network and at remote sites. Systems Management Server distributes and installs software in package form. Packages can be used to install software on client computers; packages can also install and share software on a network server, or identify existing software on target computers and collect specified files.

Management of shared applications.

Systems Management Server can control access to shared applications to balance loads and provide fault tolerance and metering. When sharing applications, you can also automatically view a program group tailored to a specific user, no matter which computer the user uses to log on to the network. You determine which network users (or user groups) need access to specific server applications. The server applications database is replicated on all of the logon servers at a site.

Remote management and troubleshooting.

Systems Management Server provides two remote management features: Help Desk and Diagnostics. Help Desk provides direct access to a client (including the ability to carry out commands, transfer files, and restart the computer), allowing you to troubleshoot and support individual remote computers. The Diagnostics utilities allow you to view the current hardware and software configuration of a workstation.

Network protocol analysis.

The Network Monitor component of Systems Management Server is a diagnostic tool that allows you to look at the details of network packets, perform remote captures on a packet anywhere on the network, and gather network statistics about a group of personal computers. It enables you to capture and analyze network traffic and detect connection problems or potential network bottlenecks.

For more information about Systems Management Server, see WIN95RK.HLP with the Windows 95 Resource Kit utilities.

Hardware and Software Inventory

As a systems administrator, you are familiar with the problems associated with determining the number of personal computers that exist in a large distributed enterprise, and keeping track of all of the hardware and software associated with each computer. Systems Management Server helps make these tasks easy and cost-effective.

Systems Management Server can automatically retrieve detailed information about both the hardware and software for every computer within your enterprise and store the information in a standard SQL Server database. You can select, sort, and view the data, or you can query the database, extract the data, and create custom reports with popular desktop applications, such as Microsoft Access or Lotus® 1-2-3®. A few of the business benefits are:

Maintenance and service tracking.

Systems Management Server can automatically create an inventory of all computers connected to your network. You can then supplement this information by adding your company asset numbers, the cost of each computer, and any maintenance that has been performed. If you want to install a new adapter—for example, a sound card—you can tell the technician the exact configuration of the computer, to make sure that the device works correctly and minimize computer downtime.

Planning your upgrades.

When planning for the upgrade of all computers in your organization to Windows 95, you can use Systems Management Server to help you identify which computers need new hardware to qualify for the upgrade. All you need to do is define a computer configuration and run a query on the database to find which ones need new hardware.

For hardware inventory, Systems Management Server supports the Desktop Management Interface (DMI). Any hardware vendor can write a Management Information File (MIF) as defined by the DMI, to include their component in the inventory properties of the computer where it resides. Currently-defined components include the microprocessor, the various drives, the network adapter, the memory, the IRQ table, and a number of other hardware-related components. The hardware inventory detects these defined components and stores information about them in the SQL database.

Two types of software inventory information are collected by Systems Management Server: detailed identification and comprehensive audit. As with hardware inventory, both types of software information are stored in the SQL database, which you can query.

A detailed identification inventory looks for a particular set of files. For example, if an accounting system requires a set of EXE and DLL files, detailed identification inventory can verify that all of the required files are present and that they are valid versions. Or, if you want to upgrade to the new version of an application, this type of inventory can tell you how many copies to buy and where to distribute them.

A comprehensive audit is used to determine if specified applications are installed on the network's computers. In this type of inventory, Systems Management Server checks the files on the computer's disk against a list of applications that are predefined in a package rule file. You can add or delete applications from this list to customize it for the enterprise. Microsoft provides a list of most Microsoft applications, and approximately 2500 software packages from leading vendors.

Systems Management Server can also collect software. For example, it can collect copies of the computer's configuration files (such as AUTOEXEC.BAT, CONFIG.SYS, SYSTEM.INI, or WIN.INI) and add them to an archive. If a problem occurs later on a computer, a technician can can replace corrupted files or review the files in the archive to see if a change in a configuration file might have caused the problem. This is the ideal way to manage a diverse variety of configuration files.

How Inventory Is Processed

The inventory collection process is as follows:

  1. The first time a computer logs on to the network, Systems Management Server installs a program called the Inventory Agent on the computer. This is a management agent that examines the computer to determine the hardware and operating system configuration of the computer, and then builds a binary inventory file (report) of this information.

  2. The Inventory Agent places the inventory file on the logon server. During this process, the client computer uses its network logon server. For example, a NetWare client works directly with its existing NetWare server; it doesn't need to access a Windows NT, LAN, or other server.

  3. At intervals set by the administrator, the Inventory Agent inspects the computer for hardware and software inventory information.

  4. At intervals set by the administrator, the primary site server collects the inventory files from all of its logon servers, determines what inventory changes have taken place since the last inventory, and updates its database with the new information. This changed information is passed all the way up the hierarchy to the central site.

Systems Management Server automatically inventories all hardware and operating system components it can locate, but inventories only the software you specify. To specify which software components Systems Management Server should include in the inventory you create an inventory package.

Creating an Inventory Package

To collect software inventory information, you create an inventory package. Systems Management Server automatically sends the package to all primary sites beneath the one where the package was created.

To create a new package, start SMS Administrator and follow these steps:

  1. Open the Packages window.

  2. In the File menu, select New to display the Package Properties dialog box.

  3. In the Name box, type a name for the package.

  4. In the Comments box, add text to further describe the package.

  5. Click Inventory to define the package properties.

  6. Select the Inventory This Package check box.

    By selecting this check box, you include the package in the SMS software inventory. This check box must be selected in order to define the Inventory properties.

  7. Define the files used to identify the package (the inventory rule).

    For instructions on defining the inventory rule, see the Systems Management Server Administrator's Guide.

  8. Define other properties by choosing the appropriate properties button.

  9. Click OK to return to the Package Properties dialog box.

  10. Click OK to close the Package Properties dialog box.

The package is added to the SMS system database and appears in the Packages window. If Inventory has been set, the package is included in the software inventory. Systems Management Server creates a system job to add the package to all primary sites beneath the site where the package is created.

When you create a package with Inventory properties, that package is added to a package rule file for the site.

Package Rule File.

A package rule file is an ASCII text file that contains rules for collecting an inventory of software. Each rule in the file is the name of a program and, optionally, a set of attributes for that file. Here are the rules used to inventory Microsoft Access 2.0 and MS-DOS 6.0.

PACKAGE 1 "Access 2.00" FILE "MSACCESS.EXE" SIZE 1909024   DATE 04/05/94
PACKAGE 2 "Microsoft DOS 6.0" FILE "COMMAND.COM" DATE 03/11/93

The package rule file is used to generate a configuration file which is distributed to all logon servers at the site. When the Inventory Agent runs from the client, it uses this configuration file to determine which packages (thatis, which files) it should look for on the client. Packages listed in the configuration file that are found on the client are reported as inventory and stored in the site database. This information is passed all the way up the hierarchy to the central site.

You can add Inventory properties to an existing package with either Workstation or Sharing properties, or create a package with only Inventory properties defined.

Software Distribution and Installation

Systems Management Server makes it easy to automatically distribute commercial or internally-developed applications, upgrades or fixes, or virus-checking software to selected personal computers on the local network and at remote sites.

The following lists the steps in the software distribution and installation process:

  • Query the database to identify the workstations and servers on which you wish to install new software or share applications.

  • Prepare a package for distribution to client systems.

  • Create a job to install or share software.

  • Send the package to the site's distribution servers at each site.

  • Install the software on, or allow sharing of the application to, the target computer.

Querying the SQL Server Database

Inventory information gathered by Systems Management Server is stored in the SQL Server database, which the administrator can query to identify computers that meet certain qualifications. (For example, you could query a site for all computers that are currently running Windows 3.1 and that meet other requirements, and target them for an upgrade to Windows 95.)

Systems Management Server provides some predefined queries, or you can write your own. When you run a query, all computers that meet the criteria of the query are listed in a window, similar to the one in the following illustration.

Creating Packages

Systems Management Server uses packages to store information about software so it can be installed on clients, shared from servers, inventoried, or even removed from a computer. Before creating a package to distribute or share software, you must place all the files you want to use for the package in a shared source directory on a server or local drive.You then create a package by identifying the files (those now in the source directory) and defining the package's properties. This is the configuration and identification information used either to install the package on clients (Workstation Properties), or to share the package so that it can be run from network servers (Sharing Properties).

Workstation Properties.

Packages with Workstation properties and Run Command On Workstation job type are used to install software, such as Windows 95, on target clients. Rather than having to personally visit each computer attached to your LAN, you can create a job that sends the package to distribution servers. When each target computer logs on to the network, a program called the Package Command Manager (PCM) runs automatically and allows the user to install the new software by choosing the package from the PCM Window.

Package Command Manager (PCM).

This program is installed and set up automatically when the computer is first inventoried by Systems Management Server. At intervals set by the administrator or user, the Package Command Manager checks to see if there are any software installation jobs intended for its computer. If there are, it retrieves the software from the local distribution server and follows the installation instructions. You can give the user the option of accepting the package now or later, and you can set a deadline by which the user must accept the package. Systems Management Server can even install operating system software, such as Windows 95, when the computer is unattended—overnight, for example.

Sharing Properties.

Packages with Sharing properties and Share Application On Server job type are used to install, and then share, software on one or more networked file servers. This job sends the package to the distribution servers at a site, shares the necessary network directories, and makes the package available to users with the specified access permissions.

Packages can have one or more properties defined. In other words, a package with both Workstation and Inventory properties defined would allow installation of new software to a target client, and then include the new software in the site's inventory.

You can define packages for commercial applications, for applications you have developed, and for data files. Systems Management Server includes package definition files (PDFs) that specify the setup programs, installation options, and execution command lines for certain applications. In addition, software developers may create package definition files for their applications. If there is a PDF for the application you want to install, import it to automatically define all the variables. The PDF for Windows 95 is called WIN95.PDF.

Creating Jobs

After defining the package, you have to let Systems Management Server know where to send it. To do this, drag and drop the defined package onto the site (in the Site Properties Window) and fill in a few job details, including the distribution servers to use and the type of job—Run Command On Workstation, Share Application On Server, and Remove Shared Package From Server—corresponding to the package properties.

Systems Management Server can distribute packages to each site over any LAN or WAN protocol supported by Windows NT Server (such as TCP/IP or IPX), over an SNA backbone, or over standard serial lines (including ISDN or X.25).

After you have defined the package properties and the job details, Systems Management Server takes over the distribution process, installing or sharing the software from the distribution server, or performing an inventory — typically all without any user input.

Distributing the Software

Before Systems Management Server distributes a package, it compresses it, thereby reducing the amount of traffic on the network. As the package is passed through the hierarchy, Systems Management Server manages error detection and correction over the WAN. If the distribution requires more time than is available on the link you've specified between sites, Systems Management Server distributes segments of the package sequentially when the WAN is available. When the package arrives at the site, it is placed on the specified distribution servers.

After the package has been copied to the distribution site and uncompressed, Systems Management Server uses the package properties and job type to determine what to do with the it next.

Managing Shared Applications

With the Program Group Control feature, Systems Management Server can control access to shared applications to balance loads and provide fault tolerance and metering. When a user logs on to the network from any computer, a program called Program Group Control checks the local server applications database to see if the person who logged on has access to any server applications. If so, Program Group Control program builds and program groups are displayed that contain icons for the appropriate applications. If the user chooses an icon to launch a server application, Program Group Control again checks the local server applications database to see which distribution servers have the application. It connects the user to an available server and starts the application. Because Program Group Control can connect to any available distribution server, you can install the application on several servers to balance the network load and to make sure that users always have access to their network applications, even if one of the servers is down.

Remote Management and Troubleshooting

Systems Management Server provides the Help Desk and Diagnostics features which offer the ability to directly control and monitor remote clients running MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, and Windows 95.

Help Desk

The Help Desk utilities provide direct access to a client, allowing you to troubleshoot and support individual remote computers, with obvious cost savings to the organization.

Using the Windows NT Server and Windows NT Workstation management tools from a Systems Management Server administration console, an administrator or technician can take control of a remote computer running Windows or MS-DOS to perform management or troubleshooting tasks. From one central location, across either a LAN or WAN, the administrator or technician can:

  • Monitor the state of the remote computer, including details of dynamic system resource utilization

  • View the remote computer's screen and guide the user through a difficult task

  • Use Remote Chat for two-way text messaging between the administrator and the client computer

  • Perform a task directly, with or without the user being present

  • Remotely carry out commands

  • Check the memory map, the status of interrupts, and other operating system parameters

  • Transfer files and install software

  • Restart the remote computer

When the Help Desk option is run, Systems Management Server verifies that the client computer is running and attached to the network. Help Desk attempts connection using various protocols installed on the server until the server successfully connects to the client computer. The Help Desk feature works across X.25, ISDN, and standard asynchronous phone lines, and any normal routed network.

Users can control the degree of remote access they want by setting the following options:

  • Remote viewing

  • Remote take-over

  • Remote file transfer

  • Remote boot

  • Remote performance of commands

Notice that the use of these help desk utilities requires the knowledge and permission of the remote user. Remote file transfer and remote execution of commands must be enabled for the client to participate in software distribution through Systems Management Server.

Diagnostics

The Diagnostics utilities allow you to view the current hardware and software configuration of a workstation. The following table shows diagnostic utilities for Windows 95 clients.

Item

Description

CMOS Info

Displays the CMOS memory data, which is used during startup to configure the client computer

Device Drivers

Provides information about the device drivers

DOS memory

Lists the programs currently loaded in conventional memory

GDI Heap

Lists and describes the characteristics of memory objects in the local memory storage for the graphical device interface

Global Heap

Lists the addresses of memory objects in the remote client's global memory storage, along with various characteristics associated with each object

Interrupt vectors

Lists the MS-DOS interrupt vector table

Ping Test

Sends packets between the administrative console and the client; verifies the accuracy of transmission

ROM Info

Provides detailed information about all installed read-only memory chips

Window Classes

Provides information about Windows classes used in programs

Windows Memory

Provides information about memory and available memory resources

Windows Module

Provides information about active code modules

Windows Tasks

Provides information about programs listed in the Task List

These tools provide the ideal solution for help desk operators, allowing them to resolve many user problems from a central location.

Network Protocol Analysis

The Network Monitor component of Systems Management Server is a diagnostic tool that allows administrators to look at the details of network packets, perform remote captures on a packet anywhere on the network, and gather network statistics about a group of personal computers. It enables network administrators to capture and analyze network traffic and detect problems or potential network bottlenecks.

Network Monitor provides a graphical display of network statistics that you can use to perform routine troubleshooting tasks, such as locating client-to-server connection problems, or finding a computer making a disproportionate number of work requests.

With Network Monitor, you can:

  • Capture frames (also called packets) directly from the local network

  • Capture frames from a remote computer

  • Display and filter captured frames

  • Edit and transmit captured frames onto the network to test network resources or to reproduce network problems

  • Display statistics on frames captured locally or on a remote computer

Network Monitor monitors the network data stream, which consists of all of the information transferred over a network at any given time. Prior to transmission, this information is divided by the networking software into smaller segments, called frames or packets. Each frame contains the following information:

  • The source address of the computer that sent the message, which is a unique hexadecimal number that identifies the computer on the network

  • The destination address of the computer that received the frame

  • Headers from each protocol used to send the frame

  • The data or a portion of the information being sent

Except in a token-ring or a subnetworked environment, every computer on the network is exposed to all network activity, but the network adapter in each computer typically passes on to the computer only the frames addressed to it. Network Monitor requires that the network adapter be in promiscuous mode, which forces it to examine all frames on the network, rather than just those addressed to it. Network Monitor then filters, counts, and copies all the frames it detects to its capture buffer, which is a reserved storage area in memory. This process is referred to as capturing.

Important: To use Network Monitor, you need a network adapter that supports promiscuous mode. Read the documentation that accompanies your adapter to determine if it supports promiscuous mode.

Although the amount of information Network Monitor can capture is limited only by the amount of memory available on your computer, you usually need to capture only a small subset of the frames traveling on the network. To single out a subset of frames, you can design a capture filter, which functions in the same manner as a database query. You can filter on the basis of source and destination addresses, protocols and protocol properties, or by specifying a data pattern.

If you want a running capture to respond to events on your network as soon as they are detected, you can design a capture trigger. A capture trigger performs a specified action, such as starting an executable file, when Network Monitor detects a particular set of conditions on the network.

For more information about using Network Monitor, see the Systems Management Server Administrator's Guide.

Using Systems Management Server to Deploy Windows 95

Whether you are upgrading ten or ten thousand clients to Windows 95, Systems Management Server allows you to perform an automatic upgrade with no intervention from you or the user.

For an overall deployment plan, see the general and detailed discussions provided in Chapter 1, "Deployment Planning Basics," and Chapter 2, "Deployment Strategy and Details." This section provides specific information about how Systems Management Server tools help you in planning for and automating the Windows 95 rollout to your company.

The first step in the upgrade process is to determine which of your computers are appropriate for upgrading to Windows 95. Using Systems Management Server, query the SQL Server database to locate all computers that match the upgrade specifications. A predefined query included in Systems Management Server examines the CPU, the operating system, the available hard disk space, the installed RAM, and so on. You can use this query as is or modify it to include additional criteria important to your installation.

After identifying the target computers, you are ready to roll out Windows 95 to target computers. The following is an overview of the steps involved in deploying Windows 95 with Systems Management Server.

  • Create and share a package source directory for the Windows 95 files. This directory can be on any server that can be shared with the network.

  • Copy the appropriate files from the Windows 95 compact disc to the new package source directory.

    If you are copying from the compact disc, you can use the Server-based Setup (netsetup) to copy all files to the source directory. For information, see Chapter 4, "Server-Based Setup for Windows 95." If you are copying from a server that already contains an installation created using Server-based Setup, you can use xcopy to copy the files and the directory structure.

    From the Systems Management Server 1.0a compact disc, copy the following files to the package source directory:

    • WIN95.INF file from SMS\LOGON.SRV\MSTEST

    • DOS2W95.EXE file from SMS\LOGON.SRV\MSTEST (if you are setting up clients that run MS-DOS)

  • Review the INF file for your configuration, and make appropriate changes (such as changing the time zone).

  • Create a package containing the Windows 95 source directory.

  • To install Windows 95 on one or more clients, create a mandatory job to distribute the package to the clients.

  • Send the job to the target computer.

Windows 95 Deployment Procedures

The first step in the upgrade process is to determine which of your computers are appropriate for upgrading to Windows 95. The easiest way to do this, if you have Systems Management Server installed, is to query the SQL database to locate all computers that match the upgrade specifications.

Depending on your installation, you may be able to use a single query to identify all upgrade candidates, or you may have to write several queries, and upgrade the installation in stages. You will typically end up with at least one query for each Windows 95 configuration you want to install; after running the query, you can use the results as the target for your installation package.

A typical query for an upgrade of desktop computers might specify:

  • A 386 DX processor or better

  • MS-DOS version 5.0 or later, Windows, or Windows for Workgroups

  • 35 MB or more of hard disk space

The following table lists the amount of hard disk space required, according to the operating system being upgraded.

Existing operating system

Compact

Typical

Full

New (no system installed)

30 MB

40 MB

50 MB

Windows 3.1

15

35

40

Windows for Workgroups 3.11

15

30

35

  • 4 MB or more of installed RAM

  • Windows 95 is not already installed

Systems Management Server includes some predefined queries which are ready to use. You can modify one of these, if appropriate, to query for criteria that are specific to your organization. The following steps show you how to create a simple query. To create a more complex query, repeat several of the steps to add more properties to your query.

To create a simple query that detects computers running Windows for Workgroups

  1. From the Systems Management Server Administrator tool, open the Queries window.

  2. From the File menu, choose New. The Queries Properties window appears.

  3. In the Query Name box, type Windows 95 Candidates and click Add AND. This opens the Query Expression Properties dialog box.

  4. Scroll down the list until you find the Operating System group, and then select the Operating System Name attribute.

  5. In the Operator box, select is.

  6. In the Value box, select MS Windows for Workgroups.

  7. Click OK to return to the Query Properties dialog box with your query displayed.

  8. Click OK and then minimize the Queries window.

This creates a simple query that has only one property—that the operating system is Windows for Workgroups. You can use the Add AND or the Add OR functions to define more query details.

There are two ways you can execute a query:

  • You can choose Execute Query from the File menu, select the query you want to execute, and click OK. The Query results window appears listing all the computers that meet the criteria of the query, as shown in the following illustration.

  • You can also simply drag the query from the Queries window and drop it onto the site (in the Sites window) that you wish to run the query on, as shown in the following illustration. This makes it easy for administrators to run queries on certain sites as required.

Here are the basic steps in using Systems Management Server to roll out Windows 95.

To roll out Windows 95 using Systems Management Server

  1. Create and share a package source directory for the Windows 95 files. This directory can be on any server that can be shared with the network.

  2. Copy the appropriate files from the Windows 95 compact disc or flopp disks to the new package source directory. If copying from the compact disc, you can use the Server-Based Setup (netsetup; see Chapter 4, "Server-Based Setup for Windows 95") to copy appropriate files to the source directory. If you are copying from a server that already contains an installation created using Server-based Setup, floppies, you can use xcopy to copy the files and directory structure.

    From the Systems Management Server 1.0a CD-ROM, copy the following files to the package source directory.

    • WIN95.INF file from SMS\LOGON.SRV\MSTEST.

    • DOS2W95.EXE file from SMS\LOGON.SRV\MSTEST (if you are setting up DOS clients).

  3. Review the INF file for your configuration, and make appropriate changes (such as the time zone).

    Create a package containing the Windows 95 source directory:

    • From the Systems Management Server Administrator, open the Packages window. From the File Menu, choose New. When the Package Properties dialog box appears, click Import.

    • In the File Browser dialog box, select the WIN95.PDF in the SMS\PRIMSITE.SRV\IMPORT.SRC\ENU directory, and then click OK.

    • Click Workstations. In the Source directory boxof the Setup Package For Workstations dialog box , type the location of the Windows 95 package source directory (or click Browse [...] to find it). This is the package source directory that you created earlier. Then click Close, and click OK.

    When ready to install Windows 95 on one or more clients, create a job to distribute the package to the clients.

    • From the Systems Management Server Administrator, open the Packages window. Open the Sites window.

    • In the Packages window, select the package you created for the operating system, and drag it to a client, machine group, or site in the Sites window.

    • Complete the Job Details dialog box, making sure to choose the correct client command appropriate for the operating system environment of the target clients on which the job will be run. Use Automated Setup for Windows/WfW Clients for computers running Windows or Automated Setup for DOS Clients for computers running MS-DOS.

  4. Send the job to the target computers.

The Windows 95 installation process requires the User Name, Domain/Workgroup Name, and Computer Name for the targeted client. These values are left blank in the WIN95.INF template. There are several ways for the installation program to acquire this information:

  • Determine if the input Win95 script file (usually WIN95.INF) has UserName set.

  • If not, check in the client's SMS.INI for the UserName (this is an optional field that people can set using PCM).

  • Then, make sure there's an MSBATCH.INF file in the Windows directory and that it has the UserName set (computers running Windows 95 will have this file from their last installation).

  • Next, check if there's a SERIALNO.INI file in the Windows directory that has UserName set (computers running Windows for Workgroups will have this file from the installation).

  • Finally, have the UserName default to the same value as the computer name. The computer name was either specified in the INF file or copied from the MachineName field in SMS.INI.

Check the README.TXT file for further information.

For Windows-based clients, the user must close all applications before starting the automated Windows 95 installation. If an application is open, the installation will pause until the user closes it. Also, certain warning and error conditions can occur during the installation process that may pause or terminate the installation.

Where to Find More Information

The following publications provide more information:

  • Systems Management Server Administrator's Guide

  • Systems Management Server Resource Kit

  • Systems Management Server Evaluation Guide

  • Systems Management Server Deployment Guide

  • Windows NT Resource Kit

  • Microsoft SQL Server Resource Kit

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