Step 2 Analyze Your Environment

A thorough understanding of your computing environment helps you determine the scope of your SMS implementation project. Having accurate information about your physical network infrastructure and the issues that influence your network operations is critical to many of the decisions you make as you plan your SMS deployment.

If You Do Not Have This Data

If this is your first implementation of SMS, and some of this environment data is information that you plan to collect using the discovery and inventory features of SMS 2003, then collect as much data about your environment as you can during the pre-planning phase. This helps you to determine your objectives when you proceed to the "Analyze Your Needs" section later in this chapter.

For example, the locations, types, and number of SMS site servers deployed are greatly influenced by network topology.

Detailed documentation of your computing environment is essential to an optimal SMS design. Diagrams are a useful way to deal with complex concepts, such as network topology. Where appropriate, create these diagrams and include them in your project plan documentation.

Start by collecting and collating the data described in this section. See Table 7.3 for an overview of the type of data you can collect. As you examine your environment, review how SMS integrates into existing operational processes and the effect it will have on existing operational roles and responsibilities. Also, be sure to anticipate and track proposed infrastructure changes.

Table 7.3 Collecting Computing Environment Data


Data needed

Previous installations

The history of your organization's systems management solutions

Geographic profile

Diagram of the geographic locations of your organization's sites, including information about international operating system languages and time zones

Organizational structure

Diagram of the divisions or departments within your organization and their associated managing and reporting structures

Network topology

Diagram of your network infrastructure, including LAN and WAN architecture, physical topology, network size, bandwidth, usage, traffic patterns, network protocols, and subnets

Client environment

The number of clients at each location, software applications and operating systems in use (including logon scripts, if applicable), client mobility and type of network connectivity (dial-up, wireless, LAN-connected)

Active Directory® site structure

Diagram of the forest, domains, and Active Directory sites in your Active Directory site structure, if applicable, and organizational unit information for later use in SMS operations

Domain models

Diagram of your organization's Microsoft Windows NT® and Windows® 2000 domain models and trust relationships

Server environment

Diagram of the locations of the core servers on your network, indicating their primary functionality and operating system version level (domain controllers, servers running Terminal Services, file servers, Web servers, DHCP, WINS, and DNS servers)


Documentation containing your security settings, including Windows security groups, Administrator and Domain Administrator accounts, client lockdown levels, shared folder access restriction policy, account policies, account control needs, and sensitivity to security risks

Information Technology (IT) organization

Knowledge of your IT organization, the support areas defined for IT staff members, what the management control policies are and any policies that play a part in the success of the organization's infrastructure projects

As you collect this information, document it in diagrams, charts, and tables that can later be inserted into the project plan. If possible, create your network and organization diagrams using an overlay fashion. For example, create a domain model diagram using clear media, such as transparency paper, that can overlay a printed diagram of your network topology.


  • Because your SMS site structure can be based on both IP subnets and Active Directory sites, pay particular attention to the location and clustering of IP subnets and Active Directory sites.

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