Microsoft Releases Systems Management Server 2003 SP1

Service Pack 1 for SMS 2003, made available on the Web late last week, incorporates a number of bug fixes but also offers expanded platform support, security and performance improvements and new extensibility options for ISVs and service partners, Microsoft said.

Most significantly, SMS 2003 SP1 delivers support for Microsoft's security-focused Windows XP SP2 update and Virtual Server 2005 virtualization software. The added platform support will enable customers and partners to more easily deploy and manage the XP SP2 update as well as provide advanced client support for Virtual Server 2005, Virtual PC 2004, Windows Storage Servers and the company's forthcoming Windows Server 2003 SP1 64-bit-based platforms. Windows Server 2003 SP1 is due in the first half of 2005.

Microsoft said the update also offers security improvements and numerous performance improvements to speed software distribution. For instance, SP1 now offers client authentication to protect servers from client spoofing, encryption of inventory data, full authentication between SMS clients and SMS infrastructure, and security certificate provisioning at the time of client installation.

Moreover, the inclusion of new APIs and interfaces enables greater extensibility for ISVs and service partners. SMS 2003 SP1's patch management extensions, for example, support partners' scan tools and patches while other APIs will enable partners to extend SMS to provide better Unix and non-Windows mobile device management, Microsoft said.

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