SMS can significantly reduce the time and complexity of maintaining and upgrading software for organizations with distributed networks. By using SMS, you can install software, and you can upgrade and configure each computer from either a central location or from multiple locations. You can schedule and distribute individual software files or software application suites to specific computers. SMS even enables you to initiate automated, unattended software distribution to selected computers.
You can create groups of computers based on processor type, user, user group, IP address, currently installed software, or a wide variety of administrator-specified attributes. These groups are called collections. They are defined by queries that are refreshed at administrator-specified intervals. This dynamic approach enables SMS to constantly update the database and keep the collection information current. If a software program is scheduled to run on a collection of client computers and the list of client computers changes, SMS will monitor the changes and distribute the software to the appropriate client computers at the scheduled time.
The high cost of distributing software on a computer-by-computer basis creates a need for easy, automated software installation and upgrade methods. SMS includes SMS Installer, an application that creates software packages for software distribution. SMS Installer is not required to distribute software, but it does provide time-saving functionality. SMS Installer creates software packages that you can distribute throughout your organization — packages that gather information from users, search for files, install and delete files, gather information about the current system, and update both .ini files and the registry.
You can distribute packages throughout your organization using automated SMS tasks, posting packages to a Web site or bulletin board system, or copying packages onto a disk. Setup files created by SMS Installer will run on Microsoft Windows NT (all versions), Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, and Microsoft Windows 3.x. On Windows NT, Windows 95, and Windows 98, the installations support long file names and the full Win32® registry.
Distributing Software to Clients Overview
Using Collections to Manage Resources Overview
Using SMS for Change and Configuration Management