This section is for users who are already familiar with Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 and want to know what has changed in Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007. If you are not already familiar with Configuration Manager 2007, start by reading Fundamentals of Configuration Manager 2007. If you do not have Configuration Manager 2007 deployed yet, you should read Configuration Manager Planning and Deployment Overview and Planning and Deploying Clients for Configuration Manager 2007. After your site is installed, see Configuration Manager 2007 Features for complete information about deploying, using, and troubleshooting each feature.

Some aspects of Configuration Manager 2007 have changed very little since SMS 2003, while some have changed a lot. Also, several new features have been added and some features have been removed.

The following features are new to Configuration Manager 2007:

The following features were previously available only in Feature Packs but are now incorporated into the core product:

The following features have changed significantly from SMS 2003:

The following features have been improved but still function very much as they did in SMS 2003:

The following features either have not changed or have minor changes:

The basic site infrastructure has not changed. You still have primary sites and secondary sites, although the new feature for software distribution called the branch distribution point might remove the need to create some child sites in your hierarchy. Site-to-site communication is still configured using senders and addresses; however, in Configuration Manager 2007 senders can be installed only on primary or secondary site server systems. Several new server roles have been added to support new features. Configuration Manager 2007 now supports hosting the site database on a clustered SQL Server virtual instance as well as named instances of supported SQL Server installations.

For a list of supported SQL Server versions, see Configuration Manager Supported Configurations.

In SMS 2003 you had two types of clients, but in Configuration Manager 2007 you have only one client type, which is similar to the SMS 2003 Advanced Client. Some of the client deployment methods have changed and some methods have been removed. A new method, software update point client installation, allows you to leverage your software update infrastructure to deploy Configuration Manager 2007 clients.

In SMS 2003 you had two security modes, but in Configuration Manager 2007 you have the equivalent of SMS 2003 advanced security. However, you now have two site modes: Configuration Manager 2007 native mode and Configuration Manager 2007 mixed mode. Although site modes are not at all related to the SMS 2003 security modes, they do involve the security of your Configuration Manager 2007 environment. Native mode is a requirement to support Internet-based client management, a new feature that allows you to manage clients that do not have a direct connection to your site.

In SMS 2003, the site server's local subnet is automatically used as the site boundary for the site during setup. In Configuration Manager 2007, there is no default boundary created during setup, and you must manually create the boundary for a site when setup has completed. In SMS 2003, there are site boundaries and roaming boundaries, but in Configuration Manager 2007, there is only one type of boundary and it is equivalent to SMS 2003 roaming boundaries. Computers are assigned as clients to Configuration Manager 2007 sites according to the site boundaries you configure in the Configuration Manager console. Boundaries can now be defined by IP subnets, Active Directory site names, IPv6 Prefix, or IP ranges.

In SMS 2003, roaming boundaries were either local or remote roaming boundaries. When creating Configuration Manager 2007 boundaries, you instead decide whether the boundary will be used for either a slow or unreliable or a fast (LAN) network connection. During upgrade, any existing remote roaming boundaries will become slow boundaries and any local roaming boundaries will become fast (LAN) boundaries.

In SMS 2003, you could not upgrade from the evaluation version of the product to the full version. Configuration Manager 2007 now supports upgrading from the evaluation version. When upgrading an evaluation version, whether it is SMS 2003 or Configuration Manager 2007, an entire setup process must be completed using the new installation source files.

In SMS 2003, the client push installation method properties used when installing clients have the default site code set to Auto. In Configuration Manager 2007, the default site code used when installing clients using the client push installation method is set to the site code of the primary site.

In Configuration Manager 2007, state messages are sent by Configuration Manager 2007 clients using a new messaging system built into the product that allows clients to send "checkpoints" of important changes of state. State messages are not the same as status messages; whereas status messages provide information about component behavior and data flow, state messages provide a snapshot of the state of a process at a specific time.

Configuration Manager 2007 also includes support for fully qualified domain names (FQDNs) and IPv6.

Although the product name has officially changed, there are some programmatic elements within Configuration Manager 2007 that have not been changed to reflect the new name. For example, the provider is still called the SMS Provider because changing it would have created backward-compatibility problems for customers using WMI scripting. Many status messages still refer to SMS because the messages could apply to an SMS 2003 child site. Services, file names, shared folder names, and Configuration Manager 2007 groups still retain the SMS abbreviation in their names.

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