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The purpose of this chapter was to introduce the challenges of systems management and to discuss what Configuration Manager 2007 brings to the table to meet those challenges. You learned that systems management is a process that touches many areas within ITIL and MOF, such as change and configuration management, asset management, security management, and, indirectly, release management. You also learned about the functionality delivered in ConfigMgr that you can leverage to meet these challenges more easily and effectively.

The chapter discussed ITIL v3, which is an internationally accepted framework of best practices for IT Service Management. ITIL describes what should be accomplished in IT operations, although not actually how to accomplish it and how the processes are related and affect one another. To provide additional guidance for its own IT and other customers, Microsoft chose ITIL as the foundation for its own operations framework, the Microsoft Operations Framework. The objective of MOF was to provide both descriptive (what to do and why) as well as prescriptive guidance (how to do it) for IT service management as they relate to Microsoft products.

Microsoft's management approach, which incorporates the processes and software tools of MOF and DSI, is a strategy or blueprint intended to build automation and knowledge into datacenter operations. Microsoft's investment in DSI includes building systems designed for operations, developing an operationally aware platform, and establishing a commitment to intelligent management software.

Configuration Manager is a tool for managing Windows systems in a way that increases the quality of service IT delivers while reducing the operational cost of service delivery. Together with OpsMgr and the other members of the System Center family of products, ConfigMgr is a critical component in Microsoft's approach to system management that can increase your organization's agility in delivering on its service commitments to the business.

Systems management is a key component in an effective service management strategy. Throughout this book, you will see this functionality described and demonstrated, as the authors hope to illustrate the full value of Configuration Manager as a platform for improving the automation, security, and efficiency of service support and delivery in your IT organization.

The next chapter includes an overview of ConfigMgr terminology and discusses key concepts, feature dependencies, and what's new in Configuration Manager 2007.

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