Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > Microsoft Servers

This chapter is from the book

Understanding System Center Essentials

System Center Essentials is a standalone product focused on midsized organizations with fewer than 500 users and 50 servers. Rather than setting up a full-blown version of System Center Configuration Manager to patch and update systems, a full-blown version of System Center Operations Manager to monitor systems, and a full-blown version of Virtual Machine Manager to manage virtual guest sessions, System Center Essentials includes all of the major features in a single package.

The System Center Essentials 2010 console, shown in Figure 1.18, provides the main menu for all of the features and functions in Essentials 2010.

Figure 1.18

Figure 1.18 System Center Essentials console.

Business Solutions Addressed by System Center Essentials

For midsized organizations with limited personnel, the thought of setting up three or four management tools and then managing the management tools places the organization in the challenging situation of having management tools take more to manage than supporting the actual servers and systems themselves. Effectively, System Center Essentials helps organizations focus on managing the applications and not on managing the management tool.

System Center Essentials 2010 allows the administrator to complete business-critical tasks. One such task is tracking servers and system assets, as well as administering and managing systems. To shorten the time from deployment to simplified management, System Center Essentials has built-in wizards that help an administer set up and perform key tasks faster and easier. With a limited set of features, IT personnel can focus on key management factors, not become loaded down with a lot of large, enterprise-focused features not used by smaller businesses.

Major Features of System Center Essentials

System Center Essentials 2010 is an incredible tool that required Microsoft to make hard choices on what features to include that are valuable to administrators of small and midsized enterprises, but not overwhelm the administrators with too many features and functions that take away from the simplistic goals of the product. Some of the major features in the product are as follows:

  • Asset tracking—All organizations, large or small, need to know what assets the organization has as well as keep track of the assets. System Center Essentials inventories systems in the environment and tracks the inventory so that when systems are added or inventory is removed, the administrator is notified.
  • Patching and updating—Any organization hit with a virus or worm knows that patching and updating systems on a regular basis is critical. System Center Essentials provides an automatic mechanism to identify systems and keeps those systems patched and updated.
  • Software distribution—The ability to push out new software or even push out service packs or updates is a core component of SCE. Although patches and updates are typically small file updates, software distribution involves scheduling and managing larger updates, such as 80MB service pack updates or 300MB product upgrades. SCE has the ability to package up applications and automatically push them to managed systems in the environment.
  • Remote support—When a user has a problem with their system, the last thing an IT staff member needs to do is get up, track the user down, and provide face-to-face support when all the user does is sit and look over the IT personnel's shoulder. Instead, SCE provides remote-support capabilities so that the IT help desk or support individual merely launches a remote-control agent and takes control of the user's system to provide remote support and assistance.
  • Proactive monitoring and alerting—Essentials 2010 monitors servers and generates alerts and proactively resolves system problems based on actual user experience. The monitoring notifies the IT administrator when problems occur. The monitoring screen is shown in Figure 1.19.
    Figure 1.19

    Figure 1.19 Server monitoring in System Center Essentials.

  • Virtual host management—As organizations of all sizes are virtualizing their servers, SCE has the virtual host management capabilities of Virtual Machine Manager built in. This feature in SCE allows an administrator to manage and support virtual guest sessions right from the SCE console.
  • Physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversions—One of the most commonly used features in the full-blown System Center Virtual Machine Manager product is the P2V function. P2V converts a physical server in an environment to a virtual guest session.
  • Reporting—Lastly, SCE has critical reporting capabilities built in so that reports can be generated and printed on network assets, the patch and update status of systems, service-level agreement uptime reports, access and password violation tracking reports, and the like. These reports are necessary for an organization to understand the status of systems and security in the environment, and when required by auditors or regulators, to have the information immediately available to share with the proper authorities.

Background on System Center Essentials

System Center Essentials is a relative newcomer to the System Center family of products with the initial release coming out only in 2007. The product has not drastically changed since the 2007 release, other than the update and addition of more components into the product to have the current version of the product. System Center Essentials 2010 supports the capabilities of the 2007 edition plus the addition of virtualization management.

The whole premise of the product was to make a simplified set of tools an administrator could leverage to help them manage servers and client systems in the enterprise. The core components that provide system inventory, patching, updating, monitoring, and alerting are the core components in Essentials 2007 and are carried over to Essentials 2010.

The biggest improvements in the product have been the addition of new wizards and automated process controls that continue to simplify the use and administration of the product.

What to Expect in the System Center Essentials Chapter

In this book, a single chapter is dedicated to the System Center Essentials 2010 product. Chapter 19, "Using System Center Essentials for Midsized Organizations," covers everything from how to install and configure SCE to the use of SCE 2010 for patching, updating, distributing software, monitoring, alerting, and managing virtual systems.

System Center Essentials 2010 is an excellent tool for organizations with fewer than 500 users and 50 servers to get all of the key benefits found in the other Microsoft System Center products, but from a single server installation and console. Jump to Chapter 19 of this book for specific information and deployment and configuration guidance on how SCE can be best leveraged in your enterprise.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020