Thought i’d throw together an overview of SP3. It’s what i’ve found since playing with it, and certainly isn’t meant to detail every aspect of the Service Pack or go in to detail on how to use the new reports that comprise Asset Intelligence.

I hear that Wally Mead is lining up to make a blogcast covering SP3 (I think Rod Trent at MyITForum mentioned it), cannot wait as his blogcasts are always high quality and very detailed, i’m sure he’ll dig right in to Asset Intelligence. I’ll blog about his blogcast once it’s released.

If you haven’t looked, here is the SMS2003 SP3 Evaluation page on the Microsoft Website:

What's new?

Asset Intelligence (another unique selling point oh yeah!)
Windows Vista support
64-bit processor support
Support for (Inventory) files larger than 2GB (erm don’t panic!)
28 Hotfixes applied

What's changed?

Full Windows Vista and 64–bit platform support, and Asset Intelligence, aside from that not much else short of the line up of hotfixes.

Impact?

Need to deploy a new SMS Client to the client estate, and larger Inventory data will be returned from clients due to Asset Intelligence, resulting in a larger Database.

Versioning

SMS2003 SP3 Version: 2.5 Build Number 4253

SMS2003 SP2 Version: 2.50 Build Number 4160.2000

Evaluation

SMS2003 SP2 was 80MB, SMS2003 SP3 is 147MB so will take a little longer to distribute over slow WAN links\circuits to Site servers.

Remember to start at the top of the hierarchy and upgrade downwards.

The installation process is a typical straight forward affair, with the usual wizard choice – "Upgrade an existing SMS installation"

Backup and test the DB before beginning the upgrade process.

I cannot repeat this enough, BACKUP your SMS Site Server. Check the backup log and MAKE SURE there are no issues. Get a copy of the backup and place it on a network share or anywhere else that is off-system. Always make sure you have a good backup and that the logs are clean before you commence any critical work. I wrote a good batch script that lets you keep several "generations" of backups so you can roll back beyond more than one backup without having to resort to TAPE\DLT loading to get access to the backups. Get it here, read the batch file for how to configure.

Take a copy of the your targetted production site servers DB, and put it on a SQL instance in your test lab that is running the same version\service pack and collation as the production site servers SQL server.

If you have Database Replication switched on in the lab, then turn it off. You’ll also need to do this in the production environment then switch it back on when upgraded (refer to KB Article http://support.microsoft.com/?id=835860).

Test your Site Database for issues that you may encounter during the production upgrade. If you have any issues you need to resolve these.

  • First backup your SMS Site
  • Take the <DriveLetter>:\smsbackup\<SITECODE>\sitedbserver\SMSbkSQLDBSite.DAT file and place it on your test lab SQL server
  • Create a new database on the lab server, and call it SMS_TEST or use the original name(SMS_<SITECODE>) and point at the copy you made of the DAT file on the lab server
  • Now run SETUP.EXE with the TestDBUpgrade flag and provide the name of the SQL Instance. Check the SMSSETUP.LOG for "SMS Setup completed successfully"

Once you’ve confirmed that your Site DB is ok, you can commence with the upgrade on the production server. Be aware that even though it is a laborious affair, it is always best to perform the TestDBUpgrade on all Primary Site servers DB just in case one is “different” from the rest. Don’t assume that the single database you tested reflects the state of all other Primary Site servers. If the DB upgrade failed then you need to research this, and resolve before commencing.

During the production upgrade, you’ll notice that the Installation wizard prompts with a new dialog for the Asset Intelligence options:

There are 3 options to choose from, all pretty self explanatory:

  1. Do not install
  2. Install only Data collection
  3. Install Data collection and Reports

Other option on this wizard page is to change the Source Folder for the Knowledge Base tables that are used to build the Asset Intelligence library. This is defaulted to a folder within the SP3 installation kit.

Hey ho, off you go click Finish and SETUP will begin the upgrade process. Go get a coffee.

Next thing is to deploy the SP3 SMS Advanced Client, which I won’t cover here as it’s a standard package deployment to all existing SMS Clients.

Noticed that the clients now have an additional log called assetadvisor.log.

The new WMI Classes have been documented by Christopher Stauffer, and hopefully he won’t mind if I link but also reproduce here (kudos Chris :-):

  • SMS_InstalledSoftware – This class tracks information about installed software.
  • SMS_InstalledSoftwareMS – This class tracks information specifically about installed Microsoft software.
  • SMS_SystemConsoleUsage – This class polls the System Security Event Log for information about all console usage.
  • SMS_SystemConsoleUser - This class polls the System Security Event Log for information about specific console users.
  • SMS_AutoStartSoftware - This class tracks information about software that starts automatically with the operating system.
  • SMS_BrowserHelperObject - This class tracks browser helper objects. While some browser helper objects are beneficial, most software considered "malware" is in the form of browser helper objects.
  • Win32_USBDevice - This class tracks devices connected to USB ports.
  • SMS_Processor - This is an existing SMS class to which new properties have been added to provide more complete data about processors.
  • SMS_InstalledExecutable - This class is not currently used to support existing Asset Intelligence reports. However, it can be enabled to support custom reports.
  • SMS_SoftwareShortcut - This class is not currently used to support existing Asset Intelligence reports. However, it can be enabled to support custom reports.
  • SoftwareLicensingService - This class is specific to Windows Vista. For more information, see the Microsoft TechNet article Windows Vista Volume Activation 2.0 Technical Attributes
  • SoftwareLicensingProduct - This class is specific to Windows Vista. For more information, see the Microsoft TechNet article Windows Vista Volume Activation 2.0 Technical Attributes

The new Asset Intelligence reports are:

  • Hardware 1A - Summary of Computers in a Specific Collection
  • Hardware 2A - Estimated Computer Age by Ranges within a Collection
  • Hardware 2B - Computers within an age range within a Collection
  • Hardware 3A - Primary Computer Users
  • Hardware 3B - Computers for a Specific Primary Console User
  • Hardware 4A - Shared (multi-user) Computers
  • Hardware 5A - Console Users on a Specific Computer
  • Hardware 6A - Computers for which Console Users Could not be Determined
  • Hardware 7A - USB Devices by Manufacturer
  • Hardware 7B - USB Devices by Manufacturer and Description
  • Hardware 7C - Computers with a Specific USB Device
  • Hardware 7D - USB Devices on a Specific Computer
  • Hardware 8A - Hardware that is Not Ready for a Software Upgrade
  • Hardware 9A - Search for Computers
  • License 1A - Microsoft License Ledger for Microsoft License Statements
  • License 1B - Microsoft License Ledger Item by Sales Channel
  • License 1C - Computers with a Specific Microsoft License Ledger Item and Sales Channel
  • License 1D - Microsoft License Ledger Products on a Specific Computer
  • License 2A - Count of Licenses Nearing Expiration by Time Ranges
  • License 2B - Computers with Licenses Nearing Expiration
  • License 2C - License Information on a Specific Computer
  • License 3A - Count of Licenses by License Status
  • License 3B - Computers with a Specific License Status
  • License 4A - Count of Products Managed by Software Licensing
  • License 4B - Computers with a Specific Product Managed by Software Licensing Service
  • License 5A - Computers Acting as a Key Management Service
  • Software 1A - Summary of Installed Software in a Specific Collection
  • Software 2A - Software Families
  • Software 2B - Software Categories with a Family
  • Software 2C - Software by Category and Family
  • Software 2D - Computers with a Specific Software Product
  • Software 2E - Installed Software on a Specific Computer
  • Software 3A - Uncategorized Software
  • Software 4A - Auto-Start Software
  • Software 4B - Computers with a Specific Auto-Start Software
  • Software 4C - Auto-Start Software on a Specific Computer
  • Software 5A - Browser Helper Objects
  • Software 5B - Computers with a Specific Browser Helper Object
  • Software 5C - Browser Helper Objects on a Specific Computer
  • Software 6A - Search for Installed Software

Also, check out Resource Explorer, pointed at one of the upgraded SMS Clients, it now shows the following new categories:

  • Autostart Software
  • System Console Usage
  • System Console User
  • Add/Remove Programs (x64)

With regards to Vista, when you buid Queries and want to identify the Vista platforms, check the OperatingSystemNameandVersion attribute for "Workstation 6.0"

That’s about it. This should give you an idea of what is what, and lead you on to testing SP3 in the lab environment.

Note that over the coming days a LOT of information will surface about SP3 so keep Googling for it!