My Opinion of Some Popular SMS Manuals
August 13, 2001
If you are an SMS administrator (why else would you be reading this?), there is no doubt that you have a few books lying around that you reach for from time to time. My questions is, when you reach for them, do they provide the answer?
I have read about 5 SMS 2.0 manuals over the past couple of years. Here's my spin on them and my advice on which are the best.
Systems Management Server 2.0 Training (Microsoft Press):
This is one that you should read if you are just starting up, and then put it away forever. Although it provides a nice introduction to the product, it will not help you when you are in a pinch at 10:00 at night and you have people breathing down your neck. It comes with a basic training CD and your typical 120 day software as well.
Systems Management Server 2 24/7 (Network Press):
This is another introductory book. The one difference is that this one gives you some real case scenarios and walks you through how they were resolved. Although this might some day come in handy, I don't know that this introductory book is the platform to give these examples. I also think that by the time you would be able to use any of these examples, you will be so far removed from the book that it would take you hours to find out where had originally seen them.
Systems Management Server 2.0 Administrator's Companion (Microsoft Press):
Great book. This book is for the low-level engineer looking to move ahead in their role. It does not waste time on pointless aspects of the product and has regularly provided me with real-time answers when I needed them the most. I would advise this to anyone who is going to be getting into the role of SMS administrator.
Systems Management Server 2.0 Resource Guide:
Another must have. This book gets into the high-level technical detail that you will need if you want to become a strong administrator. It explains how to troubleshoot, read logs, use utilities, etc. Be prepared to put some real time into getting through this book, though. It is quite detailed and quite lengthy.
So, if I were to make recommendations, I'd say that the combo of the Administrator's Companion and the Resource Guide will keep you in the best standing knowledge-wise with the SMS product line.
Please tell me if you have any other books that might prove useful to someone in my role. Tell me what you like or dislike and whether or not you'd recommend your book to others.