Tuesday , 19 June 2018
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IDG Contributor Network: What Configuration Manager’s 25th birthday party tells us about the future of IT

Configuration Manager is the unsung hero of corporate IT no more.

Indeed, as if to make up for lost time, Microsoft has been marking the 25th anniversary of one of its least-celebrated, yet most-ubiquitous, products with significant fanfare – including, believe it or not, a 30-minute documentary film charting the full story of CM. (And it’s actually really good –  you can watch it here.) Microsoft has also been inviting users to share their CM recollections, too, good and bad.

It’s hard to resist the invitation to reminisce, especially when my own history with Systems Management Server (SMS, as it was once known) stretches all the way back to the beta of version 1.0, which I was helping to implement at a chain of UK banks in the 90’s.

The project was very successful, though it’s fair to say that SMS needed a lot of TLC in those early days, and I got to know some Microsoft support folks pretty well during the project. Working late one night on a server upgrade, a colleague glanced at his monitor, clapped a hand to his skull, and literally ran out the office. I went over to look at the SMS console – and saw a small, animated wrecking-ball gif methodically smashing through the SMS hierarchy, each of the listed offices, one by one. My colleague had made a serious mistake.

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