O R G A N I C / F E R T I L I Z E R: sms: dcm - alpha tech solutions

Jul 30, 2006

sms: dcm - alpha tech solutions

a few folks have posted comments regarding training on dcm that's available from alpha tech solutions. i wasn't sure how seriously to take it since i'd never heard of it before ... but after talking to one of the dcm dev folks, i decided to look into it a little bit. i emailed their sales person and asked for an eval so that i could go through the training set and review it. to my surprise, they were more than willing. :) training is broken down into two parts. the first part covers the following:
  1. introduction
  2. installing the dcm authoring tool
  3. creating and customizing manifests
  4. customizing scenarios (part 1)
    • check service state
    • check file version
    • verify automatic updates
    • verify smtp default domain
    • verify minimum password length
the second section covers the following:
  1. customizing scenarios (part 2)
    • verify if a hotfix is installed
    • verify if a service exists
    • check file existence
    • number range
    • firewall status
  2. deployment and execution
  3. reporting
by the time you've gone through the training, if you follow along, you'll have built a decent manifest by which you should be able to go back and edit it for your own use. it's not necessary though since the manifest is available with the training material. there are a quite a few examples of advanced rule building that you will want to pay attention to such as the number range which can determine if a machine's memory is within a tolerable range to meet compliance. there are some assumptions about the level of knowledge the viewer should have. having sms knowledge is helpful since they don't cover any of the how-to parts on deploying packages, creating collections, etc, etc, etc. also, having some knowledge about wmi will be very helpful since most of the scenarios happen to use wmi. i haven't gone through the dcm documentation (the one released by microsoft) to any reasonable extent so i'm not sure how much overlap there is. however, i can say that it is much easier to watch the examples given in the demonstrations than read it on paper (or screen). there are some scenarios that i wished had been covered in greater detail such as the formulaic parts of an xpath expression and detail about the various query functions. none the less, it's more than you're going to find out there. by the way, the whole thing is done in flash so you can navigate around the topics, fast forward through scenarios to get to the part you want, reverse, stop, etc. if your organization is looking at using dcm for configuration monitoring, you may want to consider looking at this available training guide. much cheaper than sending someone to class since it runs a buck shy of $200. it's about two hours long so it can be consumed in the space of a couple of lunches. :) they seem to believe in this stuff. i say that because they've got a product called rulegen that apparently will build a manifest from a golden machine. kind of neat. check them out...