SMS/ConfigMgr is now 25 years old!
To me that’s crazy. I was there at very beginning. I worked for Deloitte at the time and trying to manage our fleet of laptops and desktops was difficult with the limited number of IT staff we had. In fact, it was so early in the IT industry, the terms IT or IT Pro didn’t even exist yet. Most companies considered technology support people as glorified secretaries. You think that’s funny? To prove how serious I am about his, we were all gifted with flowers or candy on secretary day each year. I hung my head in shame and took my gifts home to my wife. It wasn’t a great time to be in IT, but System Management Server (SMS) really saved our bacon. I deployed SMS over a couple days to over 700 PCs and then trained our staff. Prior to SMS we would have to get up from our desks and walk (sometimes several floors) to the PC location to fix problems. Using SMS we could manage several PCs at once and do it remotely. That was a huge time saver for us and it also meant that the person we were supporting didn’t have as much downtime. For a tax and audit company, that’s huge. It worked so well for us in Cincinnati, that SMS was deployed through the entire Deloitte firm. Microsoft loved us as we were one of the very first company’s to fully deploy SMS.
SMS was the lightbulb product for me that tuned me into the glories of automation and being able to manage everything. And, after that, that’s where I spent the majority of my career. I became so proficient in SMS I went from being an SMS administrator in Cincinnati to one of the global SMS administrators working on the different SMS sites across the entire firm. I went from managing 700 PCs to managing almost 70,000. And, that was the early days when most said that SMS sucked and jokingly called it Slow Moving Software.
I eventually moved on from Deloitte and branched out on my own, evangelizing systems management and developing a little community you may have heard about: myITforum. myITforum has been a godsend for many in IT over the years, not only providing SMS and ConfigMgr support, but was also the spark that saw the creation of conferences like the now defunct Microsoft Management Summit. When SMS released it was poorly supported by Microsoft so myITforum quickly became the goto support mechanism for the product. There are many that have stated over the years that if myITforum hadn’t been birthed, Configuration Manager would not exist today and Microsoft would not have its piles of cash nor would be the leader that it is in the management space. I’ve been regularly asked if Microsoft has ever compensated myITforum for its leadership, support, and evangelization in those early days. And, in that respect, if that is indeed true on even a small level, how many jobs did myITforum create in the process? Think about it. At some organizations today there are ENTIRE teams that do nothing except use ConfigMgr. And, how many vendors and add-on products have been birthed because SMS crawled out of the primordial ooze? SMS created an entire third-party industry sector all its own.
Yes, SMS started it all. And, as I look back its been a really great run. There’s a LOT more to the Rod Trent and myITforum story that would fill pages and pages that I don’t have time to write right now, but if you are attending IT/Dev Connections 2017 this year I’ll be happy to sit down over coffee and fill you in. We won’t be at Ignite. Just like the early days, we have determined that its time to fix conferences again and create something community-based and extraordinary – hence, IT/Dev Connections.
At Ignite this week and online, Brad Anderson and team are asking for customer stories about their experiences (trials and tribulations) with System Center Configuration Manager and Systems Management Server (SMS). According to Brad’s blog post about it, you can either submit your story (text or video) online HERE, or visit the mini-studio the team will have set up at Ignite next to the Microsoft booth in the massive expo. Oh…and feel free to insert your favorite “hey, you killed MMS – the greatest conference ever” dig. 😉
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Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in San Francisco in 2017!