How We Tested: SCCM 2007 Beta 2

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2007-04-23 Print this article Print

Blade Network Technologies lends real-world testing rigors to eWEEK Labs' tests of Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager 2007.

Microsofts System Center Configuration Manager 2007 is a server-based product that helps IT managers set up server, desktop and laptop systems. eWEEK Labs tested Beta 2 of the product at our facilities in San Francisco and at Blade Network Technologies, where we had access to dozens of systems with which we could put SCCM 2007 through its paces.

In fact, at BNT, in Santa Clara, Calif., we had access to a much larger number of servers than we could ever fit into our own lab. BNT also provided us with the client systems needed to run Windows Vista deployment tests with smooth efficiency.

Our tests were conducted using eWEEK Labs-supplied software and eWEEK Labs staff; no BNT personnel were involved in the installation or testing of SCCM 2007.

Click here to read eWEEK Labs review of SCCM 2007 Beta 2. We installed SCCM 2007 Beta 2 on an IBM BladeCenter chassis with four HS20 server blades. Each blade was equipped with an Intel Xeon CPU running at 2GHz and equipped with 1GB of RAM.

Systems Management During our initial tests, we installed all the SCCM 2007 components, including Microsoft SQL Server 2005, on a single server blade. We moved components such as SCCM Management Points and Distribution Points onto other blades as our testing progressed.

The client systems we used at BNT were all from Dell. We used eight OptiPlex GX620 systems, each of which was armed an Intel Pentium 4 processor operating at 2GHz and equipped with 512MB of RAM. We also used 12 OptiPlex SX260 systems with the same processor and system RAM as the GX620s.

None of these systems had a graphics card that could fully support Vistas Aero Glass interface, but they were otherwise able to run Vista and served well as endpoints in our deployment tests. In our own lab, we used SCCM 2007 Beta 2 to deploy Vista to several more well-equipped systems, including an HP Compaq dc7700p with an Intel Core 2 CPU running at 2GHz with 1 MB of RAM using the Intel Q965 chipset. The HP Compaq system scored 3.6 out of a possible 5.9 on the Windows Experience Index; the Dell systems scored a 1.0.

We found the BNT lab well set up for conducting performance tests. In addition to having plenty of Ixia and Spirent Communications traffic-generation gear, BNT has invested in a top-notch lab environment with plenty of bench space and the right physical infrastructure to support rigorous equipment tests.

For more information about BNT, go to

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Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant is the executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Prior to ENP, Cameron was technical analyst at PCWeek Labs, starting in 1997. Cameron finished up as the eWEEK Labs Technical Director in 2012. Before his extensive labs tenure Cameron paid his IT dues working in technical support and sales engineering at a software publishing firm . Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his analysis is grounded in real-world concern. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at

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