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.
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.
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 www.bladenetwork.net.