Do You Want to Be an IT Super Hero?

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In fact, if you’re an IT administrator you’re probably a super hero already, whether or not you’re recognized as such by your business. IT admin is a much under-valued role – not only are you keeping your business running but you’re keeping customers happy, preventing accidental or malicious attacks and constantly striving to add value to your company. Balancing longer term strategy with short term interrupts needs a flexibility rarely required by any other department.

Trying to do that with the variety of tools and systems most organizations use adds yet another level of complexity. The good news is that most companies are relying on Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager (CM) to manage their Windows desktops, servers, mobile devices and other end points. With over 80,000 companies relying on CM to manage more than 150 million devices, CM is clearly a success.

Having said that, there are some areas where CM struggles. 1E reviewed these in their recent webinar: ConfigMgr relies on Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) to distribute contents which has very limited control over bandwidth usage; storage for content at remote sites is difficult to manage – either on Distribution Points or using the various caching options CM offers; the need for remote servers introduces complexity; and all of this leads to considerable administrative overhead.

1E’s solution for enhancing ConfigMgr is Nomad which addresses all of these challenges and more. Indeed the last few releases of Nomad have seen some significant innovation. I recommend taking a look at the webinar recording to see more but here are just a couple of highlights.

Caching

Along with Nomad’s unique “ReverseQoS” bandwidth management, peer-based caching is probably the most impactful change (or super power) IT can deploy. Being peer-based means that the complex remote server infrastructure usually needed for CM can be removed completely. It also means end-users get the highest performance access to new content whether that’s an OS version or a critical security update. Compared to the complex BranchCache™ and Peer Cache, Nomad offers a simple to manage and comprehensive solution for content caching – you could call this power “super speed” and enables IT to deploy any content, any time, any where without fear of interfering with critical business network traffic. That’s why 1E describes this power as “Fearless Deployment.”

Security

In the context of configuration management, security could have multiple meanings such as controlling access to ConfigMgr and its authentication and authorization methods or deploying security updates quickly. While both of those are covered by Nomad, a unique capability it offers is to both encrypt and digitally sign the content being distributed. With this combination you can be sure your systems are “super strong” – no one can see what’s being distributed and bad content can’t be inserted into the distribution as the client can ensure content has come from a trusted source. All of this can be achieved without introducing further complexity that might be needed when deploying a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) environment.

There were other super powers discussed including monitoring and managing Nomad client health, CM dashboard and, interestingly, the first and only support for distributing Office365 content by an alternative content provider. I recommend you take a look at the webinar to see how you can start building your own super hero origin story.

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