Friday, March 26, 2010

Microsoft Product Names

  • Windows

  • Office

  • System Center

  • Forefront
Many in the IT community are confused by the way Microsoft names their products, especially some of the latest releases coming out of Redmond. Most of us know that there are different flavors of Windows in server and desktop products, but that is where the general understanding stops. This won’t be your complete guide to every product name, but just a note to show how the average IT person can be confused.

Microsoft Office

  • Microsoft Office, you know, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

  • Microsoft Office Communications Server

  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server
Everyone knows what Microsoft Office is, right? What many people don’t realize is that the Microsoft Office brand is applied to SharePoint server as well. While I personally understand this branding since Microsoft wants to make SharePoint an integrated part of Microsoft Office day to day activities. I don’t really understand why the Office name is applied to Office Communications Server. Still, the Microsoft Office branding isn’t all that confusing.

Microsoft Forefront

  • Forefront Identity Lifecycle Manager

  • Forefront Security for Exchange

  • Forefront Client Security

  • Forefront Threat Management Gateway
Under the forefront name are several wildly different products, while they are all loosely related to some sort of information security function, the products are used for different things entirely. Identify Lifecycle Manager (ILM), formerly known as Microsoft Identity Integration Server (MIIS) (formerly Microsoft Metadirectory Services, MMS, but most people don’t remember that) is basically a directory management and synchronization system, while Forefront Client Security is the antivirus software you’d install on the desktop. An area of confusion for my customers of late has been between Forefront Security for Exchange and Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG, formerly Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server, ISA), since any good Exchange system should have both. Security for Exchange is your e-mail antivirus/antimalware/antispam solution, TMG is what allows for secure access to the internal messaging system from the internet.

System Center

  • System Center Configuration Manager

  • System Center Operations Manager

  • System Center Data Protection Manager

  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
System Center is a little more closely tied together than Forefront, but it is not without its confusion, especially between Configuration Manager (SCCM) and Operations Manager (SCOM), while Data Protection Manger (DPM), Microsoft backup software solution, and Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) are not as often confused since they are new product spaces for Microsoft. SCCM is what replaces the old Microsoft Systems Management Server, SMS while SCOM, replaces Microsoft Operations Manager, MOM. The wording of these product names and their previous names are where most of the confusion is caused. If you think about it, maintaining system configuration is an operations responsibility in most IT shops, and managing systems also means monitoring their performance and health. More than one of my customers has assumed that since they bought “System Center” licenses, they have software that gives them the functionality of both SCCM & SCOM, and I have to explain why they don’t.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Microsoft Technet Forums Recognition System

I just figured out what the little medals next to your avatar on Microsoft’s Technet forums, it is a recognition system to let others know how helpful you are on the forum. Well apparently, I’m not very helpful. As forums go, I probably post most messages on, an amateur radio forum, but coming in a close second would be the Technet forums, but I only have one medal, and all you have to do to get that is to reply to one question. To get to two medals, I need 750 points, and so far I’m only up to 213. For five medals, you need 15,001 points or more, wow. A reply to a question is worth two points, having your reply marked as an answer is worth 10, and having your post marked as helpful counts as 5 points. My guess is that you’d have to have the answer to a good 750 to 1000 questions to end up with 5 medals. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and one of these days, I might get up to two, but I’m not very worried about it. The main point of this blog post was just to post something because I hadn’t posted something in a while and my blog was brought up in an interview today.