Beta Testers Have Release Candidate of SMS SP2

NEW ORLEANS -- Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Systems Management Server 2.0 should be available next week or the week after, a Microsoft Corp. official says.

Brady Richardson, program manager in the Windows Management Group at Microsoft (, told customers at the Windows 2000 Deployment Conference here last month that a release candidate of the service pack had recently gone out to beta customers.

"We were previously targeting for April," Richardson said of the SMS SP2 release. A first release candidate had previously gone out and come back to Microsoft for some more work. "We think we’re very close," he said.

Much of the service pack is aimed at improving the stability of SMS.

"We’re admitting that we obviously had stability problems," Richardson said in response to a question about the current release of SMS with SP1.

SMS SP2 is one of several components Microsoft must deliver before it can ship BackOffice 2000, which the company says will be coming this year.

Although Microsoft is already presenting BackOffice 2000 as heavily tied to Windows 2000's directory service Active Directory, the upcoming service pack will not be the code that brings SMS into lockstep with the Active Directory.

"As of SP2, we are only supporting Active Directory using NT 4.0’s APIs," Richardson says.

In fact, Microsoft will keep SMS independent of Active Directory for some time because it wants customers to use SMS to move to Windows 2000. "SMS is the primary tool we have for deploying Active Directory and migrating to Windows 2000," he says.

Also at the deployment conference, Microsoft handed out free copies of Microsoft Project 2000 to encourage users to use the project management software in planning for Windows 2000 upgrades.

There are some technical roadblocks that must be overcome before SMS can be completely integrated with Windows 2000 and the Active Directory. For one thing, SMS depends on NetBIOS for some name resolution, and the current version has restrictions in the user interface that prevent users from typing in long domain names.

That work will be done, and SMS will have a future as a management tool in Windows 2000 despite the management improvements added to Windows 2000, Richardson says. "You still do need SMS and Intellimirror," he says.