A beginners view on Service Manager

I believe that the fictional dialog below isn’t all wrong in how most IT-folks are introduced to System Center, correct me if I’m wrong (but please, remember that pinch of salt):

Newbie: -Wow! System center, that’s just awesome, what can it do?
Some other dude: -Well, first of all SCCM, you can deploy like thousands of computers with a flick of your hand.
N: Cool! That will come in handy! What’s more?
S: You have SCVMM that will let you do the same thing with virtual machines, and you can connect it to Azure to.
N. Even more awesome, that cloud thing sounds just too good to be true.
S: Well, it isn’t. Next up we have SCORCH/SCOR that will let you automate a bunch of stuff, from creating user accounts to pouring coffee.
N: That’s just great, it will leave me plenty of time to do something fun. Anything else?
S: Hmm, yes, we of course have SCOM, it will monitor everything in your environment for you. But, that’s like, hard and geeky stuff.
N: Doesn’t sound that fun tbh…
S: It could be, and it’s useful!
N: My servers are always running great! No worries at all!
S: Good for you! I think that was it, so please let me get on with my work.
N: Will do!

Two hours later

S: -Wait! You also have this ITIL-stuff, SCSM. But that’s just for Project Managers and like… Service desk.
N: -Ok, thanks. *boring*

So, with that little try on drama, let’s get back to reality. I’ve over the last years gotten pretty good on SCCM, SCVMM and Orchestrator (use whatever combination of letters you like). I have started to move into the complicated world of SCOM and things like Azure-pack and our (ATEA) own Service Market and other self-service portals are always present. But, when studying for the MCSE Private Cloud, you need to know at least a bit about SCSM. Apart from demanding plenty of hardware (or software defined at least) the console is like… It makes SCOM look great… But when you get other its skin, you realize that Microsoft actually have a pretty good product in SCSM. But complicated, and you NEED to do your homework before setting it up in real life.

The technical part is one thing, the ITIL-stuff another and the terminology is (at least to me) hard to get your head around at first. Ill not get stuck in all the pro:s and con:s about it, I just want to give my view on it and share a few links that actually have helped me understand how to use this product.

Great things:
Price – its “free” for larger companies.
Integration – It integrates very well with all the other System Center components. (You would never believe that, would you?)

Not so great things:
The demand for Sharepoint…
Demands lots of hardware
Quiet big learning threshold

I realize that I have no right at all to judge SCSM at this stage, I still know too little about it. But, I already see it as something you NEED to at least understand to be able to deliver a MS-private cloud. Of course there are other products and ways of handling IM, CM, Self-Service and other forms of case management. But I (as a consultant) gets lots of questions about it from customers starting to implement the other (perhaps more “fun”) parts of System Center. So, I will strive on with Service Offerings, Service Request Templates, Request Offerings and all other parts of the product, and you know… When you start to get your head around it, it’s actually not as bad or as complicated or as boring many people think.

To finish things, I would like to share just a few links that have helped me to understand SCSM a bit more:

http://scug.be/scsm/2012/01/14/service-requests-service-catalog-service-offerings-request-offerings-how-it-all-fit-together-in-scsm-2012/

http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/automation-and-self-service-with-system-center-2012-r2

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rslaten/archive/2014/03/07/using-the-service-manager-self-service-portal-for-common-tasks-in-configuration-manager-operations-manager-and-azure.aspx

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