I know, I know – what’s a database guy doing reading a book on System Center? Well, I need it from time to time. System Center is actually a collection of about 7 different products that you can use to manage and monitor your software and hardware, from drive space through Microsoft Office, UNIX systems, and yes, SQL Server. It’s that last part I care about the most, and so I’ve dealt with Data Protection Manager and System Center Operations Manager (I call it SCOM) in SQL Server. But I wasn’t familiar with the rest of the suite nor was I as familiar as I needed to be with the “Essentials” release – a separate product that groups together the main features of System Center into a single offering for smaller organizations. These companies usually run with a smaller IT shop, so they sometimes opt for this product to help them monitor everything, including SQL Server.
So I picked up “Microsoft System Center Enterprise Suite Unleashed” by Chris Amaris and a cast of others. I don’t normally like to get a technical book by multiple authors – I just find that most of the time it’s quite jarring to switch from author to author, but I think this group did pretty well here. The first chapter on introducing System Center has helped me talk with others about what the product does, and which pieces fit well together with SQL Server.
The writing is well done, and I didn’t find a jump from author to author as I went along. The information is sequential, meaning that they lead you from install to configuration and then use. It’s very much a concepts-and-how-to book, and a big one at that – over 950 pages of learning! It was a pretty quick read, though, since I skipped the installation parts and there are lots of screenshots. While I’m not sure you’d be an expert on the product when you finish reading this book, but I would say you’re more than halfway there. I would say it suits someone that learns through examples the best, since they have a lot of step-by-step examples
I do recommend that you take a look if you have to interact with this product, or even if you are a smaller shop and you’re the primary IT resource. The last few chapters deal with System Center Essentials, and honestly it was the best part of the book for me.