Not a Review: SCSM 2010

At heart I am a hands-on geek. When I learned that Microsoft finally released its Service Center Service Manager 2010, I was excited to try it. I logged into my partner account and signed up for the 90-day trial.

Then reality set in. As is so frequent with Microsoft’s business applications, initial enthusiasm gave way to confusion, then to despair. Let’s look at the requirements. Microsoft defines the minimum server roles:

Server 1: Service Manager management server + Service Manager database + Service Manager console

Server 2: Service Manager data warehouse server + Service Manager data warehouse databases

Nominally there is a SQL Server 2008 instance running on each server, but kindly Microsoft allows us to use a single instance:

Server 1: Service Manager management server + Service Manager database + Service Manager console

Server 2: Service Manager data warehouse server

The point is that SCSM doesn’t allow the data warehouse server to run together with the management server. Now let’s look at the hardware requirements:

Service Manager database Dual Quad-Core 2.66 GHz CPU
8 GB of RAM
80 GB of available disk space
RAID Level 1 or Level 10 drive*
Service Manager management server Dual Quad-Core 2.66 GHz CPU
8 GB of RAM
10 GB of available disk space
Service Manager console Dual-Core 2.0 GHz CPU
2 GB of RAM
10 GB of available disk space
Data warehouse management server Dual-Core 2.66 GHz CPU
8 GB of RAM
10 GB of available disk space
Data warehouse databases Dual Quad-core 2.66 GHz CPU
8 GB of RAM
400 GB of available disk space
Self-Service Portal Dual-core 2.66 GHz CPU
8 GB of RAM
10 GB of available disk space

These hardware requirements a far higher than many competitive products, but still modest for an enterprise. On top of that you also need a domain controller. For all this you achieve capabilities that are even more modest:

  • Up to 20,000 users with up to 40 – 50 IT analysts providing concurrent support.
  • Up to 20,000 supported computers, assuming up to 10 to 12 configuration items (installed software, software updates, and hardware components) per computer.
  • 5,000 incidents per week with 3 months of retention for a total of 60,000 incidents in the Service Manager database for the 20,000 computer configuration, and 2.5 times that for the 50,000 computer configuration
  • 1,000 change requests a week with 3 months of retention for a total 12,000 change requests in the Service Manager database for the 20,000 computer configuration, and 2.5 times that for 50,000 computer configuration

What perplexes me the most, in this day and age of Web 2.0, is Microsoft’s decision to use a “fat client” aka the Service Manager console.

To be fair, Microsoft is probably making serious attempts to use their product in-house (a strategy Microsoft calls “eating your own dog food”). In fact they made a video of one of these attempts. What I saw in the video was a CMDB with a little bit of ticketing and assignment routing strapped on the front end, and some customizations required for notifications. It was an honest video, but not impressive and certainly not an inspirational endorsement of a weak first release of the product.

At the very least I can say that SCSM 2010 is a solid attempt to sell other Microsoft products (Windows Server, SQL Server). Microsoft will probably get SCSM right sooner or later. They can always be counted on that, but only after they have exhausted all other possibilities.