20 Years Of SMS/Configuration Manager

On the 7th of November 1994, a little product called Systems Management Server (SMS) 1.0 was released. Since that date, there have been four major revisions (SMS 2.0, SMS 2003, ConfigMgr 2007 and ConfigMgr 2012), three Service Packs (ConfigMgr 2007 SP1 & SP2, ConfigMgr 2012 SP1), three Rx releases (ConfigMgr 2007 R2 & R3, ConfigMgr 2012 R2) and countless Release Candidates/Betas, Cumulative Updates (CU’s) and Hotfixes!

I thought it would be really cool to check out the Wayback Machine for the TechNet page for the day that SMS 1.0 was released, but back then TechNet.com wasn’t even around! (how did we ever find our supportability numbers!)

The first mention of SMS on the Wayback Machine TechNet is in mid 2000 and talked about deploying SMS 2.0, administering Inventory and Software Metering, as well as the standard Server Sizing advice we all so heavily rely on. (in their Contoso sizing example, the Central Site with 14k clients required a server with a whopping 300-MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM!)

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http://web.archive.org/web/20000817202621/http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sms/ 

(I love that the comments and suggestions hyper-link is a mailto:technet@microsoft.com)

I was fortunate enough to not have really dealt with SMS, starting my Systems Management journey with Configuration Manager 2007 but some of my colleagues remember those days well.


Sebastian Baboolal, Senior PFE at Microsoft

I started with SMS 2.0. SP5 back around 2004.

I was working for Microsoft support back then. We had one week of training and we were put on the phones.Classic trial by fire. My first call was a critsit for a customer. They had a large environment at the time > 100K clients being managed. They had a top-level SMS site. Then sites under that with lots of other primary sites under those. One of the 2nd tier primaries went belly up. Had to do a DR on that site. We didn’t cover DR at all in the training (just my luck). Back then you had to go thru like 20 pages of stuff to get the site back up. I was on that call for 14 hrs. Did not leave my desk. We got it fixed but then I was thinking what in the world did I get myself into. Smile
Glad we’ve moved on from CAPs and smsclitoken accounts but did like die_evil_bug_die and dial_me_in_baby


George Smpyrakis, Senior PFE at Microsoft

I started with SMS 1.2 back in 1997. I had just started in IT straight out of Uni and helped setup these Site Servers that seemed to take an entire day to complete. I took these boxes out to a couple of remote sites and got them up and running then started the long and arduous procedure of attempting to install the client on the workstations. At the time we used it as a  Remote control tool for the workstations and In the end it only lasted a couple of months before we removed it and that was a monumental effort in itself as the client seemed to never go away. A few years later a lovely virus called Nimda came along and brought the company I was working for to a halt. We literally had to go around the State of Victoria with floppy disks (Look it up for those under 30.) to patch each workstation so we could bring Internet access back. That’s when my Manager came up to me and said I want you to run with SMS so we never have to do that again. So I then Implemented and starting using SMS 2.0 and have never looked back…


Anthony Watherston, PFE at Microsoft

I started with SCCM 2007 implementing it because I had nothing better to do and looking to expand my horizons – some of my favourite memories.

  • Reading through log files in Notepad until my eyes hurt – then discovering trace32
  • The satisfaction of being able to remotely rebuild machines – we used to have people ship the box to us so it could be rebuilt
  • Finally patching an enterprise – then fighting with people because they wouldn’t reboot their machines when patches were installed
  • Releasing a hotfix to 180 secondary servers then watching as all the high impact tickets rolled in because all the site systems were reinstalling.
  • Learning patience when installing new sites – sometimes things just take time to appear in the console
  • Working all day on an issue – then doing a site reset and fixing it instantly

Through all this though it is one of the most complex systems management products and only limited by your imagination as to what you can do!


Russell Stevens, Senior PFE at Microsoft

I started with SMS (slow moving software) version 2.0 RTM in a distributed environment at a UK government department that may have had something to with mail in 2000…

Highlights include:

  • SMSServer and SMSClient connection accounts for hundreds of Primary and Secondary sites.
  • Software Metering ‘mark one’
  • Switching from NT 4.0 domains to Active Directory domains (see point one).
  • Restoring SMS 2.0 without a wizard, hours and hours and then monitoring for weeks and weeks.
  • Preinst.exe became a useful companion from 2.0 -> 2003 -> 2007 –> 2012
  • Seeing the feature packs become part of the Configuration Manager OSD\BDD, Software Updates (remember ITMU……..)
  • Gigantic DDR backlogs.

It has been a great ride with some ups and downs, and has delivered some outstanding results over the 20 years, loved it.


So here’s to ConfigMgr! May our next 20 years be full of smooth CU upgrades, clear of inbox backlogs and void of all accidental deployments!

Matt Shadbolt