A: System Center Advisor (formally code-named Atlanta) is a cloud-based solution that helps monitor your servers and alert you to problems. It doesn't perform patching or resolution of problems but collects information from servers in your environment through its agent that's installed on each server that System Center Advisor monitors.System Center Advisor performs analyses on Windows OS, Active Directory, Hyper-V, and SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 in the first release.

This information is then sent to Microsoft's System Center Advisor cloud service via one or more System Center Advisor Gateway servers you select that have Internet connectivity on your network, as the screen shot below shows.

scadvisor1_0


You download a single setup program, which contains both the gateway and agent plus a certificate that uniquely identifies your organization.

OSs supported are Windows Server 2008 and later (including Hyper-V Server 2008 R2). The only requirement is for the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 feature to be installed on the server before the agent can be installed.

To deploy, first install the gateway (and optionally, the agent on a server to enable communication with the System Center Advisor cloud service), then deploy the agent to additional machines that should be monitored. Within 24 hours, the servers will be present in the System Center Advisor web portal.

Management is via the web portal. The interface uses Microsoft Silverlight, so your browser must support Silverlight.

Once deployed, System Center Advisor notifies you of issues and potential solutions, including where patches are missing as well as where best practices aren't  being used.  It also tracks the history of configuration changes on monitored servers. The overview screen shown below gives feedback about the general health of your environment.

scadvisoroverview_0

To see more FAQs, please go to John Savill's FAQs page on Windows IT Pro.