Administrating hundreds of windows systems ( when I am used to hundreds of Redhat Systems instead )

I am used to using linux and it's cool tools to admin hundreds of  linux systems.  

Now I have hundreds of windows 2k3 and 2k8 systems that appear to have been "minimally" maintained.

Yes we have a snmp monitoring system but it does not do the full job, it misses issues like "Duplicate IP address" being shown on the screen or perhaps a "missing in action domain controller" .

what tool / tool can I get for free / cheap to admin these systems ?  I would like to remotely check out the event logs and perhaps run some heath-check commands ( perhaps a drive is full ? ).

Or team just happens to be savy with ruby/rails


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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
System Center Operations Manager would be your best bet... Not inexpensive.  Otherwise, remember, in technology, you have FAST, CHEAP, GOOD.  Pick 2.  The included tools with Windows can usually connect to remote systems to review logs, check status of various things... but then you're manually doing a lot of that.  Scripting is POWERFUL.  But Ruby/Rails is not widely used with Windows so it's fine that you know it but it probably won't help much.  You should learn PowerShell - scripting things with that can help tremendously.  You can also script with batch commands (think Shell scripts) and VBS scripts.  Ruby, Perl, and others MAY be helpful to some extent, but I couldn't begin to assist with those.  You can look into tools like SpiceWorks (free with generally acceptable advertising) as well as other tools with Windows clients (like Nagios - at my last big company years ago, we had one person who spent 6+ months setting up and configuring... once he was done, it was ok, but it wasn't friendly (though this was nearly a decade ago so HOPEFULLY it's gotten better.
TIMFOX123Author Commented:
Lee, thanks a bunch.  I will need to contact our M$ rep to see how much that will cost

Any comments on:

If I understand I can access 5 boxes at a time for 99$ a year.   This would let me access 4 boxes at a time and have one license  dedicated to heathchecking all night long.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Sorry, I'm not sure I see the point in using that.  

PowerShell has remote access abilities built in.  I would ASSUME you have a Windows Domain setup for management in which case, many things can be controlled via Group Policy.  Would probably help if we knew generally what your company does and why it has hundreds of servers (don't need a specific product or name - but are you a web host?  Manufacturer?  something else?)
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Nagendra Pratap SinghDesktop Applications SpecialistCommented:
You want to monitor or administer?

And why do you want a free solution. There are free solutions out there too.
TIMFOX123Author Commented:
Hello Lee

I have to be honest, I have been out of windows for 15 years and was not aware that powershell could do that.  

I can not tell you what we do but for arguments sake lets say we are a snooty French restaurant where you only get in with a reservation ( up to 3 months waiting list ).  When you get there they put all your order in a computer as you order and you get a bill later.  

could you show me some monitoring ( disk space ) ,  ipconfig/all.  It would be also nice to grep the eventviewer as well as download it .
Nagendra Pratap SinghDesktop Applications SpecialistCommented:
Events can be forwarded to another windows server.

If you want a cheaper solution then you can use NAGIOS for monitoring. It should be easy because it is based on unix.
TIMFOX123Author Commented:
Hello NPS.  

I agree with what you are saying however we already have a tool for that.  I do not think I can run script  in Nagios as I do not  think we can do that there either.  The problem is this is cross platform and I need to know a bit more than what a snmp server will tell me as in time my mind will change or new issues arrive

I am listening.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
There are lots of system management solutions out there but finding one that suits your needs and skill level takes lots of time to try them all. If you do a search on "systems management" you will see tons of options. Spiceworks and Nagios have already been mentioned others are GFI Cloud & Cisco Meraki are others. If you want to be able to do what you did in linux from the command line then as suggested you are best served by learning powershell. This site is a great place to start

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TIMFOX123Author Commented:
All great stuff

Thank you all
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