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Microsoft SCCM Configuration Manager Alternative

DameWare Remote Support v. Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager

Microsoft® System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM, a.k.a. CM12, CM07, ConfigMgr, Configuration Manager, formerly Systems Management Server or SMS) is a systems management suite that competes with SolarWinds® DameWare® Remote Support (DRS). Both software packages provide remote administration, including access to native windows remote management tools.

If both remote administration and remote support capabilities are needed, or if limited remote access needs to be delegated to a help desk, DRS offers several advantages over SCCM and provides them at an affordable price.

Features Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager SolarWinds DameWare Remote Support
Remote RDP administration
Single port access  
Decentralized infrastructure  
Read-Only and Full Access Levels
Partial Control Access Levels  
Chat utility  
File transfer utility  
Screenshot utility  
Control Windows machines
Control Linux and Mac OS X machines  
Remote command execution using PowerShell
Remote command execution without PowerShell  
”Mirror Driver” Option  
GUI and Batch Remote Service Installation  
Batch Task Scheduling  
Batch WMI Export  

Single Port Access (for Security)

DameWare uses one TCP port (6130 by default) to support its remote control sessions, and this port can be easily re-defined by your organization to provide further security.

SCCM requires TCP ports 2701, 2702 and 135 to be open through the client firewall for remote access. TCP 135 is used for Microsoft RPC, and dynamic RPC ports are also required.

Access Controls (Full, Read-Only,
and Partial Control)

SCCM provides just two levels of access control: full control and read-only. DameWare provides those same two levels and more, allowing help desks and other teams who only need partial control to access a subset of DameWare’s full functionality.

Decentralized Infrastructure

SCCM requires centralized SCCM server(s). If a WAN link to the SCCM server, or the SCCM server itself fails, local personnel may not be able to access systems at their local site.

The DameWare client has no external dependencies, and will “just work” provided the single TCP port used for communication is available. This allows for tactical flexibility, and should a console on machine malfunction, it may simply be reinstalled or used on another machine.

Chat, File Transfer and Screenshot

DameWare offers chat, file transfer, and screenshot utilities that facilitate remote support and remote administration. . The chat utility allows a remote user and local administrator to communicate during troubleshooting. The file transfer utility provides a “side-by-side” transfer window for local and remote files. The screenshot utility captures the current view into popular image formats. None of these utilities are included in SCCM.

Multiple Remote Control
Protocols and Operating Systems

DameWare can connect and control remote computers using RDP, VNC and its own DameWare protocol. These computers can be Windows desktops, Windows laptops, Windows servers, Macintosh OS X computers (running Apple’s built-in VNC server), or Linux computers.
SCCM can only control Windows machines.

Remote Command Execution
(With and Without PowerShell)

Executing commands via SCCM’s RC utility requires PowerShell scripts. Like SCCM, DameWare supports PowerShell, but it also allows you to execute remote commands as if you were invoking them from a command-prompt on each remote machine.

RDP or “Mirror Driver”

During remote administration sessions, SCCM relies on RDP. DameWare can also use RDP to access remote machines, but DameWare’s proprietary “Mirror Driver” option taps directly into the remote operating system kernel, resulting in a more user-friendly experience than RDP alone. It also may result in lower CPU usage on the remote computer, an important consideration when working with busy servers or overloaded desktops.

Remote Service Installation

Microsoft tools provide remote service registration, but they require the use of a command-line utility. DameWare has the unique ability to remotely register, or “install,” new services through a GUI interface. DameWare also permits the registration and deactivation of services on multiple machines at once, a useful feature when rolling out internally-developed applications or disabling unnecessary services on multiple machines.

Batch Task Scheduling

With SCCM, administrators can add new scheduled tasks to individual machines, but only DameWare allows administrators to schedule “batches” of new tasks on multiple machines.

Batch WMI Export

SCCM can access some WMI information from individual machines such as aggregate statistics through Performance Counters, but DameWare has the unique ability to export any WMI data from any machine, or groups of machines. DameWare can also export this information directly to CSV or XML files for import into spreadsheets, databases and other applications.