SCS 5.0 is the latest version of the Intel Setup and Configuration Service. This new version boasts a number of fundamental and exciting additions to the world of vPro:
You can enjoy the benefits of Active Directory Integration without the need to extend the Active Directory Schema!
You can use Windows Authentication to communicate with the SCS Database
The SCS Console version 5.0 has a much nicer and professional looking user interface
The performance, stability and logging capabilities of the application have notably improved
You have the ability to dynamically create collectoins of AMT Systems based on different filter conditions
This is still early days for AMT Firmware versions 4 and 5 and the use of CIRA (Client Initiated Remote Access) and MPS (Management Presence Server) but it supports them
Note: If you are using SMS as your Management Software you will need to use the Intel (R) Client Manageability Addon version 5.0 which is available for download from the following url: http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Filter_Results.aspx?strOSs=All&strTypes=All&ProductID=2609&lang=eng&OSFullName=All%20Operating%20Systems
To emphasize the point - you will not be able to use SMS Addon version 3.3 with SCS 5.0. SCS version 5.0 will be bundled already for you with the Addon version 5.0.
Some potentially useful technical insights that I have gathered through my experience of being an early adopter of SCS 5.0 through trying to deploy it at a large-scale enterprise customer:
If you opt for having windows authentication (as opposed to the dummy SQL account which was part of the design up until SCS 3.3) you will need to opt for the custom installation path. In there you will be prompted to specify twice the user for running the AMTSCS and AMTSCS_RCFG virtual directories in IIS. You will need to specify the same username and password of the accounts that are running your IIS services where your SCS is being installed. Pay attention to this step - if you specify any user other than the user that is running the IIS services: this could a local account for example and not a domain account, then you will not be able to log into SCS via the SCS console.
When you opt for the windows authentication to DB you wil not be able to use the default website on IIS. If you are creating a new website and you are going to opt for https connection, make sure your new website is setup with the server ssl certificate. You will also need to remember to stop the default website and have your new website running.
You will need to remember to delegate permissions to the account that is running the SCS service on the AD OU for AMT objects, but this time it will be for objects of type 'Computer Objects'. There will not be a conflict with the Host OS level computer objects as these AMT Computer Objects are seen as user objects.
You have the option to create the DB separately using an SQL Standalone DB script (i.e. not as part of the install wizard) however even if you are opting for windows authentication to your SCS DB, you can achieve this by only running the wizard (the custom install path). If you have created the DB prior to SCS install, you can point the SCS service to this DB instance during the install wizard.
A general point to note that would apply to any provisioning with SCS (not just SCS 5.0) - when you are creating a profile
Another point to mention is that the profile ID number is not fully deterministic if you don't run through the config of a new profile without pressing cancel at any point. For example, if you have the default profile as profile ID #1 then when you try and create an additional profile and at some point click cancel and then try and create a new profile it can eventually have a profile ID of #5 for example. This can start becoming a problem if you rely on the profile ID number as part of your provisioning process using the Activator Utility for example, as you can only pass the profile ID as far as the SCS API is concerned, yet if you've hardcoded the profile ID in some file on the vPro client where your Activator Utility will run then you cannot know for sure until your profile has been created in SCS what its profile ID will be. If you are editing an existing profile, its ID number won't change. You also cannot go into the DB and change that value manually as it is a primary key and is auto generated as part of an indexing mechanism in the SCS code. - this one might be a bit tricky, so contact me if you need me to clarify.
I don't know whether you've noticed any sluggishness in the past when trying to install 3.x versions of SCS - for example with one of my large customers it would take 1.5 hours to install SCS because of looking up users in a rather large Active Directory; whereas with SCS 5.0 it takes 5 minutes at most.
Whilst I haven't taken advantage of the capability to create collectoins of AMT systems I wanted to point out one of the main benefits of this feature. I have been faced in the past with situations where I need to perform an operation through SCS on many machines, but not all machines. Therefore the global operations in SCS 3.x versions only gave me the possibility of running the command on a single or all machines. Now I can tailor which machines I want to perform operations on.
My overall recommendation to you is to give SCS 5.0 a go. It is easily the best SCS version that has been released. I have blogged about it as part of my first hand experiences - I have had nothing to do with its development and I am speaking out of the objective view of a user. Hope you find this useful.