Systems Management Server for Marathon

Marathon Oil reports ease of application deployment and patch distribution with SMS 2003.

Marathon Oil Co. reports successful deployment of Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 to manage its corporate software patches and update distribution. Prior to SMS, Marathon users downloaded software on a self-service basis through the corporate portal. This created havoc with the network bandwidth.

200 sites

Marathon deployed SMS 2003 at 38 ‘primary’ sites—out of a total of 200. Marathon’s SMS servers receive up to 1,000 user requests daily. Marathon desktops currently run Windows 2000 Professional—the company plans an upgrade to Windows XP in 2004.


The upgrade immediately revealed some surprising facets of the network as Mike Niehaus, IT consultant with Marathon said, “Once we upgraded to SMS 2003, we suddenly had more users showing up than we did before! SMS 2003 found 300 ‘broken’ clients that weren’t upgrading software or running patches, so we didn’t know about them.”

10,000 PCs

“Three years ago, we replaced 11,000 PCs. It took four months and required a large support team. With SMS 2003, we plan to replace more than 10,000 PCs overnight.”


Marathon wanted to build its own systems on top of SMS so the application programming interface (API) was a key requirement. Other SMS functionalities leveraged by Marathon include Active Directory to define subnet boundaries and the Site Recovery Wizard which has ‘greatly simplified’ hardware replacement and disaster recovery.

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