The SCCM or Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager is one of the most popular systems management tools on the market today. Although SCCM is an excellent solution, many organizations have issues with its relatively limited features and OS support. Because of this, many IT professionals resort to looking for an alternative to the tool.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a more versatile tool, something easier to use, or just to save on costs, there’s an alternative to SCCM that fulfills your needs. As a middle-ground solution, SCCM is essentially just good enough for most companies, rather than being ideal for a few as a middle-ground solution.
Today, we’ll be going over some of the best SCCM alternatives on the market.
Here is our list of the best SCCM alternatives:
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor – FREE TRIAL Made by the reputable SolarWinds company, the NPM is a unique, all-inclusive network monitoring solution capable of replacing SCCM completely. The tool is cram-packed with features to make your life easier and help your technicians focus on the real issues at hand. In addition, it will scale with your business while remaining intuitive.
- NinjaOne Patch Management – FREE TRIAL A cloud-based endpoint management solution, offering centralized device management. This service can patch any system anywhere and you can use it as part of a full RMM suite.
- ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus – FREE TRIAL Patches Windows, macOS, and Linux, plus third-party software packages. The service is offered as a SaaS package or for installation on Windows Server.
- SolarWinds Patch Manager – FREE TRIAL An excellent patch manager that fixes one of SCCM’s most significant issues, in that it has a hard time issuing patches to devices that are turned off.
- ManageEngine Endpoint Central A SCCM alternative with over 250 third-party plugins that provide versatile coverage to enterprises.
- JumpCloud A user and system management tool great for multi-platform environments.
- Puppet A Linux-based, multi-platform tool with excellent automation capabilities.
- Auvik A network management tool that uses machine learning to simplify tasks.
What Is SCCM?
SCCM is a system management solution used to manage Windows devices. SCCM is also called ConfigMgr and is one of the most popular endpoint management systems today. It provides various benefits intended to help you create, manage, and distribute software and digital images. Its primary purpose is to increase the efficiency of daily IT administration tasks.
SCCM is quite versatile, letting it do most common IT management activities. Generally, companies will use it to deploy OSs, patch software, and gain remote access and control of their devices.
With that being said, SCCM does have some glaring flaws, and with its competition increasing, it’s likely not the best solution on the market today. For one, SCCM only works with Windows, rendering it essentially useless in a multi-platform environment or one running exclusively on a different OS. Furthermore, it’s quite challenging to use, even for technically proficient users. This is mainly because SCCM has a lot of documentation; you need to use it at its best.
These factors make using SCCM inefficient, time-consuming, and expensive for many companies. Furthermore, training new employees can be made even more difficult. Finally, the tool is intrinsically reliant on Active Directory, a significant limiting factor.
Τhe Βest SCCM Αlternatives
We needed to decide what separates a good SCCM alternative from a bad one to create this list. We’ve agreed upon a primary set of criteria that set a solution apart from SCCM:
- How well it can mirror SCCM’s features, this criteria is most relevant if you’re currently using SCCM
- The tool’s price
- How scalable the tool is when moving from an SMB to a large business or enterprise
- The quality of its UI
- How many features does it have that outperform SCCM
- OS support
- Customer support quality
- Number of deployment options
Let’s get into the top SCCM alternatives available on the market today without further ado!
The SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, or NPM for short, can entirely replace SCCM in almost all environments. It’s capable of handling everything from latency tests to link analysis to network monitoring.
For such a wide-scope tool, the NPM is quite easy to use, and you’ll most likely find that it requires a lot less reading than the SCCM. Although it is a bit pricey, it’s highly cost-effective and has multiple deployment options, from virtual servers to cloud devices. Naturally, there’s also an on-premises installation available. You can use the NPM with all major platforms, including AWS or Azure marketplaces.
Made by the reputable SolarWinds company, the NPM was created as a comprehensive network monitoring solution. This means that it provides various additional features on top of the SCCMs standard suite of features. The most important of these is its scalability. You can quickly scale the NPM up to 1 million elements per instance. Furthermore, the tool provides a wide variety of AI-assisted monitoring features to help you find and fix network issues.
- Extremely high-quality user interface
- A holistic network monitoring solution
- Cross-stack network data correlation capabilities
- Robust alerts system
- Heavily customizable, everything from the dashboards and reports to the alerts system can be customized
- Automated reporting, alerts, and forecasting features
- Network autodiscovery and automatic mapping
- Extremely scalable
- Highly cost-effective
The SolarWinds NPM brings you all of the network monitoring capabilities you need in one neat ManageEngine Endpoint Central Package. The tool has overshadowed the rest of its competition in testing and receives routine updates to keep ahead of the pack.
This is an excellent SCCM alternative for firms expecting to grow soon and smaller businesses looking for a solution that will grow together. Finally, the tool is even cheaper than the SCCM. With all of those factors going for it, this is a tool we’d advise you to swap to even if you’re already using SCCM.
With that being said, most of the tools on this list have a specific niche where they outperform the NPM. If you’re already using a different network monitoring software, you might want to go for a more reliable alternative.
The SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is available on a 30-day free trial.
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NinjaOne Patch Management is a cloud-based service from the NinjaOne platform or remote monitoring and management platform. This tool is not limited to one network, so you can unify the support of endpoints at multiple locations with one NinjaOne account. That visibility extends to the individual devices used by remote, home-based workers.
The NinjaOne system lets you set up patching profiles that allow different policies to be implemented for different locations, types of equipment, or groups of devices. This means that you can create out-of-hours maintenance windows in the system console and the patch manager will hold up available patches to be applied at the next available slot.
- Remote execution
- Automated patching
- Supplier polling for software update availability
- Variable patching profiles
- Completion status reporting
The Patch Management service will operate automatically, polling suppliers for patches and updates and applying them without human supervision. Completion reports let technicians see rollout statuses and, where necessary, apply failed patches manually and individually.
The Patch Management module, like all NinjaOne systems, has a multi-tenant architecture, which makes it suitable for use by managed service providers. The key feature of the package is remote supervision and that attribute is also useful for the centralized IT departments of multi-site businesses.
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ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus is an automated patch manager for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It will also update more than 850 third-party software packages. This system includes endpoint scanning to identify all of the systems that can be updated and creates a software inventory.
The service maintains a database of available updates and downloads the installers for those that are needed. The rollout can be left to occur automatically or you can set up the system to wait for the approval. The amount of human involvement in the process is up to you.
- A list of 850 applications
- A ManageEngine curated repository of tested and verified update installation packages
- Unattended execution
- Completion statuses
- Compliance reporting
ManageEngine pre-checks all of the update installers for all of the software packages that it monitors – that is, the 850 applications that it can update. These approved and verified updates are then stored on the ManageEngine server. This central repository means that your installation of Patch Manager Plus doesn’t need to visit hundreds of supplier sites looking for patches and updates; it just has one destination to check.
The combination of Windows updates with Linux, macOS, and application patching makes ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus a more efficient and cost-effective updater than SCCM.
ManageEngine offers Patch Manager Plus in three editions. The first of these is Free but it is unlimited to managing 20 workstations aNd five servers. The full version is called Professional and will manage all the endpoints on one network., The extended edition is called Enterprise and it covers multiple sites.
ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus installs on Windows Server and it is also offered as a SaaS package. You can get either version on a 30-day free trial.
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The SolarWinds Patch Manager is another tool made by the SolarWinds company. It helps you rid yourself of the System Center Updates Publisher- a utility that limits your ability to install non-Microsoft patches. This tool is a lot more focused than the past two entries. Rather than replacing SCCM entirely, the SolarWinds Patch Manager looks to outstrip it strictly in its patch management capabilities. It easily integrates with the rest of the SolarWinds suite to boot.
The tool lets you monitor how accessible new patches are, and it’ll automatically integrate them with your update schedule. It also serves pre-tested, prebuilt packages that are ready for deployment immediately. Unfortunately, although the SCCM also allows you to do the bare minimum of patch scheduling, it doesn’t let you ascertain the device you’re patching is turned on and capable of updating.
- Outstrips SCCMs patch management functionalities
- Can complement either SCCM or tools in the SolarWinds suite
- Excellent scheduling functionalities ensure patches are delivered even to devices that are turned off
- Extremely user-friendly
On the other hand, the SolarWinds Patch Manager lets you push around patches so that they properly suit your schedule. It will account for the network impact that extensive updates can have and the impact time zones have on the schedule. This will help you ensure that your patches are always received even by devices that aren’t on.
SCCM can only let you look deeper into SCE environments by using Windows Server Update System(WSUS.) It also mandates that you use the Microsoft Extended Inventory collection tool to accommodate the needed inventory. However, the SolarWinds Patch Manager improves on this by tracking Microsoft applications in addition to 3rd party ones. It also helps you stay on top of upcoming updates by having an automated list of applications and tagging each one of them with their importance level.
With all of that being said, the Patch Manager only accounts for SCCMs patch management functionalities. So if you’re looking for a tool that can completely replace SCCM, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
The SolarWinds Patch Manager is available on a 30-day free trial!
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5. ManageEngine Endpoint Central
The ManageEngine Endpoint Central is another excellent SCCM alternative made by Zoho Corp. One of the biggest perks it offers compared to SCCM is how much simpler it is to set up and implement. SCCM needs you to configure various settings, while the Endpoint Central can be up and running in just a few minutes.
Besides simplifying configurations, the ManageEngine looks to simplify the software update process. The tool lets you scan your computer, check for any updates, and update software accordingly without needing to go into complex configuration efforts. The tool enables you to scan devices and quickly check for and execute updates.
- Integrates well with the rest of the ManageEngine suite
- Over 250 third-party applications
- Lots of automated features to make your life easier
- Much simpler to set up than SCCM
- On-prem and cloud deployment available
- Automated prohibited software deletion
Another massive benefit of the ManageEngine is its versatility. With over 250 third-party applications and plugins, you can get the tool to do everything the SCCM can and more.
This versatile solution offers support for more than 250 third-party applications, helping you patch third-party apps quickly and efficiently while helping ensure your network is updated and secure.
Furthermore, the tool allows you to decline specific patches and automate the removal of potentially malicious programs.
With that being said, the ManageEngine does lag behind in user-friendliness when it comes to its UI. It’s not bad by any means, but it is a bit of a downer on an otherwise great tool.
The ManageEngine Endpoint Central is available on a 30-day free trial.
One of SCCM’s most significant weaknesses is entirely unusable in mixed-platform environments or those made up exclusively of non-Windows devices. Enter JumpCloud, a cloud-based solution that provides Linux, macOS, and Windows services.
At its core, JumpCloud is a Directory-as-a-Service solution, combining system and user management functionalities into a single tool. This allows your IT technicians to exercise system and user management control with a single tool. JumpCloud also has a place in enhancing security, as its commands and policies can help you secure your devices remotely. For example, they can enable FDE(full disk encryption) automatically update the OS and set up screen-lock timers remotely. While all of these can be done manually, it’s better to save your technicians for tasks where they’re needed.
- Combines user and system management functionalities into one tool
- Cloud-based tool
- Available on all major platforms
- Quite easy to use
Its user management functionalities allow you to swiftly provision and de-provision user access when you need to, regardless of platform. The tool is single-handedly capable of letting your specialists dictate who gets access to what data. This, in turn, helps you protect against data leaks and stops malicious agents from accessing your precious data. Your administrators will also easily connect to any resource remotely through SSH, SAML, RADIUS, REST APIs, and LDAP.
With that being said, JumpCloud isn’t a complete replacement for SCCM. However, if this was most of what you were using SCCM for, it can serve as an excellent, multi-platform replacement.
JumpCloud is free for up to 10 users, and there’s a free trial available that supports more users.
Puppet is a model-driven, open-source software made by PuppetLabs. Written in Ruby, the tool has an excellent UI and focuses heavily on the resources themselves rather than files or commands. The founder claims that one of Puppet’s most significant benefits is: “One of the benefits of Puppet’s DSL—beyond the simplicity—is that it encourages the mental shift that Puppet requires. To use Puppet effectively, you need to think in resources, not files or commands. If you wrote your configurations in Ruby, you could easily just open files and run commands all the live-long day, but with the DSL, you have to learn to think in resources”.
While Puppet is drastically different from SCCM in approaching things, it can replace it for most activities. The tool also runs on Linux, so if you’re working with a Linux-based environment, Puppet is a great tool to try out. Furthermore, the agency focuses on automating tedious administrative processes, which lets it further streamline your workflow.
- Multi-platform support
- Extremely simple to use once you’re used to it
- Has both an open-source and Enterprise version with additional features
- Automates some of the most repetitive tasks
With that being said, Puppet requires some Ruby knowledge to work with the open-source version, and the Enterprise version can be a bit difficult to get used to at first.Puppet’s open-source version is complimentary, while the Enterprise edition offers up to 10 nodes entirely for free.
Auvik is a provider of a variety of cloud-based network management tools. Broadly, these tools encompass everything that SCCM does and more. In addition, they’ll provide you with a variety of functions that will enhance the visibility and control of your network.
The tool has real-time network mapping and automatically discovers devices on the network and creates an inventory. It will also automatically configure backups and restoration points for network devices. In addition to this, it’ll provide in-depth insights into your network traffic.
- Configuration management capabilities
- Automatically discovers, maps, and takes inventory of network devices
- A robust alerts system
- App visibility system assisted by machine learning
- Can copy most of SCCM’s features
The tool tracks a variety of metrics from a single dashboard. You can monitor all of your sites remotely from a single location. It also supports a variety of different vendors. With that being said, it also supports Windows exclusively.
Another excellent feature provided by the toolkit is finding and troubleshooting the root cause of network issues. This lets you significantly lower downtime across your network.
With that being said, Auvik is also exclusive to Windows, meaning that if you’re working with a multi-platform environment, you’re essentially out of luck. It’s also somewhat challenging to use for non-technical users.
Although SCCM is still an extremely popular system management tool, it’s not the right call for all organizations. So regardless of whether you’re looking to get an SCCM alternative that supports multi-platform environments or you’re just dissatisfied with its patch management functionalities, there’s a tool on this list for you.
We’ve tried to ensure that every tool on the list serves a slightly different niche. However, there’s pretty much no way to go wrong with the SolarWinds NPM. As always, the most significant factor in selecting a suitable SCCM alternative is analyzing your needs. Depending on your needs, our number 6 pick might be your number 1. Analyze what your business needs, and look for a tool that most closely resembles that.
What is your favorite SCCM alternative?
What is a feature you wish more tools had?
Let us know in the comments below!