The SQL Server Central Management System
Yesterday I delivered a pre-conference session at TechEd US in Los Angeles. I covered lots of SQL Server 2008 features, but the key was that we ended up putting them all together for a single purpose.
Most of us have a way of aggregating the data about our systems. We do it through lists, spreadsheets, Access databases and applications like System Center or HP OpenView. But we don't always make the data about our systems "formal", and store it in one place, in one way, with one view.
So I explained an interesting concept for using all of the cool new features in SQL Server 2008 to put a single Instance in the corner to manage and monitor your 2008, 2005 and even 2000 Instances. I showed the audience how they could register all of the Instances on that system for multi-query, how to use Policies across them, modify the Management Data Warehouse, and about some new tools like MAPS (a free tool that can inventory all your systems) and the Enterprise Policy Management Framework (free tool that runs Policies on a schedule for 2005 and 2000) and how to create some dashboard reports across it all to make it look pretty.
It's not so much a product, as a method to do things. You need to build your own, but you can see what I've done with mine here: http://sqlcms.codeplex.com.