If you have used either of them, they look somewhat like this

So what is the difference?

In the case of LSG, the servers are visible only to the user who created them. This is because, the settings are configured as a xml file which is located in the following (the location may vary somewhat across environments)

C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\120\Tools\Shell\RegSvr.xml

On the other hand CMS configurations are stored in the msdb database and hence are visible to all users provided they have the requisite priveleges.

So when to use what?

Use LSG when you need to create shortcuts to servers/instances for yourself instead of cluttering the CMS view which might not be relevant to others.

On the other hand, lets say you are part of a team that works with pretty much a fixed set of servers, then use CMS as the'll be accessible to all.

Now why are the above tow used ? Well, it's for the following:

  • Policy implementation across multiple instances. This eliminates the need to do them on individial instances one at a time.
  • Code implementation across multiple instances. This is pretty much an extension of the above point.
  • Connection shortcut. Simply double/right click and you are in the instance. This is because the passwords are stored beforehand during creation.

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