Brad Anderson, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice-President for Enterprise Client & Mobility, has outlined some significant changes to their popular System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). The announced changes spanning both administrative details as well as how the service will support Windows 10 as the operating system moves towards the Software-as-a-Service.
The first change they touch on is the new nomenclature the team is using,referring to the product as ConfigMgr, a welcome change to IT professionals constantly questioning if someone is talking about SCCM, System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) or some other piece of System Center; the permanent name changes also allude to a much faster development cycle. For now they are calling the product 'System Center Configuration Manager vNext', but in the future, ConfigMgr won’t be broken up into major releases plus revisions, but from now on will be referred to as System Center Configuration Manager Year Month. So a SCCM release put out next week would be System Center Configuration Manager 2015 November. This change will be welcome by some and dreaded by others as a critical piece of their infrastructure begins to require more maintenance the faster updates come.
The rapid development cycle, while unwieldy to some enterprise clients, is being detailed as necessary to support the much faster release schedule that Microsoft has planned for Windows 10, with a new major version on the horizon a few short months after public release. Microsoft has also further integrated ConfigMgr with their cloud management offering InTune, to enable administrators a single interface for managing all connected devices including PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Microsoft is promising administrators updates to ConfigMgr every time Windows, Android or iOS pushes out major updates with new capabilities and requirements.
The blog post continues to discuss the telemetry they have received from SCCM 2012 R2 about the SQL environments their customers use and have further refined the requirements in order to minimize the various possible schemas that ConfigMgr databases may be running on. This has enabled them to greatly reduce the risk created by more frequent updates, and should make managing and supporting the product easier. They have also been able to analyze customer data indicating that of their customers running in ConfigMgr/InTune Hybrid mode or running the ConfigMgr Technical Preview, 70% of them have deployed and are managing Windows 10 devices. This is a startling number for a market segment that is still struggling to get away from Windows XP, now in its 13th year.