In this article, we will go through the concepts around SCCM, which stands for System Center Configuration Manager. Microsoft SCCM is a Windows product which empowers administrators with the ability to manage deployments and even security of the applications, devices across an organization. The following are the topics that we would include in this article.
What is SCCM?
SCCM stands for System Center Configuration Manager, and it is an offering from Microsoft suite of products that helps Organizations manage their infrastructure on a day to day basis. It also allow managing bigger sets of Windows based computers for the administrators in your Organization. Here are some of the salient features of SCCM for us to go through and understand:
- Remote control
- Operating system development
- Patch management
- Network protection
SCCM was earlier referred to as SMS (stands for System Management Server) which was renamed to SCCM in November 2007 and was called as ConfigMgr. SCCM allows its users to manage Computer systems running on Windows or Mac OS operating systems and also can be used in Mobile devices.
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SCCM Current Branch
SCCM 2016 had added more value to itself providing quicker and simpler installations and also enabled efficient one-click operations. It also extended its support for other systems as like Linux, VMWare and Hyper-V. It also provides better control and visibility over data and applications with the Azure and Management integrations.
What's new in SCCM 2016?
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There are many new features that have been added to the SCCM suite post the 2012 release, that provides more and more features to serve Organizational needs.
- Provides improved workflow to create mobile device configuration items, updates for windows 10 systems.
- Has deduplication feature and compression, also very easy to use.
- Provides support to the AlwaysOn feature on SQL Server to provide highly available databases and its related services as a cluster.
- Many of the Cluster-aware settings have been made much more simpler and easier. It has also actions to perform pre and post installation checks.
- Mobile Device Management (MDM) manages all the required application deployments to Windows 10 devices. Provides capabilities of first and second technical previews.
- It also has an ability to run software update cleanup tasks by WSUS(Windows Server Update Service) and also at the sametime can restore the data.
1. Windows 10 support in SCCM 2016:
Windows 10, a computer Operating System that has been introduced by Microsoft for personal use is the successor of Windows 8.1. One of the biggest selling points for Microsoft in enhancing sales for Windows 10 was that it can be run on any device, starting from a mobile phone to an extent such as a 100 inch monitor / screen. SCCM 2016 supports all these variants of devices with utmost ease. SCCM 2016 extended its support for Windows 10 upgrades via its standard deployment task sequences. Microsoft has invested really heavy into this OS upgrade techniques in this release, and to be very precise this investment has turned into a boon as this looks really promising.
2. SCCM 2016 in Azure:
Release of SCCM 2016 also marks the entry of Microsoft supporting Configuration Manager in a Cloud environment via its Cloud enhancers, the Azure VMs. Azure support completely breaks the jinx in terms of Infrastructure support, Physical to Virtual transition and likewise on the Onsite to Cloud transition.
There are basically three ways the Azure deployment can be achieved and they are outlined as below. These are just the traditional scenarios but there can also be hybrid scenarios where the following can be mixed to a further level.
- SCCM 2016 in Azure managing VMs in Azure
- SCCM 2016 site roles in Azure with additional roles on on-premise
- SCCM 2016 in Azure managing VMs outside of Azure
3. Mobile Device Management in SCCM 2016:
SCCM 2016 also provides mobile device management capabilities in addition to the capabilities that we have discussed above. These can be leveraged when SCCM is used in conjunction with Intune. There are two features that are pretty highlighted with SCCM 2016 release - namely Enhanced Data Protection and Application Management.
Application Management policies helps administrators modify the default behavior of the applications to provide better security for the Organizations. Android support can be used when used with Android 4+ devices and iOS 7+ for Apple iPhones. Enhanced Data Protection is all about the prevention of data getting stolen from Organization’s premises. This allows removal of passcode or sets a temporary passcode. Either ways, this can be performed by choosing the device from the Configuration Manager console and then selecting Remote Device Actions, and then select Reset Passcode.
4. Additional features in SCCM 2016:
There are many improvements that have been brought into the features like reporting, deployments and client activity. There is a newer feature introduced called the Preferred Management Points (PMP) which allows clients in a location be specified to a specific server. When the SCCM client gets deployed, the client status will be shown in Monitoring -> Client Status -> Production Client deployment. Features in reporting includes drilling down into further details in client upgrades and also to individual devices.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, the other feature that has been introduced in SCCM 2016 release is the Automatic Deployment Rules (ADR). This defines the way the updates are distributed to the client automatically. A single ADR with SCCM 2016 is enough to deploy multiple collections which would have been multiple rules for the same update prior to SCCM 2016. Many improvements were also provided to the features that were existing prior to SCCM 2016 release.