Thoughts about the announcement of SCCM 2012 SP1 from TechEd 2012 in Orlando

There’s a lot of noise at this year’s TechEd (TechEd 2012) over Azure, the private and public cloud infrastructures with Server 2012 and the amazing improvements in Hyper-V 2012 (Hyper-V 3.0) but one area that should have IT professional’s attention is the announcement of SCCM 2012 SP1.

While there are several great additional features to be included in SP1 a few notable features include:

Support for OS platforms:
– Windows 8 (and windows 8 tablet (Intel SoC) support)
– Mac OS X
– Linux and Unix

This is great news for those who manage multiple OSes and especially those who have already invested in SCCM. No longer will we require separate system management software products to manage our estate, especially if the “other” OSes range in the small percentage to the “not enough to warrant a management solution” group. We can now manage it all under the management umbrella that is SCCM. It also means deploying our 1E products such as the 1E Agent for Macs OSX and Nightwatchman Server Edition Agent for Linux/Unix servers is now that much easier.

Another function they’ve added in is Windows To Go support for OSD.

If you don’t know much about Windows To Go on Windows 8 yet, think of it as a live CD (or better suited, live USB!) where you have your entire OS on a removable media.

They’ve also improved the method of Application Delivery:
– Win 8 apps
– Network Cost support (management for content on 3G/4G or dial up/paid connections)

The support for Windows 8 apps is nothing we didn’t all expect and the Network Cost support is a great addition to manage clients that regularly move in and out of paid (3G/4G) and internal “free” connections. This helps with roaming clients as we become more of a consumer type workforce, a workforce on the go, and it allows many admin’s to not get hit by that surprisingly large telephone bill at the end of the month.

– Flexible Hierarchy Management

This is the biggest change in my opinion. No longer are we going to be locked into an either/or situation when deploying new ConfigMgr deployments and with the SP1 update we should be able to set up a new CAS (Central Administration Site) installation and pull our existing primary installation into that CAS. There is one caveat to this however…
If two primary sites are set up, you cannot join the second primary site to an existing hierarchy (CAS and primaries) but we can easily get around this issue by doing a primary migration to “join” the existing hierarchy.

The flexible hierarchy management of SCCM 2012 is a much welcome feature. Many have wondered why you couldn’t do this in the first place with SCCM 2012, although I suspect that many who may have set up an existing primary site installation without a CAS have not yet had the requirement for a CAS, at least in the short period that SCCM 2012 has been released.

The addition of these changes gives SCCM an even stronger foothold in the systems management space by making administrating machines even easier. As an IT professional, you’ve got to love having things made easy for you.

If you want to watch the full presentation, you can check out Channel9’s site which has a lot of the technet presentations ready for viewing. You can see the SCCM presentation by Wally Mead and Mark Florida here.

Dave Fuller
Dave joined 1E in 1999 when it was just a handful of consultants. Specializing in enterprise desktop management, Dave worked on some of the largest global SMS and SCCM implementation projects. As 1E started to develop software, Dave was involved in the design, testing, documentation, selling and implementation of the 1E product portfolio. With a passion for learning and educating others, Dave created and delivered several training courses throughout his early 1E career and in 2012 he took the initiative to set up a brand new 1E Training practice that has seen hundreds of people from over 20 countries trained and certified on 1E software. Dave now works in the Product Marketing team at 1E, leading our Windows 10 technical team to make Windows 10 migration easy for the enterprise.