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The version 1702 of Configuration Manager Current Branch is around the corner and the adoption of 1610 is enormous. If you are not on 1610 yet, you can wait until 1702 will ship but if you need some need new features that are shipped with 1610, upgrade now! In this post, I will describe some of my highlights that come with Configuration Manager 1610.
Cloud Management Gateway
This feature is still in preview but, you are able to test this one and validate if you are able to simplify your Internet Based Client Management (IBCM). In November last year, I wrote a review about this feature on my own blog. The Cloud Management Gateway is a Virtual Machine in Microsoft Azure with the Management Point and Software Update roles installed. Together with the Cloud Distribution Point, which also resides in Microsoft Azure, this is the first step to eliminating the complex way of managing your mobile workforce that is currently managed via IBCM, the clients simply connect to the server in Microsoft Azure instead of a Management Point that is Internet facing and resides in a DMZ.
A great feature if you ask me!
Dashboards, Dashboards, and Dashboards
With almost every new release, more and more dashboards are added to Configuration Manager. Those new dashboards allow you as a Configuration Manager admin to get a visual overview how your clients or for instance software updates are doing. In 1610 a dashboard for Software Update has been added, this dashboard gives you a view of the compliance status of your devices and the missing updates by category. When hovering and clicking on the Devices Missing Updates table you are redirected to the Knowledge Base article of the missing update.
Another nice dashboard is the one for Office 365, this dashboard gives you an overview of the installed client versions of Office 365. If using the automatic update feature of the Office 365 client or when controlling it via Configuration Manager you will have a clear view of what versions are used and what update channels are used.
Mobile device enhancements
In 1610 many mobile device related updates are made, a lot of new settings are added to manage your Android, Apple or Windows devices if you have a hybrid environment. In this version the Lookout Mobile Threat Protection (MTP) integration is also added to Configuration Manager, Lookout MTP takes care of protecting your Android and iOS devices. Based on if a threat is detected on a device the compliance state of a device can be changed. If a device is not compliant users cannot access corporate data in for instance Office 365.
Also new is the ability to remotely request a sync of the device with Configuration Manager. This way you can remotely initiate a sync so that the device will receive any new policies or applications that you want to deploy. This feature is currently only available for hybrid configurations.
Last but not least, Configuration Manager 1610 adds support for paid Windows Store for business apps which allows you to also deploy paid next to free Windows Store apps via Configuration Manager.
Next, to the features described above, Microsoft added a couple of other features like peer to peer cache which allows Configuration Manager clients to share content with other Configuration Manager clients directly from their local cache on the device. Also, enhancements to the software center are added; customized branding is added and notifications regarding high-impact deployments like task sequences are improved.
As you can see, Configuration Manager 1610 adds a couple nice features that allow you to simplify management of your environment. If you are still at 1602, get an update soon because you will be running out of support quickly. If you are still at 1510, you definitely need to upgrade to a later version since support of this version is already ended.
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