We hope you enjoyed our Strategic Guide to Windows Servicing webinar last week. As usual we got more questions than we had time to answer, so hopefully, part 1 of this post will give you the answers you were looking for.
Question: What is the impact of updating Windows 10 faster than updating SCCM? At the moment it seems like SCCM is released about a month before Windows 10, but I am unsure of the impact of not updating SCCM.
Answer: As newer versions of Windows 10 are released, they will either be unsupported or have ‘backwards compatible’ support in older versions of Configuration Manager. For example, Windows 10 1703 requires Configuration Manager 1702 as a minimum (backward compatibility) but requires CM 1706 for full support. Backwards Compatible is described as “This means that existing client management features (hardware inventory, software inventory, software updates, etc.) should work with the new Windows 10 release. Any known issues or caveats will be documented”. Take a look at this Microsoft article for further information.
Question: Do you believe that Microsoft has matured its release process, or are we likely to see Semi-Annual Channel, etc dropped for a new process?
Answer: I see the Semi-Annual Channel as a refinement of the original branching model, with more clearly defined timelines. I don’t see any reason why it would be dropped, but there could always be tweaks.
Question: Is there a way to use Configuration Manager and Windows Update for Business simultaneously, so workstations get upgrades from SCCM when inside the company and from Microsoft when traveling outside the company?
Answer: From Microsoft (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sccm/core/clients/manage/plan-internet-based-client-management):
When you have a software update point that is configured to accept connections from the Internet, Configuration Manager Internet-based clients on the Internet always scan against this software update point, to determine which software updates are required. However, when these clients are on the Internet, they first try to download the software updates from Microsoft Update, rather than from an Internet-based distribution point. Only if this fails, will they then try to download the required software updates from an Internet-based distribution point? Clients that are not configured for Internet-based client management never try to download the software updates from Microsoft Update, but always use Configuration Manager distribution points.
Question: If an upgrade to a new release causes application incompatibility, will MSFT extend the life of the Branch, or are application vendors expected to keep to the MSFT schedule?
Dave: We can’t answer for Microsoft, but as a software vendor ourselves we have a responsibility to ensure our software continues to function as new versions of Windows 10 are released. We have published a statement that sets out how we support new versions of Windows 10 as they progress from Windows Insider builds through to Semi-Annual Channel. I’d recommend you check with your current vendors that they have similar statements.
Barry: Microsoft has said categorically that they will not be extending the life of any Windows 10 release unless you are on the LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel). This is also true where the OS no longer supports the hardware. Organizations are expected to keep within the Microsoft schedule, and both hardware and software vendors are expected to keep up. This is also true for your in-house application developers. Whilst we have seen some minor extensions to both the 1507 and 1511 lifecycle, we do not expect this to continue, and 18 months should be the support cycle for all new releases moving forward.
Question: How many months is 1610 is supported? Can we upgrade to the latest 1709?
Answer: If I’m interpreting this question correctly, it relates to Configuration Manager Current Branch. According to Configuration Manager 1610, support ends November 18, 2017. The latest CM Current Branch is 1706 (so there isn’t a 1709 or 1710 outside of Technical Preview). However, when the next CM CB is released, you will be able to upgrade straight from 1610.
Question: What is the preferred method for servicing – Using Service plans or Task Sequence and why?
Answer: I prefer the Task Sequence route. It gives you more control to do things before (like ‘pre-flight’ checks, driver updates etc.) and options for roll-back should things go awry. Check out the webinar we did last year that compares the two approaches towards the end.
Question: How does the 1E Windows Servicing Suite product impact use of SCCM and 1E Nomad?
Answer: The 1E Windows Servicing Suite combines Nomad, PXE Everywhere, Shopping and Application Migration to extend automation delivered through standard SCCM OS Deployment. If you are using Nomad today, you can upgrade to the full suite (at additional cost).
Please check back next Thursday for part 2 of this Q and A series with Barry Angell from Juriba and 1E’s Dave Fuller. You can watch the On-Demand webinar now.