Application Management in SCCM 2012

System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (SCCM 2012) introduces a new way to deliver applications to users and devices.  Intelligence has been built into the new application model that makes SCCM understand the administrator’s intent regarding how and when an application should be made available to users.

Administrators can setup rules to determine if software (application) should be installed on a client system.  The following are examples of rules:

  • Do not install if a system has less than 1 GB of RAM
  • Do not install if the Windows version is lower than Windows 7

Administrators can also build logic into the Application so it is either installed or just be made available via App-V depending on the device that the user is using to attempt to access the application.

Users can now browse a self-serve Web portal to install (or use) applications that have been made available to them.  Optionally, administrators can setup a request-approval feature so the users first request it and once the administrator approves the request then the application is made available on the portal.

The SCCM client includes a new application called Software Center, which allows users to manage and install applications that have been made available to their computers.  This application can be launched from the Start menu:

Software Center Start Menu
Software Center

Although the new model to deliver applications replaces the software distribution feature in the previous version of the product (SCCM 2007), software distribution in SCCM 2007 mode is still present in SCCM 2012.  If you are familiar with SCCM 2007, the following information compares Software Distribution in 2007 (and still present in SCCM 2012) to Application Management in SCCM 2012:

SCCM 2007 featurereplaced by:SCCM 2012 feature
Advertisements Deployments
Mandatory assignments in advertisements Required deployments
New Advertisement wizard Deploy Software wizard
Program Download Monitor and Run Advertised Programs Software Center
N/A Application Catalog Website (Web portal)

Microsoft is currently working on a tool that will convert your packages and programs from SCCM 2007 to an Application in SCCM 2012.  The tool is called Configuration Manager Package Conversion Manager, and should be available when SCCM 2012 is released.  Currently both, SCCM 2012 and the tool are in beta.

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