ConfigMgr vNext: What’s Coming
Recently, I add a post about what was coming in the next release of the entire System Center Suite. This post will focus only on ConfigMgr. The first thing to note is that Microsoft has not officially named the next release. All signs indicate that it will be called ConfigMgr 2016, but there’s no official word yet.
One of the major items to know is that Microsoft wants you to treat the next version as a Service Pack, rather than an entire new version. Your testing should reflect that of a Service Pack, and not a new major release. You should also be upgraded to ConfigMgr vNext before deploying a large number of Windows 10 devices, but more on that later.
Please note that this post is based on pre-release software, so anything stated here is subject to change.
First, ConfigMgr vNext will fully support Azure. This means that your site will be able to be installed on Azure VM’s and manage on-premises clients. It also means that your site can be installed on-premises and manage Azure VM’s. Furthermore, the Virtual Machine Type attribute on device objects will indicate that the VM is in Azure, thereby letting you create collections based on this fact.
Next, client automatic upgrade is getting a new feature. You will now be able to designate a test collection for ConfigMgr client upgrades. This collection will get the upgrade ahead of everyone else, allowing you to test revisions to the client. This applies to both Service Pack client updates, and cumulative updates. Once you are satisfied with the new client, there is a new button labeled “Promote” that will make the client upgrade available to all systems.
Third, you will be able to assign management points based on boundary groups. This appears to already present in ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 or R2 SP1, but it doesn’t work quite as labeled. To enable this feature in vNext, there will be a new check box in your hierarchy settings labeled “Client prefer to use management points specified in boundary groups”. This will enable this feature. It’s also worth noting that if a client in a boundary group cannot find it’s assigned management point, it will try to locate one in another group.
Finally, you will now be able to assign security scopes to anti-malware policies. This will enable other users besides administrators to modify these policies.
This is a new feature in ConfigMgr vNext. There will be a new property on collections called “All devices are part of the same server cluster”. This property will primarily be used during patching. This setting will prevent all machines in the collection from installing updates and restarting at the same time.
When you check this box, more options will appear allowing you to define the percentage of the cluster that can be offline at the same time. You will also have the ability to run pre and post patch scripts.
It’s worth noting that SCCM does not actually detect these system as clusters, so machines do not have to actually be in a cluster to use this setting. SCCM will simply treat them as such. For example, take you distribution points for example. You can add them all to a collection and define that collection as a cluster, that way SCCM will not patch and reboot all of them at the same time.
Application Catalog and Software Center
Another big change is that there will no longer be an application catalog web site and Software Center. Microsoft is combining these into one interface. This is not in a technical preview yet, so I have no further details on it.
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