Monday 2 July 2012

Configuration Manager 2012 - Wally Mead's TechEd in a day (UK)

Just after finishing his sessions at TechEd Europe and on his way home Cliff Hobs and 1E hijacked Wally Mead and persuaded him to present a compressed version of his TechEd content to a small UK audience.
I was lucky enough to attend and here's my notes from the day.

Session Agenda:
  • Infrastructure Simplification and Hierarchy Design Considerations
  • Forest Discovery and Boundary Groups
  • SQL Replication
  • Client Agent Settings
  • Role-Based Administration
  • What's Coming in SP1
System Center 2012 ConfigMgr is all about:
  1. Empowering the user - User centric management/deployment
  2. Unify Infrastructure - Reduce costs by simplifying
  3. Simplify Administration - Better console, Role based security, client health etc.
Infrastructure Promises
  • Modernise the Infrastructure - Minimise Remote Office requirements
  • Consolidate - Role Based Access, language neutral, collection based agent settings
  • Scalability - SQL Replication
Most of this session is actually covered in my previous "A Day with Wally Mead" post here:

The rest of this post will cover some of the upcoming SP1 features that were covered first at TechEd and then again today with a little more clarification

SQL Replication Compression:
  • This can be enabled per link, initial tests show a big decrease in traffic, with slight increase on CPU usage for decompression.
  • Also the ability to set number of retention days for replicated data before a full sync is required, useful for occasionally disconnected site servers (think cruise liner ship) .

SQL Distributed views:
  • Allows a view of data from one site to another using a query that retrieves data on-demand, replication is turned off
  • When enabled, no site data (hinv, sinv, and metering data) is replicated or stored at the CAS
  • Saves on data storage and link traffic
  • Requires a good, reliable connection between SQL Servers for sites where distributed views are enabled

Hierarchy Expansion:
  • Ability to add a CAS after installation of Primary to help with expansions scenarios but only for one primary.  A second primary would need a new primary to be built and joined then a migration from the old primary to the new primary.
  • Some roles such as Software Update and Asset Intelligence that can only live on a CAS in a hierarchy will need remediating before expansion and you will be prompted about these when attempting an expansion.  It's also possible that other things may require some post expansion work.
Site to Site Migration:
  • To help with expansion scenarios, migrating from one 2012 site to a new 2012 site has been made easier.
 User Profile and Data Management:
  • Group Policy settings for folder redirection, caching etc now a configurable option within ConfigMgr under Settings Management and is for Windows 8 clients only that now expose this setting/information within WMI

Big Green Button (not an official feature name!):
  • Ability to force clients to go download EndPoint definitions "NOW". Basically creates a TCP connection to force clients to poll for definitions within a couple of minutes rather than waiting for normal policy schedule. Useful for malware outbreaks.
  • This may be extended for other client policy features later, but time scale currently undetermined.
App-V feature changes:
  • New Deployment Type for App-V 5 - required due to new appx file type.
  • No present ability to use App-V 5 Shared Cache feature
  • App-V 4.6 SP2 (for Windows 8 support)
  • Connection Groups to allow different App-V packages to interact without having to force repackaging - requires App-V 5.
OSD feature changes:
  • Bitlocker changes - TPM and PIN & Used Space Bitlocker
  • UEFI Support and new tasks within OSD task sequences
  • New "Only media and PXE (hidden)" option for task sequence deployment.  Great for making a task sequence available for all devices for re-imaging without having to add clients to a re-image collection and without accidentally re-imaging all devices!
  • Boot Images - ability to add additional components like hta apps without having to manually mount the image, console GUI interface.
Other SP1 Features with self explanatory information but with more updated information than previously available.
  • Windows 8/Server 2012 Deployment Support
  • Connected Standby and Data connection (3G/metered connections) aware - i.e. don't download 8Gb over 3G connection or don't do inventory when in connected standby.
  • Ability to deploy Windows 8 To Go
  • Around 23 flavours of Linux Support - Inventory and Software Distribution
  • Unix Support - Inventory and Software Distribution
  • Mac OSX 10.6 & 10.7 Support including Inventory, Software Distribution and EndPoint Protection Support but not Remote Control
  • New  "required" Deployment Type OSX Software - dng, mpg, pig & .app
  • Deep links for Metro apps via the online Microsoft store
  • Deploy Windows 8 Metro apps directly from ConfigMgr to devices/users
  • Further e-mail notification support/options - subscriptions for ANY alert rather than just EndPoint currently
  • Multiple select within software centre to install multiple applications
  • Software Update changes, including the ability to fall back to Windows Update for content even for "intranet" based clients and multiple syncs per day for EndPoint Protection Definition Updates.
  • Powershell cmdlets 400 - "Boatloads" (That's a Wally quote!). Aim is to provide all console admin types
  • Client Side merge of Anti Malware policies

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