Microsoft yesterday announced the release of beta 1 of the upcoming service pack for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (SCCM). SCCM provides configuration management, hardware/software asset management and patch deployment tools for Windows desktops and servers. Service Pack 1 will allow customers to install on top of and manage Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, both products already released last month.
Besides support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Service Pack 1 will provide the following additional functionality:
- Management of Mac OS X Client and Linux and UNIX Servers
- Automation through Windows PowerShell
- Distribution point hosted on Windows Azure, Microsofts public cloud
- Support for deploying Windows 8 apps
- Support deployment and management of Windows 8 to Go USB drives
- Manage policies for Windows 8 client side caching, roaming user profiles and folder redirection.
- Detection methods for 3G and 4G network connections, to prevent software delivery on networks which apply data charges.
- Support for Windows Embedded thin clients, Point of Sale terminals, digital signage, kiosks and ThinPCs, based on Windows Embedded Standard 8 expected to be released within three months of Windows 8 GA.
Service Pack 1 will also integrate Windows Intune into the Configuration Manager console. Windows Intune is Microsofts Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for managing devices via the Cloud, already supporting Android and iOS devices and will also be able to manage Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 in a next release. With this integration Microsoft can now provide a strong Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution supporting the most used mobile platforms either on- or off premise.
On the licensing front Microsoft is shifting from a per-device to a per-user licensing model, allowing each user to have 5 managed devices. Microsoft will also release a combined SCCM and Windows Intune license, more detailes about other licensing changes can be found here.