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As of late Pierre Roman, Mitch Garvis, and I have enjoyed traveling the country delivering IT Pro Camps covering Windows 8 for Enterprise and Windows Server 2012. We have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with those of like minds eager to learn new strategies around deployment, securing and managing infrastructure. We are also delighted to engage in conversations, usually sparked by attendees, sharing best practices. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, Deployment & Management of Windows 8 Utilizing System Center 2012 SP1 Configuration Manager, we are currently building a new IT Pro Camp which will cover System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and we are excited to say the labs are coming together nicely.
The new management features found in Service Pack 1 for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager provides is the ability to manage and deploy Windows 8 apps for enterprises. This is one of the labs we find IT Pro "Campers" have been most interested in and is currently offered in the "Windows 8 for Enterprise" camp. Deploying apps via System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is a solution allowing the deployment of apps that could be internally developed by your own corporate developers, or the ability to push Windows Store apps reviewed by your organization and would now like to distribute said apps to your Windows 8 users. This lab will be tweaked in the upcoming System Center 2012 Configuration Manager camp to possibly deploy applications to more "devices" other than your standard Windows 8 fare. Full details will be made available as we get closer to launching the new camp.
Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Keith Mayer, has recently detailed the lab process of deploying internal Windows 8 apps and published Windows Store apps to Windows 8 machines. Those who are familiar with prior versions of System Center 2012 will notice that the process is similar to deploying traditional desktop apps to Windows clients, but with some added options to support the new Windows 8 app model. If you’d like to conduct the lab in your own environment, you may be interested in previous Step-by-Step blog post, Building a FREE System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 Lab, allowing you to build your own System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 lab for FREE in the cloud utilizing Windows Azure.
Details regarding the "Deploying Windows 8 Apps with System Center 2012 Service Pack 1" are as follows:
Exercise 1: Create Application for an internal Windows 8 app package (.appx package)
In this exercise, we’ll work through the process of defining an application in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 for an internally-developed Windows 8 app package that we wish to deploy to users. This process is used when deploying internal line-of-business applications that have been created as Windows 8 apps.
To get started, you’ll need a copy of a Windows 8 app package that one of your developers has created using Visual Studio 2012. Windows 8 App packages are stored as an .appx package file, and that’s what we’ll need to copy to a shared folder on our network to which the System Center site server and administrator both have Read access.
To get started with this exercise, login at the console of your lab System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 site server and launch the Configuration Manager Console.
You have completed the process for defining a new Windows 8 App for later deployment with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1.
Exercise 2: Create Application for published Windows Store app (deep link on Windows Store)
In this exercise, we’ll follow a similar process to Exercise 1 above, but this time we’ll be defining an application that is already published on the Windows Store for later deployment with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1. This process uses a “deep link” to a published Windows Store app and upon deployment will direct users to the specific app page on the Store so that users won’t need to manually search for the app. These steps are really useful when you’ve located a set of public apps on the Windows Store that you wish to make easily accessible to your users.
To get started, you’ll need to first manually install at least one Windows Store app on a Windows 8 PC, so that you can select it as part of the application definition process in the Configuration Manager Console.
You have completed the process for defining a new Windows Store App for later deployment with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1.
Exercise 3: Distribute Application Content to System Center Distribution Points
In this exercise, you will distribute the app package content for Windows 8 apps defined in prior exercises to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager distribution points. This will prepare the distribution points with a copy of each app package you wish to deploy.
Begin this exercise by launching the Configuration Manager Console as an administrator.
In this exercise, you completed the steps involved in distributing application content to System Center 2012 distribution points in preparation for later deployment of these applications to users.
Exercise 4: Deploy Applications to User Collections
In this exercise, you will deploy the applications defined and distributed in the prior exercises to a collection of users using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1.
To learn more about the other new features in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1, be sure to check out these additional resources:
Let us know if you have unique requirements or interesting usage scenarios for managing Windows 8 apps in your environment. Share your comments, ideas and questions below as Pierre Roman, Mitch Garvis, and I look forward to the conversation.