Among a whole host of new management features, Service Pack 1 for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager adds the ability to now deploy and manage Windows 8 apps for enterprises. These Windows 8 apps could be internal apps that have been created by your corporate developers, or they could simply be published Windows Store apps that you have reviewed and would now like to distribute to your Windows 8 users.
In this article, I’ll step through the process of deploying internal Windows 8 apps and published Windows Store apps to users. If you’re familiar with prior releases of System Center 2012, you’ll note that this process is very similar to deploying traditional desktop apps to Windows clients – with some additional options to support the new Windows 8 app model.
At the end of this article, I’ll also provide some additional resources that I’d encourage you to leverage as part of this Migration and Deployment article series with my fellow IT Pro Technical Evangelists.
If you’d like to follow along with the steps in this article in your own lab environment, you may be interested in this additional Step-by-Step Guide, which will walk you through the process of building a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 pilot/demo lab for FREE in the cloud on our Windows Azure Virtual Machines cloud platform:
After building your lab environment, follow these steps to configure boundaries, boundary groups and the Application Catalog site system roles prior to beginning the exercises below.
In this article, we’ll walk through the end-to-end process of deploying two Windows 8 apps – one that is an example of an internally developed enterprise App and one that is an example of a published app on the Windows Store. As part of this process, we’ll organize the steps into the following exercises:
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.
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.
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.
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:
Do you have unique requirements or interesting usage scenarios for managing Windows 8 apps in your environment? Feel free to share your comments, ideas and questions below!
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Keith Mayer is a Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 20 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT Pros worldwide on design of enterprise technology solutions.
Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including Private Cloud, System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from VMware, IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.
You can contact Keith online at http://aka.ms/AskKeith.