Bill Anderson talked this morning about System Center Configuration Manager.  Of course, the session started with the Top 10 list:

What other uses have you found for SCCM 2007?

10.  Use inventory to find out what music you have where.

9.  Use task sequences to operate the model railroad in your basement.

8.  Use daily mandatory advertisement to automate morning procedures.

7.  Inventory and metering to track electronic comic book collection.  (The picture of Ed is a new classic.)

6.  Use DCM to re-balance your stock portfolio.

5.  Inventory and NAP for (controlling/quarantine) kids.

4.  Inventory and distribution for wine cellar.

3.  Configuration Pack for MD-80 aircraft.

2.  SMS in the news.  (Ministers dismissed by SMS.  SMS the musical.  Man divorces two wives in three minutes using SMS.  Dead wife contacts man via SMS.)

1.  NAP for public restrooms.  (Finland's roadside toilets now accessible only by SMS.)

OK, so maybe you have to be there to appreciate the list :-)

Next up, Bill showed a video of Jarvis Davis's OS deployment capabilities at Campus Crusade for Christ, easily operated by his 5-year-old daughter.  I suspect you'll be able to watch this yourself soon :-)

On to the real content.  First, Bill is covering a lot of information, and while I can type quickly I still can't type as fast as he talks.  So I'll do my best in outline mode.  Bill summarized the last year since ConfigMgr 2007 has been released: 

  • ConfigMgr has 5.8 million lines of code with 3.2 million lines of test automation code and 2000 VMs running 40,000 test cases. 
  • 385 individual UI pieces used in 1100 different places
  • 2 million words of documentation as of SP1
  • 40+ TAP and RDP customers, with over 200,000 clients deployed prior to RTM, with 77 DCRs and 484 bugs filed as a result of TAP feedback.
  • MSIT has 2000,000 ConfigMgr clients with 2 hierarchies spanning 14 sites, using SUM, asset management, 140 software distributions.  Working on NAP, OSD, DCM, IBCM, Application Virtualization.
  • Software quality metrics sends data to Microsoft about your MMC and feature usage when you opt in.  Enable the "Customer Experience Improvement Program."
  • Support feedback:
    • 60-70% of support calls are advisory (asking for help, not bugs or problems)
    • See KB 945898 for info about a bug in the Offer Status Summarizer
    • New site deployment and SMS 2003 upgrade issues are common
    • Active directory schema extension issues
    • SQL issues with SPNs, accounts, name resolution
    • Client and network firewalls getting in the way
  • MyITForum.com and Technet.microsoft.com forums are very active
    • TechNet will be upgraded in the next 30-60 days
  • Scale and performance
    • Hardware and software inventory is multithreaded
    • Provider can run on a separate server
    • Less overhead with secondary sites since there are no more legacy clients
    • Site backup uses VSS and is very fast, offline for only a few minutes
    • State messages generate new load on ConfigMgr servers (client deployments, software updates, configuration baseline evaluations, CAL tracking) - stagger these if possible
    • Native mode adds 10-15% overhead on client
    • Consider placing SQL Server on a different server with a dedicated gigabit network link
    • Tune you I/O as ConfigMgr is I/O-heavy
    • Slight penalty running on 64-bit (WOW64), but not an issue with less than 50-70K machines
  • SDK released in Mach 2008
    • All areas documented: site server (SMS provider), admin UI, client SDK
    • Lots of additional documentation (400K words in SMS 2003, 1.1 million in ConfigMgr), twice as many of code snippets, 10 full samples, DCM authoring guides
  • Documentation improvements
    • Quizzes
    • Updated documentation provided through a hotfix - download from the download center
    • Superflows, providing interactive content (animation, hyperlinks, etc.) on the inner workings of various ConfigMgr functions - download these, even print them

Now, looking ahead:

  • ConfigMgr SP1
    • Six hotfixes and one customer DCR rolled in
    • Infrastructure to support R2 features
    • Windows Server 2008 support
    • Vista SP1 support details
    • Asset Intelligence 1.5
    • Intel AMT integration
  • ConfigMgr R2
    • Application virtualization management
    • Client status reporting
    • New OSD server provisioning scenarios
      • Multicast support
      • Unknown computer support
    • SQL Reporting Services support
    • Forefront Client security integration
  • Planning time
    • Requirements gathering, scenarios, functional specs, "passionate discourse" (arguing), customer visits, prototyping

Brady Richardson then gave a demonstration of a new prototype showing some thoughts around improving Desired Configuration Management: generating new DCM baselines automatically by watching the installation of an application (comparing before and after). 

Bill and Brady then talked about the main pillars for the next version of ConfigMgr:

  • Embracing the end-user of the future
  • Administrator experience
  • Simplifying
  • Do what we do today, better

Maybe by next year's MMS 2009 conference the full details for the next release of ConfigMgr will be available.

There are 42 breakout sessions and 23 hands-on labs related to ConfigMgr 2007 this week, as well as 20+ members of the ConfigMgr product group at the event.