This week we are extremely pleased to release Beta 2 of Configuration Manager 2012.  We thought it would be helpful to provide a technical introduction to the product, and share with you some places and programs you can use to get your hands on it.

The main engineering investments for ConfigMgr 2012 are:

  • User Empowerment – Recognizing the Consumerization of IT for organizations means delivering a platform that enables you to manage your users where/when they want to work, on the devices they choose.  This means providing capabilities to support users in new scenarios like mobile, remote and more.  Through the power of a new application model ConfigMgr 2012 can deliver the right application format – called a Deployment Type (MSI, AppV, Mobile CAB, and more) based on who the user is, the device they are on, and the connection they have.  Through detection methodology, this scenario and resulting application delivery is calculated at run time to ensure the best experience possible, the right requirements are met, and the user gets their app in the best experience possible.  This is also presented to users through a web browser based software catalog.  Through the new console for ConfigMgr 2012, these global applications can be viewed in their relationships, so Administrators are equipped to be able to think about their users and the different scenarios. 
  • Unify Infrastructure – In order to truly deliver many new features but at the same time reducing infrastructure footprint, and complexity, ConfigMgr 2012 integrates device, virtualization and security management.  From treating devices as first class citizens in places like the application model, to integrating true virtualization delivery mechanisms, and aligning Forefront Endpoint Protection in 1 pane of glass, will ensure organizations experience a simpler infrastructure.  In addition, new features like Role Based Administration, new Client Agent settings at the Collection level, and investments in SQL will enable organizations to flatten their hierarchy, reduce server footprint, and simplify their architectures.  All of this adds up to some significant improvements for the administrator, and the organization. 
  • Simplify Administration – Through the automation of tasks like software update deployment, and the auto remediation of non compliant settings, ConfigMgr 2012 will reduce mouse clicks, and processes that Administrators typically go through.  Software Update Management now has a capability called Auto Deployment Rules, that allow automation from the point of update availability to flow through the infrastructure to the target systems.  These rules can be defined at any level an update is categorized.  Product, Language, Severity are examples of how updates might be categorized.  Building on a feature from ConfigMgr 2007 called DCM (Desired Configuration Management) ConfigMgr 2012 will now add the ability to remediate non compliant CI’s, or entire Baselines.  Much like how Group Policy behaves, ConfigMgr 2012 Settings Management will enable organizations to define how an OS, App or setting should be configured, and simply allow that 1 time setting to remain in constant compliance.  Efficiency is driven at 2 levels.  Efficiency for the Administrator, and new efficiencies for the actual network infrastructure.  Both of these drive time, cost and other resource savings that are worth checking out.

We hope you can take a look at ConfigMgr 2012.  This beta 2 release is full of new features, capabilities and efficiencies.  Check out our new console, the cool ribbon 1 click actions, and the new enhancements around our capabilities.  Here are some resources for you to get going today:

  • Introduction to Configuration Manager 2012   - link
  • What’s New in Configuration Manager 2012  - link
  • Fundamentals of Configuration Manager 2012  - link
  • Download the ConfigMgr Beta 2 here
  • Join our 800 friends in the Community Evaluation Program here
  • Check out our Virtual Labs on Technet here (currently based on Beta 1, update coming soon)
  • Download a pre configured Virtual Machine here (currently based on Beta 1, update coming soon)

me15Jeff Wettlaufer
Sr Technical Product Manager
System Center, Management and Security Division
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