Hey everyone, a few weeks ago we released a beta of the new P2V tool for OS Deployment. We are really pleased to update that information with a beta refresh, Beta 2. The P2V Migration for Software Assurance can now be implemented using System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Operating System Deployment as well as native Lite Touch Installation with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010. Computer refresh, replace and restore task sequence templates for Configuration Manager are included and documented in this Beta release.
Additional optimizations beyond Configuration Manager functionality included in this release are:
You can find the Beta Download here
Jeff Wettlaufer Sr Technical Product Manager System Center, Management and Security Division
The Microsoft® Forefront™ team is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for participation in the Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 Community Evaluation Program (CEP). The goal of this program is to provide early adopters a streamlined approach to evaluating Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 (FEP).
For customer and partners who want to efficiently manage implementation, test scenarios, discover and contribute to best practices, the CEP provides a structured approach for connecting with the product group and a community of peers. As a member of the Forefront Endpoint Protection CEP community, you will be asked to participate through the sharing of your learnings, questions, and experiences.
Here is what you can expect from the program:
· Guided Learning/Evaluation Theme Activities
· Participation in Theme Activities
· Product Bits (Evaluation version) **
· Implementation of FEP in test environment
· Product Group Access via Virtual Chalk Talks
· Sharing of Best Practices
· Forefront Community Access
· Willingness to Share Experiences
Want to be involved?
If you are interested in participating in the program, please contact your Microsoft account team or visit the Forefront Connect site (you will need to create a Live ID Account if you do not already have one to join Microsoft Connect) and fill out the Forefront Community Evaluation Program Application by October 1st. Applications will continue to be accepted throughout the program, but members added after the program kick-off October 5th, will be expected to move through the bi-weekly themes at their own pace.
Please note: Submitting an application does not guarantee participation in this program. All rights of selection are reserved by the Forefront Endpoint Protection CEP to ensure we have the broadest possible distribution of participants.
Jeff Wettlaufer Sr Technical Product Manager System Center, Management and Security Division
In this video Jeff Wettlaufer, Sr. Technical Product Manager for System Center speaks with Verdiem VP Marketing Brett Goodwin about the Energy Management capabilities delivered in the Verdiem ‘Surveyor’ technology.
Verdiem had an interesting story about their view on what they call Energy Management. First, their ROI is around 6-12 months. Next they generate the visibility of an organization’s carbon footprint. In addition, extending the network services (like patch) and finally, remaining non disruptive to users are goals of Surveyor. As Brett explains in the video, their focus is a 3 phased approach, with Phase 1 being systems management, but then extending beyond just that space to (Phase 2) include energy management for things like Power over Ethernet devices (Switches, Routers, Printers, VOIP phones etc) and then extending towards IT energy and building management systems (Phase 3) . So, systems management is a great first step, but they see their mission as a much broader landscape. Today they extend Configuration Manager with their Surveyor product, adding capability like centralized policy management. additional reporting, a Sustainability Dashboard, and patch management and software updates through synchronous wakeup of PCs.
For more information:
Jeff Wettlaufer Sr Technical Product Manager System Center, Management and Security Division
In this video Jeff Wettlaufer, Sr. Technical Product Manager for System Center speaks with Deepak Kumar, CTO and Founder of Adaptiva. Jeff and Deepak talk about the extensions delivered by the Adaptiva ‘Green Planet’ technology for System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 and the new Power Management capabilities.
Adaptive bring to market 3 products, Green Planet, Client Health and 1 Site. The intention of Green Planet (the focus of this video) is to bring to mainstream ‘Green IT’. Driving centralized Power Management. using Remote Wakeup technology, flexible schedule and user support as well as enabling a user experience to support individual preferences help drive a User Centric focus to Power Management. In addition, adding Patch cycle support helps ensure reliability for ConfigMgr software update services. This also allows for data management through reboots.
In this video Jeff Wettlaufer, Sr. Technical Product Manager for System Center speaks with Dave Lippa, Solution Engineer for 1E. Jeff and Dave talk about the extensions delivered by the 1E ‘Nighwatchman’ technology for System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 and the new Power Management capabilities.
Jeff and Dave talk about the 1E product lineup, specifically what Nightwatchman delivers for Power Management. This product ‘extends’ ConfigMgr, and can use a 1E product called Wakeup (outside of local Windows Wake Timer technology or System Center Wake on LAN technology) to assist with ensuring systems are up when needed. 1E adds to ConfigMgr ‘administrative flexibility’ as well as ‘end user empowerment’, and ‘reporting’ for Power Management services.
For more information:
Hey everyone, we have had some questions about what program means what, and what is the best way to evaluate, or provide feedback on System Center Configuration Manager v.Next technology. The list below attempts to position the different programs available and what they involve. The CEP is effectively a replacement for the RDP program, which will not be run for ConfigMgr v.Next (in case you were waiting for that to be announced).
A lot of people have asked about support and feedback. In each of the program descriptions below, we have stated what support looks like. We would highly recommend the use of Connect to provide feedback. We have dedicated Premier Support engineers to manage feedback submissions through the Connect Portal. These can be submitted at any time through the Connect Portal, which is a perpetual ‘Open Beta’ program designed to collect feedback even after RTM.
With respect to the TAP program below, the TAP for Beta 1 is currently closed, however the TAP nomination process will reopen in October for Beta 2.
Open Beta Program How do you join? - This is an open beta, broadly available to the general public. There are no commitments that come with the download outside of the EULA. What is the format of the program? - Simply download the install source, install it into your lab environment, and evaluate the capabilities. What is this program designed for? - This evaluation is a no commitment, freely available download of the beta product. There are no expectations, deployment targets, or requirements aside from the EULA. Is there a feedback loop to the product team? - Yes, submitted through the Connect portal Is it supported? - Yes, only for Lab or non production usage. This support for Open Beta is through Connect hosted Newsgroups. Product bugs or suggestions can be submitted through Connect. Link for more information - Download the beta here
VHD Test Drive Program How do you join? -Freely available Virtual Machine available for download by the general public What is the format of the program? - This is a download simply available to the general public of a pre configured VM What is this program designed for? - This evaluation is a pre configured HyperV based Virtual Machine of 1 site installation of ConfigMgr v.Next. It saves the setup time and provides a VM for instant use. Is there a feedback loop to the product team? - Yes, feedback can be submitted through the Connect portal like for public beta Is it supported? - Yes, only for Lab or non production usage. This support for the VHD Program is through Connect hosted Newsgroups. Product bugs or suggestions can be submitted through Connect. Link for more information - Download the VM through here
Community Evaluation Program (CEP) How do you join? - Complete the nomination survey What is the format of the program? - This is a bi monthly series of webcasts led by Subject Matter experts on various Configuration Manager v.Next topics. What is this program designed for? - This evaluation program is designed as a series of experiences to learn about the next release of ConfigMgr. For customers and partners who want to efficiently manage implementation, test scenarios, discover and contribute to best practices, the CEP provides a structured approach for connecting with the product group and a community of peers. Members of the CEP community will be asked to participate through the sharing of learnings, questions and experiences. Is there a feedback loop to the product team? - Yes, feedback can be submitted through the Connect portal like for public beta. The Product Team will attend and collect feedback from the CEP community on a session by session basis. Is it supported? - Yes, only for Lab or non production usage. Support for CEP is through Connect hosted Newsgroups as well as the CEP community participants. Product bugs or suggestions can be submitted through Connect. Link for more information - Complete the nomination survey here, read the blog post here.
Technology Adoption Program (TAP) How do you join? Apply through a nomination survey form, or invited to participate by the product group. Program participants are selected based on program goals and test/validation plans. What is the format of the program? This is a highly structured program where the participating organization engages the product team to help test, and validate use case scenarios. Effectively, the TAP is designed to help test the product, and provide inbound feedback and validation directly to the product team in a production environment. What is this program designed for? This product validation program is owned and run by the product engineering team to help test the product before a broader public beta. TAP is done very early in the development phase, usually pre Beta 1, and is designed to help make sure the product works in real world scenarios. Product team members are assigned an organization to work with (1:1, maybe 1:2) and test certain scenarios in production. The program lasts through to RTM, and there are deployment agreements as well as other deliverables such as Evidence, case studies and PR. The TAP is not for everyone, participation is selected usually from a large list of interested organizations, and the requirements to participate are very involved. Is there a feedback loop to the product team? Yes, heavily based on feedback with customers in the use case testing, the TAP is designed as an important feedback source to product development Is it supported? Yes the TAP carries specific support agreements for the TAP program members. Link for more information -Link to Nomination Survey is here. More information about the Microsoft TAP program can be found here.
Hi everyone, we continue our series today with some implementation coverage of the Power Management features in R3.
Monitor Current Power Usage and Settings - Successful implementation of a client power management plan ideally requires multiple phases. During the first phase, existing power usage, system power settings, and CO2 emissions are measured to create a baseline. This information is obtained from deployed Configuration Manager Clients that have Power Management enabled and that gather the information and store it within the central Configuration Manager database and reporting warehouse. For example, activity levels across machines are measured throughout peak and non-peak periods, and can be graphed with out-of-the-box charts such as the one in Figure 1
Figure 1: Reporting on Power Usage During Peak and Non-Peak Times
Creating a baseline analysis of current power management settings can also help to determine if there will be any negative impact from implementing power management settings. For example, some organizations, intent on initiating a policy to shut down monitors after 15 minutes of non-use, may find that the majority of their user population has their systems set to shut down after five minutes. In this example, implementation of the new policy would result in an increase in power consumption. Gaining the knowledge of current settings and configuration is subsequently critical for understanding the impact of changes.
The baseline generated can be used to make intelligent decisions about when to implement policies, what periods of time are considered peak and non-peak, and what hardware is not compliant with specific power policies. The initial baseline power and CO2 emissions reports can also be used to demonstrate the eventual power and carbon footprint reductions achieved by the power management initiative. This creates hard data that illustrates the total cost savings achieved and generates evidence that can be used to illustrate the direct cost savings aspects of power management.
Analyze Power Trends and Define Policies - After the initial phase of analyzing current settings and power usage, the information gathered can be used to make decisions on what policies will be enacted. During this phase, key decisions as to the number of policies, exceptions, hours of enforcement, and individual power settings for each policy can be made.
Configuration Manager 2007 R3 ships with sets of averages for various hardware types and software versions, and common power configurations so organizations can compare existing power consumption against expected policy and eventual power savings. This information can be used to create a much more tailored power management policy than could be made if settings were enacted without this knowledge
Apply and Enforce Policies - The implementation phase of a power management policy process involves putting the newly created power policies in place. Policies can be tested as part of an initial pilot and deployed at a speed comfortable to the organization. Once a successful pilot has been implemented, the policies can be deployed to the remaining workstations.
Policies can be enforced so that no changes can be made, or they can be set to allow for individual overrides. This can all be done on a per-policy basis, so full flexibility, opt-out capability, and risk mitigation can be achieved.
Check Compliance and Report Power and CO2 Emission Savings - Once policies are in place, Configuration Manager 2007 R3 will continue to track power consumption and settings on all managed clients. This information can be stored for years in the data warehouse, giving a long-term look at power reductions and CO2 emission savings, such as those illustrated in the chart in Figure 2. The environmental impact reports can be easily customized to reflect the specific CO2 rating that is applied to a particular geographical area
Post implementation reports can subsequently be used as direct evidence of cost savings, as the power figures can be turned into dollar amounts. In addition, the effects of any modifications or fine-tuning of policies can be identified with the historical graphs.
Figure 2: CO2 Emission Savings Report from Configuration Manager 2007 R3
Some resources for you:
Good morning everyone, starting with yesterday’s introduction to what is it and why is Power Management important, we thought we would continue our series on Power Management and talk about what are the typical issues, challenges or blockers IT face when trying to implement Power Management policy. In this post, we will cover some common areas that can prevent an organization from implementing and benefitting from centralized power policy management.
The Risk of Data Corruption – Organizations tell us that several factors have traditionally effected efforts to implement client power management. One of the most common factors has been a fear that power management could cause data corruption of open files or processes on client PCs. Some of these fears were developed from real scenarios of aggressive tools which forced specific applications or services to shut down to conserve power.
Power management with System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 takes a conservative approach to enabling power savings. The intent in R3 is to drive systems to hibernation (sleep) not power off. Power policies can be created that do not completely shut systems off, but instead, lower power consumption on components during idle periods and put systems into sleep mode instead of turning them completely off. Sleep mode saves as much power as shutting systems fully down, but does not carry the same risk of data corruption that can be associated with forced shutdowns. Configuration Manager 2007 R3 provides the necessary engine to set and configure Windows power policies centrally on clients rather than taking stricter measures to enforce power policies. If employees use a device during off-hours, they are still able to work without worrying about their systems shutting down unexpectedly.
Off-hours Maintenance Needs - Another common barrier to the enactment of power consumption policies is the need to perform system maintenance, patch software, or run nightly scheduled routines on systems during idle periods. These needs have previously led to policies that kept systems on 24 hours a day, to ensure that enough time is available for necessary maintenance windows.
Configuration Manager 2007 R3 does not turn systems off—it puts them to sleep, allowing them to be patched and maintained on demand. Through the use of wake timers, a native function of Windows, the machines can be set to wake themselves up at various points in the evening and check for updates or software. When the ‘wake up‘ is complete, the machine will go back to sleep. This eliminates the need for leaving a machine fully powered during idle periods. This also removes the requirement for Wake on LAN or similar technology to be running in the infrastructure, by utilizing base Windows features in local policy to wake up the system.
Exceptions and Critical Systems - Most organizations have at least some systems which fall into the exception category. In certain cases, there are systems that are required to be turned on and fully available at all hours. Other systems may not have necessary compliant hardware for power management. Adoption of comprehensive power management policies in the past has not always taken into account these types of exceptions, which has slowed adoption of the concept.
Creating exception power policies with Configuration Manager 2007 R3 is inherent in the product, and relatively straightforward to implement. Systems can be ‘opted-out’ of power management as necessary, and various departments or business units can have different policies depending on their needs. In addition, out-of–the-box System Center allows for two sets of power management policies for all client behavior: one for peak periods and one for non-peak periods. This is in addition to also when on AC or battery power. This allows for more aggressive power management policies to be enacted at night during non-peak periods, with more relaxed settings to be in place during the day.
Providing Power Management in Mixed Client Environments - Configuration Manager 2007 R3 is specifically designed to work with the power management capabilities built into the Windows 7 operating system. Windows 7 provides the best platform for power management, with considerable emphasis placed on optimization of power settings and providing granular control over individual power-consuming devices on the system. While Configuration Manager 2007 R3 provides the most comprehensive control over Windows 7 clients, it is also designed to work well in mixed environments with older versions of Windows such as Windows XP or Windows Vista®, taking full advantage of the power management capabilities in each version and allowing for the creation of power policies that can be applied across multiple versions.
We have plenty more to come on this topic, stay tuned……
For many years, IT client power management has been an area of challenge for many organizations. While energy-saving desktop and laptop hardware has been available for some time, power-saving settings are often disabled out of fears of data corruption, to support nightly IT operations, or simply from force of habit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that no more than 10 percent of all Enterprise PCs in use have their power management capabilities turned on—a staggering statistic considering the headway that has been made in other areas of power reduction in the data center and in building facilities. At the same time, over 80 percent of desktops in most organizations are completely idle after 6:30 P.M. Quite literally, “The lights are on, but no one‘s home.” All of this contributes to the inability of organizations to take advantage of the energy savings, carbon output reductions, and significant cost savings that are possible with enterprise power management.
System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 provides a comprehensive set of power management tools to enable centralized client power management. Configuration Manager 2007 R3 tools allow organizations to monitor current power usage patterns, develop intelligent power management policies, apply and enforce those policies, and provide robust reports against subsequent power savings and carbon footprint reductions.
With these tools, organizations are also able to develop flexible power management strategies that make sense, giving them the ability to think about how and when their users work, create policy exceptions for critical systems or tools to enforce different power settings for peak and non-peak periods.
Conserving power at the desktop level translates not only into potential cost savings through power consumption reduction; it also has the side effect of helping to reduce the overall carbon footprint of an organization. This, in turn, provides for greater movement toward green IT principles and, in the process, can help to make many organizations eligible for utility company rebates and refunds that may apply.
Client power management with Configuration Manager 2007 R3 can yield immediate and substantial cost savings with minimal effort and expense.
Why Is Power Management Important?
Energy Cost Savings - The most common driving force behind power management in many organizations is simple economics. Workstations use energy to spin hard drives, light monitors, and burn CPU cycles when not in use drain unnecessary power, resulting in higher energy bills. For a significant portion of the day, this equipment is unused and simply draining unnecessary power. Being able to manage the power settings of client systems centrally, making intelligent decisions about when a system needs to be powered or when power consumption can be throttled down can have a significant positive impact on the bottom line of an organization, particularly in a global economy where energy costs are significantly increasing.
Carbon Footprint Reduction - While often not the primary driver, a welcome benefit to overall energy reductions is a subsequent reduction in the carbon footprint that an organization places on the environment. The majority of power generated requires the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) in varying amounts, depending on the process used to generate the electricity. Wasted power subsequently means that more CO2 was released into the atmosphere than may have been required. Power management can subsequently allow an organization to demonstrate that it is making strides toward reducing its carbon footprint and implementing greener IT practices.
Energy and Utility Rebates - For many organizations, local power utilities have programs in place that offer electricity power reductions when specific energy reduction thresholds have been met or when implementing power-saving mechanisms such as client power management. For many of these utilities, there is a reporting aspect to the rebates which must be satisfied, and some require up to three years of reports to comply with the rebate requirements. Implementing power management techniques that allow for long-term reporting is required for the realization of these benefits.
Look for more to come on this topic, have a great week……..
Hey everyone, following from Bill’s post on User Centric, we have also posted a video online demonstrating RBA, or Role Based Administration in ConfigMgr v.Next.
What is RBA? RBA a simplified administration of security permissions within the ConfigMgr environment. This allows organizations to use Security Roles to group sets of permissions together that collectively define an administrative span of control.
There are 13 out of the box (in the current beta) and these are customizable, or can be added to for additional role definition. The end goal is to show what is relevant to the person doing the work, without distracting them , or creating a situation where something can happen.