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SCCM Rolls Up to Windows 10 1511 Release Level

On December 8, 2015, Microsoft announced the release of a new version of its System Center Configuration Manager (the SCCM I used in the title of this post, for brevity’s sake). There’s some interesting stuff here, not least of which is that the product now explicitly references Windows 10, to the point of assuming Version 1511 as part of the product’s identification. An SSCM Team Blog post labels the platform as “System Center Configuration Manager and Endpoint Protection (Version 1511)” for which trial (or licensed) versions are available for download from the  Microsoft Evaluation Center, MSDN, and/or the Volume Licensing Service Center. Here’s a relevant graphic from the video included in that PR piece:

Lots of former functionality gets dropped from this release, as Windows 10 support gets added.

By far, the most interesting coverage of this latest version of SCCM appears in TechNet, under the heading of “What’s new in System Center Configuration Manager,” also updated on 12/8/2015. Here are some snippets from that page:

Starting with this release, SCCM drops the year or product identifier from its name, as was previously the case with versions such as Configuration Manager 2007 or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. As the 1511 nomenclature in the current name, SCCM will now support “incremental in-product updates, also called update versions.”

In-console updates for Configuration Manager will be used to install new update versions, to be released periodically, and will includes product updates and sometimes, “new features you can choose to use (or not use) in your deployment.”

Service Connection Point replaces Microsoft Intune Connector.

Usage data about sites and infrastructure will be compiled and submitted to the MS cloud service by the service connection point. It is “required to enable Configuration Manager to download updates for your deployment that apply to the version of Configuration Manager you use.”

Native support for Intel Active Management Technology (AMT) has been removed from Configuration Manager. Going forward, continuing with AMT will require using the Intel SCS Add-on for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. A complete list of removed and deprecated features for SCCM is available online, and includes dropping XP and Vista on the desktop, and Server 2003 and 2003 R2, along with various Mac OS X versions (10.6-10.8), Nokia Symbian Belle, and Windows CE 5.0-6.0.

A new task sequence to upgrade an OS from an upgrade package has been added, to upgrade PCs from Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 to Windows 10. A Windows PE peer cache has been added to minimize WAN traffic when deploying in branch office situations. Also, support for Windows as a Service is now a valid method for managing Windows in SCCM.

There are lots of new enhancements for application management in the latest SCCM version, including support for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, installer-based apps, in-house iOS apps, and more.

For all the details, please visit the “What’s New…” page.