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ConfigMgr: ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 and ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 Now Available

SP1/SP2 for ConfigMgr 2012 has been released.

Read more from the ConfigMgr Team Blog here.

Following the announcements made at the Microsoft Ignite conference last week, we are happy to let you know that System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2 are now generally available and can be downloaded on the Microsoft Evaluation Center. These service packs deliver full compatibility with existingfeatures for Windows 10 deployment, upgrade, and management.

Also included in these service packs are new hybrid features for customers using System Center Configuration Manager integrated with Microsoft Intune to manage devices. Some of the hybrid features that you can expect to see are conditional access policy, mobile application management, and support for Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP). You can view the full list of hybrid features included in these service packs here.

Below are a few additional links that you may find helpful as you begin to explore these new releases.

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ConfigMgr/Intune: Ignite 2015 Sessions

Here are the sessions of note for Ignite 2015 around Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune. Links to Channel9 to watch the recording are below.

Managing Windows 10 with Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager

Excited about the new Windows 10 features? We are as well! Join this session to learn about how Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager are going to support and enhance new features coming in Windows 10.

What’s New and Upcoming with Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager

This session outlines the latest enhancements in enterprise mobility management using Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager. See the newest Microsoft Intune improvements for managing mobile productivity without compromising compliance, and learn about the futures of Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

Managing Your Datacenter with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager

Is deploying, updating, and maintaining configuration compliance still a challenge in your datacenter environment? Join this session to learn how System Center Configuration Manager along with the other components of System Center can make your life easier by addressing these common challenges. We share with you lessons learned from customer deployments, common industry practices, and provide insights into what is coming in the future.

What’s New with OSD in System Center Configuration Manager and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

This session covers future improvements for deployment and upgrade in the next versions of System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), and Windows. Learn how Microsoft is gearing up to make the deployment and upgrade of the next version of Windows using Configuration Manager or MDT the easiest yet.

Configuring Corporate-Owned Mobile Devices with Microsoft Intune

Not all mobile devices are personally owned. Often, corporations own the devices and issue them to end users. It’s up to the IT Pro to configure these devices. Intune makes it easy for IT Pros to provision, configure, and manage corporate-owned devices. In this session, learn how to use Apple Configurator to bulk-enroll iOS devices, how to tightly control device usage, and how to pre-provision apps and policies to devices. We walk you through how Microsoft Intune enables IT Pros to keep devices secure and managed, while enabling end users to be productive.

Evolving Mobile Application Management for BYOD Devices with Microsoft Intune

Protecting company assets on mobile devices will continue to grow as a crucial challenge to IT in 2015. In this session, you’ll see the latest advancements in Microsoft Intune’s Mobile Application Management solution. The focus will be on two differentiating technologies: first, enforcing application management for specific identities to ensure company assets are protected and personal assets remain under user control; and second, enabling application-level data protection independent of MDM. This session will include both a discussion of the features and capabilities as well as a demonstrations of these scenarios in key Microsoft applications.

Deep Dive on Android and iOS Device Management with Microsoft Intune

Do you manage Apple devices in an enterprise or educational environment? How about Android? Do you think they’re fully secured? Think again. In this deep dive session we will provide insights into managing mobile devices using Microsoft Intune and the MDM channel. This session will dive into advanced topics like Supervised mode, Apple Configurator, jailbreak detection as well as new Android features. We will also provide a first glimpse into managing Mac OS X devices using the modern MDM functionality of Microsoft Intune, rounding out Intune support for every major platform.

Configuring Corporate-Owned Mobile Devices with Microsoft Intune

Not all mobile devices are personally owned. Often, corporations own the devices and issue them to end users. It’s up to the IT Pro to configure these devices. Intune makes it easy for IT Pros to provision, configure, and manage corporate-owned devices. In this session, learn how to use Apple Configurator to bulk-enroll iOS devices, how to tightly control device usage, and how to pre-provision apps and policies to devices. We walk you through how Microsoft Intune enables IT Pros to keep devices secure and managed, while enabling end users to be productive.

Building Out a Successful Microsoft Intune Pilot

Are you planning to pilot or deploy Microsoft Intune and looking for straight forward technical guidance to help you accelerate these efforts? Please join the Intune Engineering Customer Acceleration Team as they share their extensive Intune implementation experience working with customers from all over the world. During this session the team will share their experiences, covering the end to end implementation process, from planning, architecture, deployment and management. At the end of this session you will have everything you will need to successfully deploy Intune in your environment, even if you have no prior knowledge or experience with Intune.

Evolving Mobile Application Management for BYOD Devices with Microsoft Intune

Protecting company assets on mobile devices will continue to grow as a crucial challenge to IT in 2015. In this session, you’ll see the latest advancements in Microsoft Intune’s Mobile Application Management solution. The focus will be on two differentiating technologies: first, enforcing application management for specific identities to ensure company assets are protected and personal assets remain under user control; and second, enabling application-level data protection independent of MDM. This session will include both a discussion of the features and capabilities as well as a demonstrations of these scenarios in key Microsoft applications.

Device and Data Protection with Mobile Device Management in Office 365

In this session we dive deep into mobile device and data management for Office 365. This includes our new MDM for Office 365 feature and application management with Microsoft Intune. Both of these features now include conditional access to Office 365 data so you can protect Office 365 content on any device with ease!

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Microsoft Ignite: One Geeks Take On the Conference

There is no denying the fact the conference was popular. 23,000 people don’t show up if it doesn’t at least look good on paper. Microsoft condensed their events into a single event/conference, so this first year (2015) is somewhat of a “pilot” I feel like. The ultimate question(s) is what do most people think, and whether they would come back next year or go to other conferences…

The good:
Product announcements: This is the flagship conference for Microsoft, so all the big product news more or less lands here.

Streaming: Great for people who couldn’t attend, great for people who can’t decide between sessions, and great if you missed a session.

Technical crossover: Due to the wide variety of people attending, you’ve got some developers, SQL guru’s and others that you wouldn’t normally have, at say an Infrastructure based conference. There are also more C and D level people attending sessions.

Expo: Probably one of the biggest Expo’s I’ve seen. Talking with vendors they received 3x or greater traffic than at TechEd. It remains to be seen if the percentage of good leads increased as well, or if it was just freebie junkies who really like color changing pencils (great for kids) or cloud erasers (to erase away your cloud fears).

Microsoft Staff: Due to the conference being what it is, the who’s who of Microsoft is in attendance. A lot of product group staff and others were available in booths and Q&A sessions.

The bad:
Food: Everyone has a different take on this, some people will eat nearly anything. A poll on yammer pretty much sums it up though.

Lines: I hope you like lines, because there are a lot of them. That’s what happens when you shove 23k people into any spot. Lines everywhere.

Bathrooms: Never before has mankind (stress on on the word “man”) had to wait so long to use a restroom. It’s payback for all the years we looked at women standing in line and snickered. Some clever marketing person also though it apparently should be a scavenger hunt to find a restroom. Hint: The best bathrooms were below the expo hall, those were the biggest.

Technical depth: Presenters need to be realistic about the session level, I sat in many that were allegedly 300 that I would have barely called a 50. I also talked with many other people and got responses on Twitter confirming the same feelings I had. I have no issues with level 100/200 sessions, they serve their purpose. However, lets label them correctly so people can decide for themselves what they want to go to. Overall I think the conference lacked technical depth, at least for System Center focused people, a lot of overview sessions and intro sessions, no 400/500 level. However, I don’t think that was the main focus for the conference, it just didn’t have the technical depth I’ve seen at other conferences.

Streaming: Good and bad, on the bad side, you can stream everything after 24 hours, so why do you really need to even be at the conference? (Of course the answer is to get out of the office, to meet fellow IT professionals and hope to learn new things)

Venue: McCormick is a BIG place, it’s confusing to find the rooms and get around. You also can easily spend 30 minutes walking from one side to the other to catch sessions. Many people complained about having to leave sessions early to get to the next one early so you wouldn’t get turned away (yup that happened).

Location: McCormick is downtown, but not “downtown” downtown. So even if you wanted to get food somewhere else, you couldn’t just walk to a restaurant. There was a Starbucks, a little convenience cafe (sandwich on a shelf), and a McDonalds. Ok there was a restaurant in the Hyatt as well, but that was a secret for a few days until everyone else found it, then it was crazy busy.

Shuttles: I talked to a few people who waited 45 minutes in the rain to get on a shuttle, ouch. Or the shuttles ended too early at night, so you either left sessions early or took a cab back to your hotel that was anywhere from pretty close to 40 minutes away.

Overall opinion:
Would I go to Ignite 2016? You know I don’t know that I can answer that right now. I’ve gone to quite a few conferences over the years, and spoken at many as well. The crowds and logistics of Ignite and the McCormick convention are not my favorite. I prefer the technical depth I’ve seen at Microsoft Management Summit and Midwest Management Summit. IT Dev connections is a well organized conference that is growly steadily in the infrastructure/System Center space. Midwest Management Summit last year was easily one of the best conferences I’ve attended. 3 days of awesome System Center sessions and a 3 story food court at the Mall of America to please all types of stomachs.

I will be at IT Dev Connections later this year speaking. I will also be at Midwest Management Summit in November as well.

I far prefer Vegas for location, you’ve got a ton of very good hotel options. You have a million restaurants to choose from and you don’t really need shuttles to get around.

So overall, if I had to only pick one conference to attend, I wouldn’t waste my time on Ignite, there are better conferences for me personally to attend. If I speak or was given a free space, I would attend Ignite again.

Let me know your thoughts/comments! Would love to hear what you thought of Ignite as well if you attended.

-Chris

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ConfigMgr: Cumulative Update 5 Released

CU5 has been released for ConfigMgr 2012. There are quite a few fixes in this latest update.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3054451

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Ignite Keynote Summary/Links

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ConfigMgr: Support for Windows 10

Read the original post here.

Today we are making available the System Center Configuration Manager and System Center Endpoint Protection Technical Preview. In this preview, you will get an early glimpse of the functionality that we are planning to release in Q4 of this calendar year, bringing with it full support for client deployment, upgrade, and management of Windows 10.

New features in today’s Technical Preview include:

  • Support for Windows 10 upgrade with OS deployment task sequence – In addition to providing support for existing wipe-and-load (refresh) scenarios, the ConfigMgr Technical Preview includes enhanced upgrade support with in-place upgrade to Windows 10.
  • Support for installing Configuration Manager on Azure Virtual Machines – Similar to how you can install ConfigMgr on Hyper-V today, you can now run ConfigMgr in Azure VMs. This provides flexibility to move some or all of your datacenter server workloads to the cloud with Azure.
  • Ability to manage Windows 10 mobile devices via MDM with on-premises Configuration Manager infrastructure – With this new option, you can manage Windows 10 mobile devices using ConfigMgr integrated with Microsoft Intune (hybrid) without the need to store your data in the cloud. This is especially helpful for managing devices that are unable to connect to the Internet such as Windows IoT/Embedded devices. So go ahead and try it out – you can enroll devices, set policies, and wipe/retire devices today with more functionality to be added in the future to manage all of your Windows 10 devices with MDM.

Next week, we will also be releasing service packs for Configuration Manager 2012 and 2012 R2 customers. These will deliver full compatibility with existing features for Windows 10 deployment and management as well as several other features, including:

  • App-V publishing performance – Improved performance that reduces the time required for apps to display after the first logon for non-persistent VDI environments.
  • Scalability improvements – Increased hierarchy scale to 600K and primary/standalone site scale to 150K.
  • Content distribution improvements – Improved data transfer reliability for slow and latent networks, and also improved scale and performance for pull distribution points (DP).
  • Native support for SQL Server 2014 – Added native support for SQL Server 2014 to enable site installation and recovery using SQL Server 2014.
  • Hybrid features – Added a large number of hybrid features for customers using ConfigMgr integrated with Microsoft Intune (hybrid). Some of the features that you can expect to see in this release include conditional access policy, mobile application management, and support for Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP).

Finally, we also plan to deliver:

  • System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SP2, R2, and R3) support for the management of Windows 10 is coming via a compatibility pack in Q4 2015 (Note: OS and client deployment will not be supported).
  • An update for the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) in Q3 2015 that will deliver support for Windows 10.

This is a really big year for Configuration Manager. We’re excited about making these releases available to you and look forward to providing you best-in-class management for Windows 10 with System Center Configuration Manager.

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Microsoft Intune: Support for Windows 10

At the Microsoft Ignite, it was announced that Microsoft Intune now supports the management of Windows 10.

All existing Intune features for managing Windows 8.1/Windows Phone 8.1 will work for Windows 10, including:
•Enrollment
•Policies
•Company resource access
•Application management
•Inventory
•Reporting
•Remote wipe

Additionally, you can now create custom policies using OMA-URI to manage new Windows 10 features with Intune.

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Free Office 365 Kindle Book on Amazon

Not sure why or how long it will last, but there is a free Office 365 right now on Amazon.

Get the book here.

Office 365: Migrating and Managing Your Business in the Cloud [Kindle Edition]

Written for the IT professional and business owner, this book provides the business and technical insight necessary to migrate your business to the cloud using Microsoft Office 365. This is a practical look at cloud migration and the use of different technologies to support that migration. Numerous examples of cloud migration with technical migration details are included.

Cloud technology is a tremendous opportunity for an organization to reduce IT costs, and to improve productivity with increased access, simpler administration and improved services. Those businesses that embrace the advantages of the cloud will receive huge rewards in productivity and lower total cost of ownership over those businesses that choose to ignore it.

The challenge for those charged with implementing Microsoft Office 365 is to leverage these advantages with the minimal disruption of their organization. This book provides practical help in moving your business to the Cloud and covers the planning, migration and the follow on management of the Office 365 Cloud services.

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Microsoft Intune: New Intune Features Coming Next Week

Some new Intune features coming next week. Here is the list:

New Intune standalone (cloud only) features that will be made available as part of this update include:

  • Management of Office mobile apps (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) for Android tablets. (Management of Office Mobile app for Android phones made available in February 2015)
  • Ability to restrict access to Exchange on-premises for Exchange ActiveSync clients on Android devices
  • Ability to create WiFi profiles with pre-shared keys (PSK) for Android devices
  • Ability to resolve certificate chains on Android devices without the need to deploy each intermediate certificate individually
  • Deployment of .appx bundles to Windows Phone 8.1 devices (Support for .appx files made available in March 2015)
  • Managed Browser app for iOS devices that controls actions that users can perform, including allow/deny access to specific websites (Managed Browser app for Android devices made available in December 2014)
  • Management of Work Folders app for iOS devices
  • Updated Endpoint Protection agent for managing Windows PCs
  • Ability to manage Windows Defender on Windows 10 PCs running Windows 10 Technical Preview without need for separate Microsoft Intune Endpoint Protection agent to be installed
  • Combined Microsoft Intune Company Portal websites for PCs and mobile devices to provide a more consistent user experience across platforms
  • Added Windows and Windows Phone Company Portal apps to the Microsoft Download Center to provide an additional option for accessing these app downloads
  • Enhanced user interface for overview pages within Intune admin console
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Reducing Windows Deployment Time Using Power Management

Great post over on The Deployment Guys blog. 

Read the full post here.

The following post was contributed by Benjamin Rampe a Senior PFE working for Microsoft.

While studying up on Windows 10, I came across a technique that has been shown to reduce the time it takes to apply an OS WIM to disk by 20 – 50%*.  That’s a fairly significant savings in time and the implementation of this technique is relatively easy and does not require you to change how you deploy Windows.  Believe it or not, the savings come from adjusting the OS power management settings during a deployment.  While there are multiple ways to implement these power management settings, below I’ve outlined what I consider the most non-intrusive to existing deployment methods.