As I said in my previous post, mayor change in SCCM v.Next is transition from computer-centric to user-centric philosophy. In this post, I will take a deeper look in basic and advanced software deployment techniques.
Packages in SCCM v.Next work in the same way as they worked in 2007 version, meaning that they do not provide any advanced management features that applications do. Applications represent the software that you deploy, manage, or monitor within your network. A single application can include multiple deployment types that represent different functionality. After opening Software Library pane, right click on Packages and select Create. Wizard will open and you will be able to input all relevant information about your package. After creating package, you will have to select it and click on Deploy. Deployment wizard will help you to select collection to which you want to deploy your package and from which deployment server, if you have more than one. So as you can see, creating and deploying is simple and straightforward.
On the client side, we have a SCCM v.Next client application from which we can initiate all sort of actions. For instance, user could start all kind of maintenance cycles or file collection processes. These options are usually controlled from the server. Open Control panel and locate Configuration Manager applet. To initiate software deployment before scheduled time, click on Actions tab, select Machine Policy Retrieval & Evaluation Cycle and click Initiate Action. After few seconds, Software Center windows will appear in system tray, from where you can open it and monitor package installation. Also, from here you can see all software that has been installed and what is a status of an installed packages and applications.
It is possible to modify all sort of advanced setting on applications deployment, such as priority, scheduling, user experience and alerts. It is good to know that one application can have multiple deployment settings and methods. Of course, there is extensive reporting on packages and applications installation progress and status. All can be seen in Monitoring pane under Reports. Make sure you have installed Reporting role, or you will have no reports to generate.
One of the features that are very often used is SCCM integration with WSUS. Before setting up any update management, make sure you have WSUS installed and that you hare required role (Software Update Point) deployed on a site server. Besides deployment, you can generate standard set of reports such as update compliance reports for you computers. If you do not want to manually deploy updates, you can create automatic grouping rules for selected collection and deploy, for example, critical updates to desktop computers automatically.
In the next and last post regarding SCCM v.Next, I will give you an overview of settings management, client health and device management.