While Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 was released earlier this month, when nobody was looking, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2 came out. Did anybody notice? Aside from support for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, there are a quite a few new features. I understand that many organizations typically wait before deploying new versions of products but what’s in store for those who are ready to install if only for evaluation purposes? Here are the features that I’m most interested in exploring:
Profiles. Profiles, Profiles
A raft of new profile types can be managed including Remote Connection profiles, VPN profiles, Wi-Fi profiles, and Certificate profiles. This can really simplify the management of some complex settings across devices.
Reassign clients to another site in the hierarchy. This will primarily be useful for large organizations with a CAS.
Many new features and enhancements including user self-enrollment for Android and iOS using the company portal app. Another neat new feature that I’m excited about is support for personal and corporate owned devices. This feature will be useful in lifecycle management and BYOD scenarios where a selective wipe makes more sense when a device is lost. There are also some new compliance settings specifically targeted at mobile devices.
Software Distribution and Application Management
There’s a new Deployment Type for web based applications. This is really just a way to manage links to web based applications but it does help to simplify and centralize all software deployments. There are also some new features that are intended to help manage scenarios that include Windows Store Apps and the company portal.
There are some enhancements to ADRs as well as a new type of maintenance window specifically for Software Updates. I can see this being very useful for organizations that need to manage software updates on a different schedule that normal application deployments.
Check out fellow MVP Kent Agerlund’s TechEd New Zealand’s presentation for some demos of some of the changes. For a full list of the changes and additions in Configuration Manager 2012 R2 check TechNet