On October 1st Microsoft announced new licensing options that make it very attractive for OMS managed servers to have a ConfigMgr license bundled with it. Is this the renaissance of server management with ConfigMgr?
As Microsoft has evolved the two-decade old System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) product to a “As a Service” model with multiple updates per year, there have been many feature additions and improvement mostly driven by changes in in services that ConfigMgr must integrate with such as Microsoft Intune and Office 365 Exchange Online. For the most part the enhancements have been improving the device management capabilities of ConfigMgr and extending use case scenarios based on rapidly changing mobile device capabilities and use case scenarios. I’ve been around this product for more than two decades and I’ve seen it change names and directions several times. In fact, my first deployment was of SMS 1.0 in 1994. In the late 1990s and early this millennium there was growing interest in using ConfigMgr (called SMS or SCCM back then) to manage servers. The problem was that client agent settings were set at the site level at that time. In order to have custom client agent settings for a group of systems, you would need to stand up another SMS or SCCM site. Consider that servers have different management requirements than desktops and laptops and you’ll understand why custom settings for servers were important. All of that changed in April of 2012 when System Center 2012 Configuration Manager shipped. This version of the product allowed custom client agent settings to be deployed to individual collections within a site. In fact, I blogged about this as being one of my favourite new features back in 2011 when I was evaluating a beta version of the product (we used to have betas back then). What a great way to have different configurations for different types of devices (kiosks, servers, desktops, laptops, DMZ, etc. all have different management requirements. Unfortunately, the mindshare of most datacenter managers hasn’t kept up with the capabilities of ConfigMgr. Other toolsets became more prevalent in server management and the uptake of virtualization shifted the toolset requirements as well. By the time that server administrators were able to consider using ConfigMgr for servers, the whole server paradigm had shifted from physical servers, clusters, virtual and now cloud.
Enter System Center Configuration Manager 1606. There are many new features in this version that you can read about here, but one that caught my eye in particular. It’s in prerelease but you can now connect your ConfigMgr site to an OMS tenant and OMS will have visibility into ConfigMgr data such as collections and manage the collections in OMS.
So how do you try this out? You will need to do three things:
Ensure that you have consented to use Pre-Release features
Enable the feature by right-clicking on it in the features pane and turning it on:
Configure the OMS Connector:
The details of how to configure the connector are beyond the scope of this post but a detailed post on how to do it can be found here.