Q&A: A power user's view of SCCM 2012

Now that its release is upon us, learn what System Center Configuration Manager really delivers and what could use improvement

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Bruzzese: What is the biggest change you have seen in application deployments?

Barrett: The new application management model provides a powerful and flexible way to deliver applications to users. Again, that user-centric mantra comes forward. But not only can you target users, but you can target how to deliver those applications: Direct installs, virtualized (via App-V or XenApp), or for the Windows Mobile and Nokia platforms. With user device affinity, you can decide how an application gets delivered and not have to worry about what device the users are working with -- the application will get delivered.

Another big change is that App-V deployment types do not require an App-V Management Server. Sequence an app and distribute to a distribution point, and then deploy. You can even add the App-V client as a dependency, so there is no need to install it beforehand. So App-V application deployments have gotten simpler to manage.

Bruzzese: Explain the benefits of RBA (role-based administration) and security scopes.

Barrett: RBA makes it possible to hand over specific administrative functions without making everyone a full administrator. While this is not a new concept, SCCM 2012 has greatly improved upon it with the 14 built-in security roles.

The use of security scopes makes the management of security roles even more granular. An application author can be limited to administrating only the collection within his or her security scope. Likewise, you can limit OSD (Open Software Description) to workstation administrators also based on the collections; because they are limited by their security groups, there is no chance of pushing a Windows 7 install to a server.

Bruzzese: Typically, what other components of System Center do you like to use to work with SCCM?

Barrett: Configuration Manager has some hooks into Operations Manager that are useful for centralizing your application management. But really, the entire System Center Suite's components can be used together. SCCM 2012 can be used to deploy VMs using Zero Touch Installation. Those VMs could be requested via System Center App Controller. A ticket can be created in Service Manager, and the VM could be provisioned and hosted in Virtual Machine Manager. Run books created in Orchestrator can be used to call Configuration Manager to deploy an OS to a server.

Bruzzese: To close out this interview, how would you sum up SCCM to InfoWorld's readers?

Barrett: The ability to deliver an OS, apps, and services to a user anytime, anywhere is really what makes Configuration Manager awesome. The deep-linking and side-loading capabilities that were demoed at the Microsoft Management Summit 2012 conference last week will allow you to deliver apps to iOS and Android systems either through the app store or as a push, and that makes this a great tool to finally take control of the devices on your corporate network, whether they are owned by the organization or not.

This article, "Q&A: A power user's view of SCCM 2012," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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