The release of the 1606 update for System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) continues Microsoft's commitment to deliver new features on a regular basis. While I'm personally excited about the Windows Store integration, I realize that is not a feature most organizations will implement today. Here are three features that you can start taking advantage of today, and one bonus feature to keep an eye on in the future.
Client Settings for Office 365 Updates
WSUS and ConfigMgr have supported the deployment of Office 365 updates for a while now, but you had to direct the clients to ConfigMgr through install options or a GPO. Now the solution can fully be managed through ConfigMgr with Client Settings. Once 1606 is installed, you will the following options for Software Updates:
The default setting is Not Configured. Verify that you are deploying Office 365 updates through ConfigMgr, then go ahead and change this to Yes. Now you can ensure that these updates will be released on your regular patching schedule, instead of Microsoft's.
Improvements for Software Updates in Task Sequences
Getting Software Updates to properly install during an Operating System Deployment (OSD) Task Sequence has been a struggle that we have traditionally used some tricks and work-arounds to make function properly. Now we have a standard set of features to ensure the Software Update Scan runs and reboots do not prevent updates from completing.
First, you have the option to use a cached software update scan or initiate a full scan.
By default, this option is checked and a cached scan will be used. Unchecking the option will initiate a full scan to make sure any applications installed during your task sequence are also patched. There is a new Task Sequence variable, SMSTSSoftwareUpdateScanTimeout, that limits the amount of the scan can run. By default this is set to 30 minutes, but can be modified for your environment. On the Options tab, there is a new option to handle restarts during updates.
The option is unchecked by default. When you check it, you also need to set the number of reboots to be allowed.
Client Settings for Cache Size
There is a new set of options for controlling Cache Size, BranchCache and peer to peer content sharing.
The default settings are shown above. The middle section for Cache Size allows you to target the setting by collection, but also by the percent of the hard drive size. With support for Windows 10 on tablets and other devices with smaller solid state hard drives, this is a nice option to ensure ConfigMgr cache does not over take the drive.
Pre-Release Feature: OMS Connector
The 1606 update includes support for pre-release features. At this point, I don't recommend this on your production ConfigMgr site, but it provides another way to get exposure to what's coming in future releases.
The OMS Connector is particularly interesting to me for the functionality it will bring for patching servers. Connecting ConfigMgr with OMS allows to you use the collections and organization you have already built to manage your server environment with the dashboards and full feature set of OMS. In terms of updates, you will be able to quickly go from a dashboard showing update status to the deployment of patches to a ConfigMgr collection, without leaving OMS. When the updates install on the server, they will still reference the catalog on your ConfigMgr Software Update Point and download files from the assigned Distribution Point. Watch for more on this feature in future blogs and the 1610 update for ConfigMgr.