Microsoft is rolling out to interested testers this week Beta 1 of a Configuration Manager v.Next, a new systems-management product in the company's System Center family.
I'm not a fan of the 'v.Next' codename convention that some teams at Microsoft have been adopting. But that's how the Softies are referring to the next release of Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager client-management product.
System Center Configuration Manager is the successor to what (long ago and far away) used to be called Systems Management Server (SMS). It is a server-based product that provides patch management, software distribution, operating system deployment, inventory services and other capabilities to large groups of Windows-based clients.
System Center Configuration Manager v.Next also is going to support "multiple device types" (which may mean Windows Phones and/or non-Windows PCs -- it's not entirely clear to me). v.Next is going to allow users to "seamlessly access their data from virtually anywhere, across multiple device types while providing IT with unified management tools and centralized control," according to a new blog post on the System Center team blog. There will be an end-user self-service software portal, the ability to manage both PCs and devices in a unified way and new role-based administration capabilities in the product.
v.Next requires Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2, but distribution points can run on Windows Server 2003. It also requires SQL Server 2008 SP1 or later, as SQL Reporting Services is the only supported reporting solution.
There's no word on when Configuration Manager v.Next is due (not even a year). Last I heard, (back in October 2009), Microsoft was testing System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3. I've asked if v.Next is the 2007 R3 release. (I think the answer is no, but I've spent too much time searching the Web and being unable to tell for sure. Awaiting the official Microsoft word on that one.)
Update: One reader said he's been told Configuration Manager 2007 R3 is due out in December 2010 and v.Next is due to ship in the second half of 2011.
In other product-related news of potential interest to IT pros, Microsoft has rolled out an update to one of its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) components.
App-V is Microsoft's application-virtualization piece of MDOP. Microsoft delivered the final version of App-V 4.6 in February 2010. But on May 26, Microsoft released Service Pack (SP) 2 of App-V 4.5. The SP2 update adds support for Office 2010 and SQL Mirroring, plus the usual bug fixes.