Microsoft has made the latest version of its System Center Configuration Manager (version 1511) generally available.
System Center Configuration Manager and Endpoint Protection 1511 -- which is available for download from MSDN, the Volume licensing Service Center and the Microsoft Evaluation Center -- fully supports the deployment, upgrade and provisioning of Windows 10.
The new release, which shares the same version number (1511) as the November Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile updates, enables faster in- place upgrades from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 directly to Windows 10. And it is meant to help keep Windows 10 devices up-to-date with the new deployment rings and Windows Update for Business.
Users of the 1511 version of ConfigMgr can manage Windows 10 devices using the traditional ConfigMgr agent. If and when integrated with Intune, users also can manage these devices using cloud or on-premises mobile-device-management.
With the 1511 ConfigMgr release, "we have effectively 'SaaSified' ConfigMgr," said Corporate Vice President Brand Anderson in a December 8 blog post. This means Microsoft will be providing continuous updates to ConfigMgr, the same way it is doing with Windows 10, Dynamics AX ERP and other products.
Microsoft officials revealed in October 2015 plans to turn Configuration Manager into a service. Microsoft is plannig to deliver monthly ConfigMgr preview releases, moving forward, that will support the continuous Windows 10 updates. At some point in the future, Microsoft plans to add Apple iOS and Android devices (integrated via Intune) to its supported device list.
This is how the new 'Configuration Manager as a Service' model will work, according to Anderson:
"You will now be able to use Intune or ConfigMgr to test and deploy the new capabilities being released in Windows 10. Here is a representative view of what a year of ConfigMgr releases may look like going forward. You'll see 1512, 1601, 1602, 1603, ... 1612. On a regular basis we will declare one of the monthly builds as Current Branch, which will be the release to which we recommend all enterprises update. So you could see, for example, 1602, 1606 and 1610 be declared as Current Branch and the ConfigMgr infrastructrures around the globe upgraded to these builds."
According to Anderson, there are more than 500 companies running the ConfigMgr 1511 preview bits, with more than 500,000 production machines being managed by 1511. Microsoft iself also has more than 305,000 PCs and more than 80,000 mobile devices running Windows that are being managed by ConfigMgr 1511 and Intune.
In related news, Microsoft has made Windows 10 Build 1511 (the November update, also known as Build 10586) availablevia Windows Server Update Service (WSUS) as of today, December 8. Administrators should apply KB 3095113 to Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 in order to use WSUS to deliver Windows 10 Build 1511.
Microsoft also made available new Cumulative Updates to Windows 10 Mobile Build 1511 and Windows 10 Build 1511 over the past couple of days.
The Windows 10 Mobile 10586.29 release -- which Microsoft first made available to Windows Insider testers and as of today, to non-Insiders with Windows 10 Mobile 1511 on their devices -- includes several performance enhancements and other fixes. Windows 10 PC users also got the Windows 10 Mobile 10586.29 update today, delivered as KB 3116900, via Windows Update.