Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager next up to get the service treatment

Microsoft is moving toward turning its Configuration Manager product, part of its System Center family, into a service, in the way it is doing with Windows and Office.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft's "everything as a service" push is continuing, with its System Center Configuration Manager the next product to get the treatment.


In a couple of October 27 blog posts, Microsoft officials outlined the company's plans to turn Configuration Manager into a regularly updated service, with Microsoft pushing new features to users at more rapid and regular intervals.

Microsoft officials signaled earlier this year that the company would be moving toward more of a service-centric Windows and device management model as it made available more pieces of its promised "Windows Update for Business."

From Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson's blog post today:

"Over the past three months, you have seen us release a steady stream of Technical Previews - culminating most recently in our 1510 update (more details are here). During this time, we have completed the work necessary to deliver ConfigMgr more as an 'as-a-Service" product. Going forward, we will release frequent updates to ConfigMgr - and these updates will be denoted with a year and a month, i.e. YYMM."

Anderson said Microsoft took the first steps on this path with its work around turning Intune and ConfigMgr 2012/R2 into a hybrid offering. With the next Configuration Manager release, Microsoft will be able to " update Intune and within a very short period of time have all those changes that were made in Intune be exposed via the hybrid solution within ConfigMgr," he said.

As Microsoft officials said back in May, Microsoft is still planning to release a new version of Configuration Manager by the end of calendar 2015 that will bring full support for deploying, upgrading and managing Windows 10. The plan is to enable Configuration Manager, in the future, to also help manage Apple iOS and Android devices, as well, thanks to its Intune integration.

The coming System Center Configuration Manager release will be an in-place upgrade, officials confirmed on October 27, "similar to a service pack." The new version of Configuration Manager will support Windows 10 "in any flavor," and on the Current Branch, Current Branch for Business and Long-Term Servicing Branch, officials confirmed.

Configuration Manager will be updated "frequently" and incrementally, officials noted.Microsoft also plans to ship a version of Configuration Manager aligned with the rest of System Center and Windows Server when those products ship in calendar 2016, officials said in today's post.

Microsoft plans to support each version/update of Configuration Manager for 12 months before the company requires customers to move to the latest version in order to continue receiving support.

More details and some questions and answers about Microsoft's Configuration Manager as a service plans are available in today's Configuration Manager blog post.

Microsoft announced its planned changes to its Office updating and servicing model in September 2015. Microsoft officials have been talking up Windows 10 as being a "service," rather than a product, for more than a year.

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