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Microsoft Releases v.Next Beta of SCCM

Microsoft on Monday released a beta of System Center Configuration Manager v.Next.

The beta is available for testing through the Microsoft Connect portal as part of Microsoft's open beta program here. In addition, Microsoft is looking for Technology Adoption Program participants with "1,000 to 10,000 clients in a production environment" to test the new beta.

The new client management solution apparently will be the successor to Microsoft's current System Center Configuration Manager 2007 product, now available as an R2 incremental release. Microsoft also released a "beta refresh" test version of System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 on May 4. Microsoft describes the R3 version as enabling power savings for organizations, as well as mobile device management through System Center Mobile Device Manager, which will be included as part of the R3 licensing.

Microsoft's announcement of v.Next gave no indication when the product might be released. Veteran Microsoft observer Mary-Jo Foley got a suggestion from a reader indicating that "Configuration Manager 2007 R3 is due out in December 2010 and v.Next is due to ship in the second half of 2011," according to her blog.

The v.Next beta release aims at enabling application management through a model that can "capture admin intent," according to Microsoft's announcement. It will also have an "end user self-service software portal." A new feature will be support for "role-based administration and end-user experiences." Finally, Microsoft is promising simplified client management through "automated compliance remediation" and "offline servicing of OS images."

Microsoft has produced some videos on v.Next capabilities, including new hierarchy designs and mobile device management. There's also a video on using the administrative console.

In general, the Windows-based System Center Configuration Manager product provides asset intelligence on the hardware and software used in an IT environment. It also supports patch and update management to client devices, as well as the delivery of software and operating systems to client machines.

System Center Configuration Manager was formerly known, in its earlier iterations, as "Systems Management Server."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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