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Adaptiva Improves SCCM Update Process with OneSite 4.5

Adaptiva released updated products today that enhance the functionality of Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) solution for wide-scale enterprise deployments.

The new OneSite 4.5 software release now makes it simpler for IT pros to keep OneSite itself up to date. The new Update Manager solution permits IT pros who might have skipped product updates to wrap them up into a "customized smart patch," according to the company's announcement today.

OneSite is the company's main add-on product for SCCM that's designed to ease the problem of large-scale SCCM client deployments without having to maintain the extra hardware to do that or slow down wide area network (WAN) traffic to distribute the SCCM updates. Now, IT pros don't have to think about patch sequences when keeping the OneSite product itself up to date.

"Customers will skip several updates and then update maybe every six months," explained Deepak Kumar, Adaptiva's founder and CTO, in a Thursday phone interview. "If they are skipping nine versions, they now have nine updates that need to be deployed in an exact sequence to be successful. If you have 400,000 machines, that's difficult to do."

The new Update manager automates that process.

"This comes from watching Microsoft customers struggle through, of all things, Microsoft patches," Kumar commented when it was mentioned that Microsoft could benefit from such a technique.

Kumar is noteworthy not just for being Adaptiva's founder, but he's also had a hand at being one of the original designers of the SCCM product when he served at Microsoft. His Bellevue-Wash.-based company now partners with Microsoft, making add-ons to SCCM to support large-scale deployments, ranging from "1,000 to 366,000 clients," according to the company's Web site.

The new OneSite 4.5 release also now features global roaming capabilities that work across multiple SCCM sites. This feature benefits organizations that service SCCM clients in multiple country zones. As people travel and take their computing devices with them, the system is smart enough to retrieve SCCM content from the local zone, eliminating the potential WAN traffic impact. Kumar said that a patch Tuesday from Microsoft can represent about 300MB of data to transmit.

"People were asking us to provide global roaming not only within siloes but across silos, and we have delivered that in 4.5," Kumar commented about the new feature. The updated global roaming feature "completely sidesteps the WAN" to deliver the updated content, he added.

A third product update is a new WAN Performance Visualizer. Adaptiva's OneSite product already has a "predictive bandwidth harvesting" capability to optimize WAN traffic by delivering SCCM client updates during less busy periods. The new Visualizer addition, though, will show in real-time what's happening on the WAN with a graphical view, Kumar explained.

Adaptiva has also integrated the security of its OneSite Downloader product. IT pros can now use their network access accounts as an added layer of security.

Lastly, OneSite 4.5 includes cache migration improvements. OneSite's Virtual SAN technology can now import content from SCCM Server caches as well as 1E Nomad client caches.

Microsoft now has it Intune mobile device management product that sits alongside SCCM, and Kumar shared some insights about where Microsoft might be going. He noted that it took Microsoft about 15 years to deliver on the requirements of enterprises with SCCM. He said that OneSite already provides the benefits of the cloud for device management. OneSite, as an add-on to SCCM, doesn't directly compete with Intune, but it adds capabilities to SCCM that "raise the bar for Intune to meet."

Kumar noted that Microsoft hasn't issued SDKs for Intune. It was a Bill Gates notion that Microsoft was a platform builder and that meant that Microsoft would issue software development kits (SDKs) for its products, he said, which also attracted partners to add value to Microsoft's products. However, for some reason, with Intune, Microsoft skipped that step.

"If Intune had provided an SDK, we would have integrated with it yesterday," Kumar said.

While Microsoft has indicated that Intune is its main mobile device management product, going forward, the company is also committed to supporting SCCM, which works with Intune via a connector solution. Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of program management for Microsoft's Windows Server and System Center Group, said last month that PC management will be SCCM's prime workload for the "foreseeable future."

Microsoft's next release of the System Center suite of products has been announced as happening sometime in 2016, but the SCCM component will roll out earlier with Windows 10, the company has indicated. Microsoft announced this week that its Windows 10 product will arrive sometime this summer, and so the next SCCM product is expected in that time frame.

About the Author

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

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