We are extremely excited to announce the availability of the release candidates for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection (formerly known as Forefront Endpoint Protection 2012) today. Both releases are available through a single download package on the Microsoft Download Center. Special thanks to our Community Evaluation Program (CEP) and Technology Adoption Program customers, whose feedback was instrumental in achieving this important milestone.
As the “Consumerization of IT” trend continues to grow, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager helps you deliver on the promise of empowering end users to be productive on any device, while still managing compliance of corporate assets. Its unified management infrastructure allows you to manage physical, virtual, and mobile environments – including the ability to deliver applications seamlessly across multiple devices for a single user. And with System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection built on that same infrastructure, you also get a single experience to distribute and update antimalware protection, monitor compliance, and remediate vulnerabilities. Configuration Manager, of course, also includes enhancements to administrative features that make you more efficient and effective, including the option to set automated discovery and remediation of non-compliant systems.
In the Release Candidate, we’ve introduced some additional and enhanced capabilities, including:
- Improved endpoint protection functionality, with integrated setup, management and reporting for System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection.
- Improved application catalog design that provides a better, more responsive experience when requesting and downloading applications.
- New support for Windows Embedded devices, including Windows Embedded 7 SP1, POSReady 7, Windows 7 Think PC, and Windows Embedded Compact 7.
- Improved client status checks for Configuration Manager services and features.
- Improved compliance enforcement and tracking, with the ability to create dynamic collections of baseline compliance and the generation of hourly compliance summaries.
- Platform support for deep mobile device management of Nokia Symbian Belle devices. Pending a platform update by Nokia later this calendar year for these devices, customers will be able to try out the management of these Nokia devices with ConfigMgr.
- Additional scalability and performance improvements.
In short, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager will help you achieve the right balance between minimizing risks and capitalizing on the benefits of consumer technologies.
We have made some useful tools available for you to simplify the migration from System Center Configuration Manager 2007. For example, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager introduces a new way to manage applications. We call it the user-centric application model. (Take a look at this blog from Bill Anderson describing the benefits of this approach.) System Center Package Conversion Manager (PCM) will help you convert existing application packages in ConfigMgr 2007 to the new application model. PCM analyzes packages and programs to determine their readiness for conversion into the new application model. PCM will automatically convert many packages to applications, with deployment types and dependencies, as well as migrating collection properties to global settings and requirement rules. The Package Conversion Manager is available as a feature pack download here.
A great way to start evaluating these releases is as part of a community of early adopters. Join our Community Evaluation Program (CEP) and you’ll get guidance from our product team and shared best practices from a community of peers. As always, you can find additional evaluation resources like How-to Videos, technical documentation, and blog articles on our TechCenter.
Thanks and enjoy the RC!
Adwait Joshi (AJ)
Sr. Technical Product Manager
Management and Security