Today has been a huge day here in Redmond. The campus us buzzing, as today is the day Windows 7 is available to the world. It is also the day that SP2 for ConfigMgr hits our websites, for you to manage Windows 7, Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2.
Service Pack 2 is a platform support release for System Center. For all of the above mentioned OS’s, we can now manage them, and for the server side, the Windows Server 2008 SP2 and 2008 R2 can now host site roles.
While this is incredible for the client story, to deploy Windows 7 better, faster and cheaper than anyone in the world – there are some other areas that SP2 for the server that will change how people think about management.
BranchCache in Windows 7/ Windows Server 2008 R2 can help increase network efficiency for users across corporate networks. SP2 for ConfigMgr adds support for BranchCache, and where clients download packages – the fabric of peer client cache will significantly benefit performance levels. Delivery speeds will get even faster, infrastructure traffic will drop significantly, and clients will simply get stuff quicker. Think about your packages, whether they are 256Kb updates, or 4Gb OS images, the ability to have clients helping clients is a very good thing.
DirectAccess DirectAccess is a new feature in Windows 7/ Windows Server® 2008 R2 that gives users the experience of being seamlessly connected to their corporate network any time they have Internet access. This new way of working, Always On, Always Connected, also means to an Administrator, Always Managed. While this is a significant capability for the end user – I am one myself, and it is amazing, the Administrator can take comfort in the fact that in a DA enabled environment, they are going to get stuff to people whether they are remote or in the office.
Client Policy improvements – In Service Pack 2 we have done some very cool things to get faster processing of policy. First, Policy pre SP2 had a 2 minute delay after being delivered to the client, and was queued locally. That 2 minutes is now removed. Second, in the scenario of software distribution, pre SP2 there was a 10 minute delay post user logon to start user policy processing. This is gone. So, user gets advertisement, user logs in, user gets launch. Right away. This is significant. You guys have been asking us to get to ‘real time’ and we are delivering.
There are some other areas we have also improved. Adding App-V x64 support (v4.6) as well as some 64bit architecture support (future blog coming) are some. As well, to configure Asset Intelligence Online Sync pre SP2 you needed to have a cert. This has been removed. Multi select driver delete support from the catalog, as well as some Task Sequence UI improvements for packages are also there now.
This is a great Service Pack to deliver on the same day as Windows 7 General Availability. We hope you see in this SP that we are listening to you guys. Keeping up with the Windows platform roadmap, and driving innovation that you ask for at the highest quality bar possible.
Here are some links, check back here for more info and demos on SP2, and we hope to see you in Berlin.
•What’s new SP2 TechNet Documentation Library- link
•Configuration Manager download
•ConfigMgr Product Homepage – link
•Configuration Manager Product Team Blog – link
•Windows MDOP – link
•Windows Server 2008 R2 Branch Cache overview – link
•Branch Cache ConfigMgr Deployment Guidance – link