The Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) team has been doing a great job with implementing new features and improving the product on a regular basis following the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and using feedback from the community on the Microsoft Connect site, as well as paying close attention to feature and enhancement requests on the ConfigMgr UserVoice forum.
The 45th President of the United States of America was inaugurated on Friday, January 20th and on this day the ConfigMgr team released SCCM Tech Preview build 1701 which is the first new release of 2017. This update has a number of new features (as listed in the Enterprise Mobility & Security blogpost) which include:
UEFI inventory data – Hardware inventory can now determine whether the device is UEFI-enabled.
Validate Device Health Attestation Data via Management Point – You can now configure management points to validate health attestation reporting data for cloud or on-premises health attestation service.
Updated Content Library Cleanup Tool – The command line tool (ContentLibraryCleanup.exe) used to remove content that is no longer associated with any package or application from a distribution point (orphaned content) has been updated with fixes for known issues.
Host software updates on cloud-based distribution points – Beginning with this preview version, you can use a cloud-based distribution point to host a software update package.
Support for Microsoft Azure Government cloud added to Operations Management Suite (OMS) Connector feature – You can now configure an OMS connector for the OMS workspace on Microsoft Azure Government cloud.
Additional boundary groups improvements – Clients now find software update points using Boundary Group associations.
You can update to the 1701 Tech Preview release via the ConfigMgr console under the Updates & Servicing node. You will need the baseline version of Tech Preview 1610 if you are installing it brand new.
The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) has been released and the most current build (8443) can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. This update requires the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10 version 1607 (10.1.14393.0) which is available for download on the Microsoft Hardware Dev Center.
According to the MDT blog post by Aaron Czechowski (Senior Program Manager), MDT is now tagless without the year and version number and going forward, new releases will be identified by their build numbers only.
You may notice that we are not tagging this release with a year or update version. To better align with the current branches of Windows 10 and Configuration Manager, and to simplify the branding and release process, we are now just referring to it as the “Microsoft Deployment Toolkit”, using the build number to distinguish each release. This is not necessarily a “current branch” of MDT; we are committed to updating MDT as needed with revisions to Windows, the Windows ADK, and Configuration Manager.
Some of the significant changes in this update include:
System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) is a robust and complex tool used by SysAdmins to manage systems in their organizations. Similarly, working with reports, creating reports, and generating reports with ConfigMgr can become a complex task and challenging.
We all know that the built-in reports are not the best and often don’t yield the results we want to achieve. To get around some of the limitations, you either need to create your own reports or use third party solutions such as the wonderful reports from Enhansoft which are easy to install, configure, and to use. Well, Garth Jones, the owner of Enhansoft has released an awesome book to help clear the mystery of reports and make it super simple for anyone to follow the step-by-step instructions with the intelligently laid out chapters. The high level contents of the book is provided below but it doesn’t come close to listing the in-depth wealth of information this book provides.
Whether you’re a beginner and want to learn how to create and work with ConfigMgr reports, or an expert who want to improve your reporting skills and rock it to the next level, this book is for you – I highly recommend it. The book is available on Amazon and comes in various formats. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Garth, who contributes tremendously to the ConfigMgr community via Twitter, Facebook, and various forums, to name a few.
My good friend Deepak Dhami (aka Dexter), who is an expert in PowerShell and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) is a frequent contributor for great information and resource in these fields. He conducts various user groups and workshops in India to help ConfigMgr admins improve their skills. Dexter has provided the links below on his blog and has generously allowed me to share them on mine in order to further share the goodness.