Ultimate guide to System Center Configuration


Mon, 3 Aug 2020

3 to 5 mins read


The System Center Configuration Manager tools provide a suite of solutions for comprehensively assessing, deploying, and updating clients, devices, and servers across distributed, mobile, physical, and virtual environments. This suite of tools has optimization for the Microsoft Windows OS and is extendable beyond those capabilities. It's a suitable selection for those with interest in gaining enhanced insights into, as well as administering and managing IT systems.

What is System Center Configuration Manager?

SCCM, short for System Center Configuration Manager, is a suite of software management tools Microsoft created allowing users to manage a multitude of Windows-based operating systems better.

SCCM features network protection, operating system deployment, patch management, remote control, and many other services. An important note for users to understand is that SCCM was previously named System Management Server (SMS) during its original release in 1994. It wasn't until November of 2007 that it was renamed to SCCM. It's also sometimes referred to as ConfigMgr.

Those who are using SCCM have full integration with Microsoft InTune. In doing so, they're capable of managing computers connected to a corporation, network, or business. SCCM makes it possible for users to manage computers operating with macOS or Windows, servers using Unix or Linux, and mobile devices utilizing Android operating systems, iOS, and Windows.

Leveraging its Use with Cloud Managed Service Providers

When companies utilize cloud managed service providers who understand SCCM to leverage its use, they'll be able to provide a digital vision for the client while simultaneously conducting an assessment of their systems and applications. In doing so, they'll determine the critical path the company needs for moving forward with their digital transformation.

Why is SCCM Beneficial for Businesses?

SCCM is beneficial for businesses in a myriad of ways. When SCCM is utilized by businesses, it allows the IT team to proactively manage the life-cycles of equipment, deploy software efficiently, and ensure policies are implemented consistently. SCCM also allows the IT to provide data necessary to troubleshoot issues with computers. SCCM will also collect information as inventory including:

Installation of Applications

Hardware Specifications

List of local user accounts

Services running

How Does SCCM Operate?

The Microsoft SCCM client works consisting of a client installed and a primary site server on each computer that's managed. The SCCM client can be set up to check the server during three different intervals including the following example:


1. Checking for new policies every sixty minutes


2. Uploading software once per day


3. Uploading hardware inventory once per week

How to manage Office 365 with System Center Configuration Manager

Traditionally, it's been a challenge for most corporate environments to deploy Office or Office 365. The main reason is that components have been moved, file types have changed, or the content size isn't manageable. When you look in the SCCM Console, you'll find a feature referred to as Office 365 Client Management in the Software Library.

Utilization of SCCM allows full integration of Office 365, thus offering the ability to deploy this program's productivity suite with SCCM natively.

Updating System Center Configuration Manager

Each time users want to perform updates to the current branch of System Center Configuration Manager; they must utilize the find and install in-console updates in the Configuration Manager. These updates must occur several times annually to receive product updates and introductions to new features.
Users will also find that there are different update versions identified by month and year. For example, November 2015 is identified in version 1511. Later updates have similar version names including February 2018 with its name 1802.

It's no longer necessary for users to track and install service packs or the most recent updates or releases. The Configuration Manager utilizes this in-console updating and servicing process to make it simple for users to discover and install updates.

What Can Users Expect from the Newest Release?

On Tuesday, July 31, 2018, the newest release of System Center Configuration Manager, version 1806, was released. This is the current branch's 9th release by David James and his team.

The new release includes the introduction of a new and powerful capability called CMPivot. It's an in-console utility providing access to your environment's real-time state of their devices. CMPivot will give the companies instant insights, filter and group queries, and allow managers to take immediate action.

Understanding the Differences Between Releases

Current Branch:

For those who are using the Current Branch (CB) of SCCM, it's primarily developed for utilization in production environments. While Current Branch releases occur several times annually, they're mainly for relatively small to substantial enterprise use in production environments.

Technical Preview

Those who will be using the new release will be using what's called the Technical Preview (TP), and that's for lab testing environments only. Only a small number of clients have access to the Technical Preview, and releases occur monthly. They contain the most current features the product is trialing, which typically result in user-voice feedback.

It isn't possible to upgrade from Current Branch to Technical Preview because they're distinctly two different branches.

Client Monitoring Using SCCM

Utilization of System Center Configuration Manager allows for several methods of monitoring and managing the client software upon deployment to the devices and computers in your company. It's possible to monitor clients to perform status checks, and under some circumstances, use SCCM to perform automatic fixes is problem detection occurs. SCCM also allows management solutions for clients and their device collections or individual devices.

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