Upon waking up today, I found out that a new version of System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) had been released, SCCM Current Branch 1906! In this blog post, I cover the new features in SCCM 1906, that I think are the most exciting.
If you are reading this blog post a while later, the release date of SCCM 1906 was on May 26th, 2019.
Since it’s a Saturday and it’s warm and sunny in Sweden today, I was aiming at hitting the beach early morning, but that will have to wait 🙂
Three times a year, Microsoft releases a new version of System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).
The last release was named 1902 and was released in March of this year.
Below you can see the servicing support of SCCM for 2018/2019:
There are quite a lot of new features included in SCCM 1906.
This blog post doesn’t cover all the new features in SCCM 1906, but just the subset that I think is the most interesting.
The most exciting news in SCCM 1906, according to me:
- Desktop Analytics integration
- Role-based access for folders
- Debugging of Task Sequences
- Clear app content from client cache during Task Sequence
- Add a column for SMBIOS GUID in the device collection view
- Multi-select and delete packages
- User Group Discovery for Azure Active Directory
- A stand-alone version of CMPivot
- Dashboard for Delivery Optimization
- Windows Virtual Desktop support
- The new log viewer OneTrace
- Determine the retention period for SCCM client cache
- Pre-cache driver packages and OS images
- Direct links to custom tabs in Software Center
- Updated Software Center notification for newly available software
The most exciting new features in SCCM 1906
User Group Discovery for Azure Active Directory
A stand-alone version of CMPivot
CMPivot is an excellent tool for viewing hardware inventory data as well as real-time data.
With SCCM 1906, you can now also open CMPivot as a stand-alone application.
Install CMpivot using cmpivot.msi located in:
D:\Program Files\Configuration Manager\tools\CMPivot
Below is a screenshot of CMPivot:
Dashboard for Delivery Optimization
It is now possible to view how much client data is retrieved from Delivery Optimization in the SCCM console.
Windows Virtual Desktop support
Replacing Microsoft Azure Remote App, Windows Virtual Desktop is Microsofts new Azure-based service for running applications in the cloud.
One great benefit of implementing Windows Virtual Desktop is that you receive free extended Windows 7 security updates until 2023.
The new log viewer Support Center OneTrace
OneTrace is now the default log viewer in SCCM.
Determine the retention period for SCCM Client Cache
It is now possible to determine how long the SCCM client should keep client cache data before deleting it.
The setting is located in Client Settings and is called Minimum duration before the client can remove cached content (minutes).
To be able to configure the SCCM client retention period is an awesome feature!
Clear app content from client cache during a Task Sequence
This issue has been present for a long time now, and at last, the SCCM team has solved it! You encounter this issue if you install large applications in a Task Sequence. The SCCM client cache is filled up, and your Task Sequence fails.
The reason for this is that the SCCM cache by default only clears up itself every 24h.
This feature is very handy in many scenarios!
Pre-cache driver packages and OS images
Improving the pre-cache method, it is now possible to also pre-cache driver packages, as well as OS images.
It is now possible to create and share direct links to custom tabs in the Software Center.
Multi-select and delete packages
With SCCM 1906, we finally have the possibility of selecting several packages in SCCM and deleting them. Before this feature, we had to remove packages one-by-one in the console or create a Powershell script to remove the packages at the same time.
Why has this not worked before? Great!
Add a column for SMBIOS GUID in the device collection view
My recommendation nowadays is always to use the SMBIOS GUID instead of the Mac address. The reason for this being that if you have shared network adapters, like in a dongle, you are not able to PXE boot several machines in succession.
Desktop Analytics integration
I am excited about leveraging Delivery Optimization for Windows as a Service projects. Ever since Upgrade Readiness, I have been using it to analyze the Windows 10 telemetry data, before upgrading to a new version of Windows 10.
However, Upgrade Readiness had some shortfalls, mainly regarding the user experience. The issues in Upgrade Readiness seem to have now been solved in Desktop Analytics!
Scconfigmgr has written a great blog post on how to configure the Desktop Analytics integration.
Role-based access on folders
Creating a proper role-based access structure in SCCM has been a hassle since SCCM 2012 was released. One of the main reasons for this is that it has not been possible to grant specific permissions on folders.
It is is now possible to Set Security Scopes on folders in SCCM 1906.
Task Sequence debugging
WSUS Maintenance improvements
Maintaining a healthy WSUS infrastructure has always been, let’s say, challenging…
It is significant that Microsoft is acknowledging this and adding more features to maintain a healthy WSUS infrastructure.
The newly added WSUS maintenance tasks are:
- Maximum run-time for Windows Feature Updates in minutes
- Maximum run-time for Office 365 updates and non-Windows Feature Update in minutes
Updated Software Center notification for newly installed software
If a user receives a new application, the user is only notified once. Previously, the user would be notified upon each logon to Windows 10.
How to install SCCM 1906
As of this writing, July 27th, 2019, SCCM 1906 is only available for those who have opted-in for Fast Ring. Opting into the Fast Ring is something that you are required to do for each new release.
Each new SCCM release is typically in Fast Ring for around two weeks before being becoming generally available.
Download the script and run it on your Primary Server in SCCM.
Once downloaded, run the Fast Ring script:
Since I was a day late with this blog post, there are already other blog posts in the community, describing how to install SCCM 1906:
Monitor the installation of SCCM 1906 using the logfiles.
As part of the Evergreen IT strategy from Microsoft, it is imperative that you as an organization keep up-to-date on the latest software releases. An evergreen IT strategy is not just applicable for SCCM, but also for Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus.
Unfortunately, we did not see the MBAM integration many were looking forward to. My guess and hope are that it will be released in the next version, SCCM 1910.
Which features will you be using in SCCM 1906? Please leave a comment below!
Now I’m off to the beach!