Microsoft release two special servicing phases updates that depends on latest current branch version released:
- Phases 1 – Security and Critical updates: you receive both security and critical update in the first 4 months after a new current branch update released.
- Phased 2 – Security Update only: after phases one, you will receive security update only for 14 months as showing in the below figure:
Starting from Current Branch version 1710, support end after 18 months life cycle (4 months Security and Critical updates + 14 months Security Update only)
Microsoft: Support for Configuration Manager current branch versions
Microsoft announced release version 1610 for Current Branch of System Center Configuration Manager and include the following new features:
- Windows 10 Upgrade Analytics integration allows you to assess and analyze device readiness and compatibility with Windows 10 to allow smoother upgrades.
- Office 365 Servicing Dashboard and app deployment to clients features help you to deploy Office 365 apps to clients as well as track Office 365 usage and update deployments.
- Software Updates Compliance Dashboard allows you to view the current compliance status of devices in your organization and quickly analyze the data to see which devices are at risk.
- Cloud Management Gateway provides a simpler way to manage Configuration Manager clients on the Internet. You can use the ConfigMgr console to deploy the service in Microsoft Azure and configure the supported roles to allow cloud management gateway traffic.
- Client Peer Cache is a new built-in solution in Configuration Manager that allows clients to share content with other clients directly from their local cache with monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities.
- Enhancements in Software Center including customizable branding in more dialogs, notifications of new software, improvements to the notification experience for high-impact task sequence deployments, and ability for users to request applications and view request history directly in Software Center.
- New remote control features including performance optimization for remote control sessions and keyboard translation.
The following new features for System Center Configuration Manager with Microsoft Intune:
- New configuration item settings and improvements now only show settings that apply to the selected platform. We also added lots of new settings for Android (23), iOS (4), Mac (4), Windows 10 desktop and mobile (37), Windows 10 Team (7), Windows 8.1 (11), and Windows Phone 8.1 (3).
- Lookout integration allows to check device’s compliance status based on its compliance with Lookout rules.
- Request a sync from the admin console improvement allows you to request a policy sync on an enrolled mobile device from the Configuration Manager console.
- Support for paid apps in Windows Store for Business allows you to add and deploy online-licensed paid apps in addition to the free apps in Windows Store for Business.
For more details visit What’s new in version 1610 of System Center Configuration Manager documentation.
Abduljalil Abou Alzahab
End-of-support date of version 1511 of the current branch for System Center Configuration Manager on Dec 8th, 2016, each branch release is supported for 12 months from its general available (GA) release date, the first release date for branch 1511 was Dec 8th, 2015.
After Dec 8th, 2016 Configuration Manager with current branch 1511 will no longer provide security fixes.
Note: 1610 branch update is released on Nov 18th, 2016, it’s important to upgrade site hierarchy before Dec 8th, 2016.
Abduljalil Abou Alzahab
New version on Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) has been released, build 8443, this version is available on the Microsoft Download Center.
Microsoft will not tag this release with a year or update version, to align with System Center Configuration Manager and Windows 10 current branches, Microsoft will use the build number to distinguish each release.
Note: This update requires the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10, version 1607.
- Supported configuration updates
- Windows ADK for Windows 10, version 1607.
- Windows 10, version 1607.
- Windows Server 2016.
- Configuration Manager, version 1606.
- Deployment Wizard scaling on high DPI devices
- Johan’s “uber bug” for computer replace scenario
- Multiple fixes for the Windows 10 in-place upgrade scenario
- Several fixes to Configure ADDS step
- Removed imagex/ocsetup dependencies, rely solely on DISM
- Includes the latest Configuration Manager task sequence binaries (version 1606)
Abduljalil Abou Alzahab
Enterprise Mobility Suite to become Enterprise Mobility + Security: This name change doesn’t impact existing EMS customers. A new, expanded plan will be generally available later in 2016 and will be known as Enterprise Mobility + Security E5 and the existing Enterprise Mobility Suite becomes Enterprise Mobility + Security E3.
Changes in more details:
Azure Active Directory Premium
- The existing Azure AD Premium becomes Azure AD Premium P1, with no change for existing customers.
- Azure AD Premium P2, generally available later in Q3 2016, includes all the capabilities in Azure AD Premium P1 as well as the new Identity Protection and Privileged Identity Management capabilities.
Azure Rights Management + Secure Islands becomes Azure Information Protection
- The existing Azure Rights Management Premium becomes Azure Information Protection Premium P1, generally available in Q4 2016, with no change for existing Azure RMS customers.
- The P2 offer adds automatic classification, on top of the manual classification, labeling and everything else included in P1.
Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) become Microsoft Cloud App Security.
The below image show the different between EMS E3 and EMS E5:
Source: Enterprise Mobility and Security Blog
Abduljalil Abou Alzahab
According to Microsoft Support Lifecycle the following products are moving to end of support in April 12, 2016:
- Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
- Microsoft Customer Care Framework
- Microsoft Customer Care Framework 2005
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 for Embedded Systems
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition for Itanium-based Systems
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Standard X64 Edition
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition
- Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2006
- Microsoft Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition
- Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition
- Microsoft Visual J# 2005 Express Edition
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition academic license
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Architects
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Test Load Agent
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System
- Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition
- Windows Embedded for Point of Service
- Service Pack 3 for Windows Embedded for Point of Service
Abdul Jalil Abou Alzahab
Recently Microsoft release System Center Configuration Manager 1511, this is not 2016 release, instead you will expect multiple releases on coming year named as System Center Configuration Manager 16XX where 16 is the year and XX is the month, for example, if Microsoft release update in February 2016 the name will be System Center Configuration 1602.
What is new in System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch)
- Install updates for System Center Configuration Manager from Console.
- Service connection point replaces Microsoft Intune connector.
- Usage data collection.
- End of support Intel Active Management Technology (AMT) and Out of Band Management.
- New capability for testing new versions of the Configuration Manager client.
- Upgrade an operating system from Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.
- Windows PE Peer Cache.
- Manage Windows as a Service in your environment.
- Deploy Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for devices running Windows 10 and later.
- New modern look for Software Center.
- Ability to Create and deploy Windows Installer-based apps to enrolled PCs that run Windows 10.
- Ability to differentiate a Windows 10 computer that connects to Windows Update for Business (WUfB) for software update management versus the computers connected to WSUS for software update management.
- Schedule and run the WSUS clean up task from the Configuration Manager console.
- Improved workflow for creating configuration items in compliance settings.
- Support for managing settings on Mac OS X devices that are enrolled in Microsoft Intune, or managed on-premises by Configuration Manager.
- System Center Configuration Manager lets you integrate with Microsoft Passport for Work which is an alternative sign-in method that uses Active Directory, or an Azure Active Directory account to replace a password, smart card, or virtual smart card on devices running Windows 10.
- Introduces improvements to the mobile device management experience.
- Manage mobile devices using on-premises Configuration Manager infrastructure. All device management and management data is handled on-premises and is not part of Microsoft Intune or other cloud services.
For more information, check the below:
The good news is you can do in-place upgrade to System Center Configuration Manager (current branch) if you running:
- System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 1.
- System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 2.
- System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.
- System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 1.
- An evaluation install of System Center Configuration Manager (In place upgrade to a fully licensed version of System Center Configuration Manager).
- A release candidate install of System Center Configuration Manager (In place upgrade to a fully licensed version of System Center Configuration Manager).
- Technical Preview for System Center Configuration Manager (any version) not supported to upgrade to a fully licensed installation.
- If you are running System Center 2012 Configuration Manager without Service Pack, you need first to install Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 in order to perform in-place upgrade.
- If you are running System Center Configuration Manager 2007, you need to perform side by side migration to System Center Configuration Manager 1511.
The following link will guide you to plan well before upgrade to System Center Configuration Manager:
The following scenario consist of upgrade stand-alone System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 2 to System Center Configuration Manager:
- Lunch splash.hta and click on Install.
- On the Before You Begin page, click Next.
- On the Getting Started page, choose Upgrade this Configuration Manager Site and click Next.
- On the Microsoft Software License Terms, check on I accept these license terms and click Next.
- On Prerequisite License, accept prerequisite license terms and click Next.
- On the Prerequisite Download, specify path where you want to download Prerequisite or use exist path if you already download Prerequisite before, and click Next.
- On the Server Language Selection, it will show previous configuration and you can’t change it during upgrade, click Next.
- On Client Language Selection, it will also show previous settings and you can’t change it, click Next.
- On the Usage Data, Click Next.
- On the Service Connection Point Setup, select Yes, let’s get connected and click Next.
- On the Settings Summary, click Next.
- On the Prerequisite Check, configure any missing Prerequisite and click Begin Install.
- Upgrade will now start
- Click Close once upgrade is complete.
System Center Configuration Manager 1511 version number is 5.00.8325.1000, to check simply open System Center Configuration Manager Console -> Administration -> Overview -> Site Configuration -> Sites -> right click on your primary site that you upgrade and go to properties to check the version as showing below:
To upgrade clients automatically you can enable Client Upgrade feature from System Center Configuration Manager Console -> Administration -> Overview -> Site Configuration -> Sites -> right click on your primary site and choose Hierarchy Settings then go to Client Upgrade tab and check Upgrade all clients in the hierarchy using production client.
Abdul Jalil Abou Alzahab