Introduction to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager (SCCM 2012 or ConfigMgr 2012) is a major enhancement to the platform that currently handles change management for almost 70% of enterprise PCs worldwide. Included in both the Standard and Datacenter editions of Microsoft System Center 2012 R2, SCCM 2012 saves network administrators time and reduces mistakes by automating or streamlining critical tasks such as provisioning computers, distributing applications and updates, monitoring and mitigating compliance settings for computers, tracking network assets, and administering a broad range of both company-owned and user-owned devices. SCCM 2012 also makes it safe for network managers to offload some of their work to end users by offering a variety of self-service options.
Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you plan for, implement, and operate System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. In addition, Progent can help you create an infrastructure that fully supports SCCM by providing expertise with related Microsoft technologies including Active Directory Domain Services, Microsoft SQL Server and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), Internet Information Services (IIS), Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) and BranchCache, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Network Access Protection (NAP), Certificate Services, Exchange Server, Group Policy, the DNS Server role, Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) and the User State Migration Tool (USMT), Windows Deployment Services (WDS), and Remote Desktop. Progent can help you deploy Configuration Manager to manage domain-attached devices in an on-premises network architecture or integrate Configuration Manager with Microsoft Intune and Microsoft Azure for managing both local and cloud-based devices in a hybrid architecture from a single management console.
New Features of System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager
System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager (SCCM 2012) includes many significant new and enhanced features compared to System Center 2007 Configuration Manager. These improvements cover diverse areas that include Windows 10 support, Cloud integration, built-in Endpoint Protection, simplified licensing, plus various enhancements to client deployment and operations, software deployment, content management, monitoring, and reporting. New or enhanced functionality available with current versions of SCCM 2012 include:
- Windows 10 Support
You can deploy or upgrade Windows 10 computers via wipe-and-load or in-place scenarios, and you can side-load internally developed Universal Windows applications to computers powered by Windows 10. SCCM 2012 also supports Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1.
- Enhanced Management of Mobile Devices
For iOS 6 iPhones and iPads, a company portal app allows users to change or reset their passwords, download and install company apps, and enroll, unenroll, or wipe company content from their devices. A management agent for Android 4.0 devices allows you to manage compliance settings including password, camera, and encryption, and you can install apps directly to the Android device. You can enroll devices as Company-owned, which allows you to inventory the software on all mobile devices.
- Integrated Endpoint Protection
Endpoint Protection, which allows you to manage anti-malware policies and Windows Firewall security for client computers in your Configuration Manager hierarchy, is integrated with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. Based on an improved version of Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010, Endpoint Protection in SCCM 2012 no longer requires a separate installation, includes a dashboard integrated with the new Configuration Manager console, and provides new reports that integrate with Configuration Manager reporting.
- Simplified Licensing
A dramatically simplified licensing scheme reduces the available versions of System Center to the Standard and the Enterprise editions. These have identical components and differ only in the number of virtual machines (VMs) supported.
- New Central Administration Site
The central administration site replaces SCCM 2007's central site as the top-level Configuration Manager site in a multi-primary site hierarchy. The central administration site is used to coordinate intersite data replication, monitor and report on all sites and objects in the hierarchy, and configure hierarchy-wide settings for client agents, discovery, and additional operations. The central administration site is not itself a primary site and supports only a few site system roles.
- New Configuration Manager Console
A new Configuration Manager console, which can connect either to a central administration site or to a primary site, groups operations into logical workspaces: Assets and Compliance, Software Library, Monitoring, and Administration. Search capabilities are available throughout the console, and a new browse and verify capability helps avoid configuration mistakes and assists troubleshooting.
- Client Reassignment
You can reassign SCCM 2012 clients, including managed mobile devices, to another primary site in the SCCM hierarchy. You can reassign clients individually or select multiple clients and reassign them in bulk to a new site.
- New Connectivity Profiles
VPN and Wi-Fi profiles provision devices with the settings and certificates required to access corporate networks or corporate Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Enhanced Reporting
SCCM 2012 is integrated with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Report Builder 2.0 for generating model-based and SQL-based reports. Reports are enabled for role-based administration, with data for all included reports filtered based on the permissions associated with the specific roles of the administrator who runs the report.
A new Alerts capability in SCCM 2012 offers close to real-time notification of site operations and conditions in the SCCM 2012 console. These state-based alerts, which are different from SCCM status messages and System Center Operations Manager alerts, update automatically as conditions change.
- Cloud Integration via Microsoft Intune
You can integrate Microsoft Intune with your System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager infrastructure and use the SCCM 2012 console to manage domain-joined, on-premises devices along with non-joined, internet-facing devices. Devices you can manage in this hybrid, unified solution include PCs, Macs, Linux and UNIX servers, iPhones and iPads based on Apple iOS, smart phones and tablets powered by Google Android, plus handheld devices running Windows Phone or Windows.
SCCM 2012 can integrate with Microsoft Intune for single-console management of domain-joined and cloud-connected devices
How Progent Can Help You with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager
When optimally deployed, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager can be an indispensable management tool that significantly lowers administration costs, improves user productivity, and enhances network security. To realize these benefits fully requires careful planning that takes into account your network infrastructure, business needs, security and compliance requirements, and budgetary realities. Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants have the experience to help organizations of any size to plan the design of Configuration Manager 2012 sites and site hierarchy and can provide valuable advice on issues such as whether and how to install a central administration site, primary sites, and secondary sites; how to use content management options; setting up multiple administrative users and global data replication; integrating on-premises, Cloud-based, or a hybrid architecture for Configuration Manager; extending the Active Directory schema; and designing a security and compliance strategy that supports all users regardless of their location or device type.
Progent can help you migrate efficiently to SCCM 2012 from a legacy change management platform or assist you to modify your existing SCCM 2012 solution to accommodate your evolving business needs. Progent can provide full project management services or as-needed consulting expertise, and Progent's disaster recovery planning consultants and business continuity experts can help you develop a Configuration Manager ecosystem that maximizes availability and recoverability. Progent can also provide Configuration Manager 2016 migration consulting services to help you upgrade from SCCM 2012 to SCCM 2016.
Progent offers SQL Server consulting to help you set up the backend databases required by SCCM 2012, and Progent's certified Windows Server 2012 R2 consultants can help deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 with the Hyper-V feature installed to host System Center 2012 R2. Progent's Microsoft Intune consultants can help you integrate SCCM 2012 with Intune to provide unified management of all on-premises and cloud-connected devices from the Configuration Manager console. Progent's wireless mobility consultants can assist you to build an easy-to-manage BYOD ecosystem for your smartphone and tablet users by offering services such as Apple iPhone and iPad integration and Android phone and tablet consulting.
Progent's experience providing advanced online consulting can save you time and money in deploying System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, and Progent's certified network security consultants can assist you to develop a complete security plan that includes the advanced security features of SCCM 2012. Progent offers System Center Operations Manager consulting to help you integrate this key component of Microsoft's System Center suite of IT management solutions, and Progent also offers support for other platforms within System Center 2012 R2 suite including Data Protection Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Orchestrator, App Controller, and Endpoint Protection. In addition, Progent's System Center 2016 Configuration Manager consultants can assist you to migrate efficiently to SCCM 2016 for unified management of hybrid cloud networks.
For more information about Progent's planning, consulting and troubleshooting support for Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.
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