I am starting to grow old 🙁 woke up this morning with pain in my legs from the last few days of running. So no running this morning, instead I was spend the morning rearranging my schedule for today. My problem is that I have so many sessions I want to see and only so little time.

The opening keynote by Brad Anderson was a great mix between new announcements, demos and a look into the future. One of the new interesting members of the System Center family is System Center Online Desktop Manager. I haven’t a short name for the product, so I call i SCODM. SCODM is based on the success of Windows Update (serviced 650 mill computers with updates last month). With this new product you as a manager will be able to manage your computer from anywhere and computers can be managed regardless of where they are. In the first version of the program a limited number of management features will be made available. But it is the plan that new features will be added to the list.

List of features in the first version:

  1. Host protection
  2. Desktop monitoring
  3. Desktop configuration
  4. Asset Management
  5. Update Management
  6. Remote Assistance

The product will be released in 2010.

New Config Mgr. Software features

There was also a demonstration of some new Software Distribution features in Configuration Manager .Next. These new features really “rocks” and it looks like it is going to solve one the biggest problems with software distribution – delivering the right application to the right user at the right time. Today software distribution can be a very complex task due the change in end user mobility. Users a not any longer tight together to a single computer. They roam, log on to different devices laptops, desktops, mobile devices etc. This change is end user behavior makes it very hard to deliver user targeted software. In the next version we have a new set of features that will assist us in supporting these changes in end user behavior.

  • Model driven application installation.
    • For each package you can create different delivery rules for example:
      • If you are logging on the your primary device an MSI file can be installed locally.
      • If you are logging on to colleagues computer the installation will be a link to the same remote application on a Terminal Server
      • If you a logging on to a mobile device, the software wont be installed.
  • Software catalog
    • A web based software catalog will be made available to the end user. So he/she instantly can install any application that has been advertised. Being a web based catalog opens endless possibilities, for each application you can provide additional information about the usage, company policies and even online training videos.

The opening keynote was worth every single minute.

First session of the day was Lights out client management with Config Manager: Reduce TCO while improving customer productivity and security. With Config Mgr. Sp1 Out of Band Management was introduced in Config Mgr. This session gave a very good introduction to the Intel technologies and prerequisites for configuring the service. Intel has done a pretty good job with an on line training video which you can watch here - http://communities.intel.com/community/openportit/vproexpert/microsoft-vpro/blog/2008/10/24/microsoft-sccm-2007-sp1-intel-vpro-training-videos-now-available Enabling Out of Band Management requires some work done on both the client side and also on the servers. But once everything is configured you will experience all the benefits from Day 1.

To get started with Out of Band Management make sure you check these guides:
Infrastructure Checklist  - http://communities.intel.com/openport/docs/DOC-2300 and http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc161943(TechNet.10).aspx
Config Mgr. Prerequisites - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc161785(TechNet.10).aspx

Second session of the day was A Geeks Guide to USMT 4.0 with Johan Arwidmark. Johan is always worth spending some time with. His knowledge about the deployment technologies is endless and with every session you are always guaranteed to get lots of tips and tricks. For more information about USMT 4.0 check - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd560752.aspx especially take a look at the The new hard-link migration store – this technique is pretty fast and will dramatically decrease the time spend for computer refresh scenarios.