Planning for SCCM Current Branch

I write about PowerShell and automation tools a LOT.  However, I pay my bills as a Consultant by designing, installing and supporting System Center products; most often SCCM (ConfigMgr).

For this reason, I’ve been scouring the web and Tweeting my thumbs off recently to scrape together what information I can on the new version of SCCM, to be prepared when my customers ask questions about it.

This is mostly an info dump of what we know and what we suspect about how Current Branch will play out for SCCM.  This plan is currently in place for a number of my customers, including some big enterprise customers. It’s how I’m doing it, but I will admit that I don’t have any secret info here (nothing NDA breaking :0 here).

That being said, If you think I’m wrong, call me out (but be ready to back it up with a source).  I plan to revisit this article to keep it up to date, because we honestly don’t know yet what some parts of this are going to look like.

SCCM as a Service = Current Branch

Some people refer to it as SCCM as a Service, but don’t mistake this for Intune.  If you’re sitting on an SCCM 2012 environment, you may wonder what this is and what it means for you.

It’s the SCCM we love except it’s also getting a TON of engineering effort and love from Microsoft right now.  We’re getting these new mini-releases semi regularly, a few times a year, and we’re getting a ton of new quality of life and feature updates for the SCCM Admin.  Redmond is listening.

You can call it simply SCCM Current Branch.  No more long names like System Center 2012 R2 ConfigMgr w/ SP1 or other tomfoolery, we have actual easy to pronounce names now.  Two digits for the year, two for the month, just the way Ubuntu linux has been done for years and years.

What we’ve got so far

The first release of SCCM Current Branch was SCCM 1511, meaning 2015 November was its ship date.  Since then, we’ve had another release of Current Branch, 1602.  From that pattern and the new monthly Tech Previews, it does look like we’ll be getting CB releases a few times a year, maybe quarterly or a bit longer than that.  These are real production releases of SCCM, with killer features like automatic console upgrade, multiple deployments from one ADR, and tons of other great new abilities.  Don’t confuse them for the monthly releases though, which are called Tech Previews. Continue reading