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First Look At System Center Configuration Manager 2016 Technical Preview 2

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Microsoft recently released the Technical Preview 2 of System Center Configuration Manager 2016: https://technet.microsoft.com/library/dn965439.aspx

Per the TechNet article:

This release adds the following additional capabilities:

  • Sideloading apps in Windows 10
  • Windows PE Peer Cache
  • On-premises MDM: Adds support for Windows 10 desktop
    • Bulk enrollment of Windows 10 devices
  • Support for multiple Automatic Deployment Rules

In addition to new capabilities, this release includes several incremental improvements we want you to know about:

  • General improvements


There are several limitations with this Technical Preview, including the following:

  • Only a stand-alone primary site is supported. There is no support for a central administration site, multiple primary sites, or secondary sites.
  • Only the following versions of SQL Server are supported with this build:
    • SQL Server 2012 with cumulative update 2 or later
    • SQL Server 2014
  • The site supports up to 10 clients, which must run one of the following:
    • Windows 7
    • Windows 8
    • Windows 8.1
    • Windows 10


As per the limitations listed, the only option during the installation is for a Primary Site.


Going through the installation, I noticed that the CEIP program page is different (compared to the SCCM 2012 R2 installation), and no longer provides the option to "opt in" or "opt out".



There is now also a new option to connect SCCM to Microsoft's cloud service to keep it up-to-date. It will be interesting how this will work, and if we will get a prompt/option for the update, or if it will be forced upon us.


When the installer runs the Prerequisites Check, it is interesting that the Technical Preview 2 is still referencing/leveraging the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1, and not Windows 10 (even if it is only still in preview).


New/Additional Features

In addition to the features contained within the "R2 SP1" release (see my article here: First Look At System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Service Pack 1), there are some additional features now included.

All Corporate-Owned Devices

In Service Pack 1 for SCCM 2012 R2 release, there is already the options for iOS devices. Now in SCCM 2016 Technical Preview 2, we have the added option for Windows devices.


On the General screen, we have the option to choose the Management Authority between "On-Premesis" (which is spelt wrong), and "Cloud".


Software Library Workspace

Software Updates > Automatic Deployment Rules

Although ADRs are not a new feature/addition, there is a new Template to select aside from the "Patch Tuesday" and "Definition Updates" options; called "CAMP Updates".


With the 'CAMP Updates' template selected, the default Software Updates are set to "Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010" and "Critical Updates".


Operating Systems > Task Sequences

Within the Task Sequences area, there is a new option to choose from compared to SCCM 2012 R2 SP1, "Upgrade an operating system from upgrade package".



This new Task Sequence provides the option to, obviously, perform an OS upgrade (think Windows 7/8.1 to Windows 10). Nice.


Monitoring Workspace

Client Status

There are 2 new items within the Client Status area, "Production Client Deployment" and "Pre-Production Client Deployment".

Per the TechNet article: "This release includes new monitoring for client deployment status, which provides you feedback on client upgrades. This improved status includes drilling into the different status categories to obtain details about individual devices."


Administration Workspace

Cloud Services

Within the Administration workspace, within the Cloud Services section, there is an area for Update And Servicing/Features, which logically is connected to the new installation option of connecting to Microsoft's Cloud Service for updates and new features to SCCM itself.

Hopefully this will list the new features, updates, etc. and provide the option of when and where to install them.


Site Configuration > Client Settings

There are also some new features within Client Settings compared to the SCCM 2012 R2 SP1 release.



The new "Windows PE Peer Cache" client settings option, will be really useful especially with OSD.

Per the TechNet aritcle: "When you deploy a new operating system, computers that run the task sequence can use Windows PE Peer Cache (a new capability in Configuration Manager) to obtain content from a local peer (a peer cache source) instead of downloading content from a distribution point. This helps minimize wide area network (WAN) traffic in branch office scenarios where there is no local distribution point.

Windows PE Peer Cache is similar to Windows BranchCache, but functions in the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE)."


That covers some of the apparent changes. I'm sure there are a bunch of "under the hood" stuff that I haven't explored yet. But at least this gets your started.

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