System Center Configuration Manager ( Current Branch )

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Current Branch ?

The December 2015 release of System Center Configuration Manager is the latest product release of Configuration Manager from Microsoft. It is sometimes called System Center Configuration Manager current branch. Current branch indicates this is a version of System Center Configuration Manager that supports incremental updates to the product. (As of December 2015, additional versions of System Center Configuration Manager are not available.) Typically, ‘current branch’ is not used when referring to the product, but in the future it can be an important distinction between releases of Configuration Manager.

With this release System Center Configuration Manager:

  • Does not use a year or product identifier in the product name, as seen with past versions like Configuration Manager 2007 or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
  • Supports incremental in-product updates, also called update versions.

Incremental update versions: One of the new features for System Center Configuration Manager current branch is a new in-console Updates and Servicing process that replaces the need to learn about, locate, and download updates from external sources. This means no more service packs or cumulative update versions to track.

Instead, when you use the System Center Configuration Manager current branch, you periodically update the product using Install in-console updates for System Center Configuration Manager to install new update versions. New update versions release periodically and will include product updates and can also introduce new features you can choose to use (or not use) in your deployment. Different update versions are identified by year and month number like 1511, which identifies November 2015 (the month when System Center Configuration Manager was first released to manufacturing). Future updates, beginning in 2016, will have version names like 1602, which indicates an update that was created in February of 2016.

These update versions are key to understanding the incremental version of your System Center Configuration Manager installation, and what features you might have available to enable in your deployment.

Some versions are only available as updates for existing sites (from within the Configuration Manager console), and cannot be used to install new Configuration Manager sites. For example, the 1602 update is only available from within the Configuration Manager console and is used to update a site that runs a baseline version of 1511 to version 1602.

Another change is  The service connection point:

  • Replaces the Microsoft Intune connector when you integrate Intune with System Center Configuration Manager On-premises Mobile Device Management
  • Is used as a point of contact for devices you manage with
  • Uploads usage data about your deployment to the Microsoft cloud service
  • Makes updates that apply to your deployment available from within the Configuration Manager console

With System Center Configuration Manager, native support for AMT-based computers from within the Configuration Manager console has been removed. This The Out of Band Management point site system role is no longer used nor available.

I had a look at the new features and they are really cool. For example;

System Center Configuration Manager introduces a new capability for testing new versions of the Configuration Manager client before upgrading the rest of site with the new software. This new capability gives you the opportunity to set up a preproduction collection in which to pilot a new client. Once you are satisfied with the new client software in preproduction, you can promote the client to automatically upgrade the rest of the site with the new version.

and

A new task sequence type is available in the Create Task Sequence Wizard, Upgrade an operating system from upgrade package, that creates the steps to upgrade computers from Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.

and what about;

System Center Configuration Manager introduces an improved workflow for creating configuration items. Now, when you create a configuration item, and select supported platforms, only the settings relevant to that platform are available.

These are just a few of them. This product is getting better and better and makes our jobs easier. Microsoft has got a nice documentation about this on their website, I recommend everyone to go and have a look.

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Creating a file share in AZURE

Microsoft Azure offers fully managed file shares in the cloud. Because Azure File Storage exposes file shares using the Server Message Block 3.0 (SMB) protocol, the predominantly used file share protocol for existing on-premises applications, it simplifies moving your existing applications to the cloud, and because Azure File Storage allows applications to mount file shares from anywhere in the world, your on-premises applications can take advantage of cloud storage without change. Azure File Storage also implements REST API protocol, which enables you to develop modern applications that integrate with existing applications. And Microsoft Azure File Storage has got new features like; SMB 3.0 support, includes encryption and persistent handles, a new browser-based file explorer in the Azure portal,  Azure Storage Metrics for Azure File storage an also the ability to mount Azure File Storage file shares from outside of Azure datacenters.

So how to create a file share; (GUI or Powershell), let’s try Powershell…

Choose your storage account… We will need the name for our powershell cmdlets;

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And then click on the storage account to go on CONFIGURE .

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At the very bottom click on Manage Access Keys to get your key;

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We are interested in the Primary Access Key, and click on the little file icon next to it to copy. This is the long key such as

b8VW6dmfugxsrNyF/TkHO9lkA00123456789KWEBJzPC0OBFStObAuUwzNJWUkT8Qs5AdUJsHGUiCYqbcjSw==

Next is we need to run our Powershell cmdlets;

$storageaccount = “msenelstorage01

$storageaccount_key = “b8VW6dmfugxsrNyF/TkHO9lkA0vSPs4jEos0w+KWEBJzPC0OBFStObAuUwzNJWUkT8Qs5AdUJsHGUiCYqbcjSw==

$sharename = “Logs”

$storageaccount_context = New-AzureStorageContext $storageaccount $storageaccount_key

$create_share = New-AzureStorageShare $sharename -Context $storageaccount_context

And let’s run this….

PS C:\Users\murat.senel> $storageaccount = “msenelstorage01”

$storageaccount_key = “b8VW6dmfugxsrNyF/TkHO9lkA0123456789jEos0w+KWEBJzPCFStObAuUwzNJWUkT8Qs5AdUJsHGUiCYqbcjSw==”

$sharename = “logs”

$storageaccount_context = New-AzureStorageContext $storageaccount $storageaccount_key

$create_share = New-AzureStorageShare $sharename -Context $storageaccount_context

PS C:\Users\murat.senel>

In the storage account, you can see the URL for file storage;

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https://msenelstorage01.file.core.windows.net/

Now we can only check this on the Preview Portal as GUI;

Go to the Portal;

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Click on the storage account that you used;

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Click on the Files >

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There it is, our Logs file share created….

The second method might be easier if you don’t want to use Powershell…

You can basically go to the File Share tab and  on the top you will see New Share tab.

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What else can we show with a file share ?

Lets’ create a directory (called Server001Logs) in the Logs share;

PS C:\Users\murat.senel> New-AzureStorageDirectory -Share $create_share -Path Server001Logs

Directory: https://msenelstorage01.file.core.windows.net/logs

Type                Length             Name                                                                                                                 —-                ——             —-                                                                                                                    DIR                                    Server001Logs

And upload a file in to that directory…

Set-AzureStorageFileContent -Share $create_share -Source C:\MyScripts\serverlist.txt -Path Server001Logs

Let’s check them on the Portal ….

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Directory is there .. And our uploaded file is …… >

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also there…. 😉