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.
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.