System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Beta 2 Available

Now I feel that product name really rolls off the tongue…

Back in the old days when I started this site the product I started to cover quite extensively was System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008. It was supposed to be the Mobile Device Management offering by Microsoft, and it had some nice features at the time that made it worth looking into. For a number of reasons – narrow platform support, complex deployment procedure, lack of marketing – to name a few, it never really took off though. (I had a lot of fun making those deep dive articles though.)

While System Center MDM halted it’s evolution the bits and bytes lives on in what is to be the next version of System Center Configuration Manager, previously codename v.Next, now with the final name bearing the 2012 suffix. The idea is obvious enough – why have two systems for managing mobile devices and computers when the two are converging.

In what seems like quite a long time ago, (about ten months actually), I tested the public beta 1 of SCCM 2012. Microsoft has now released an updated beta (#2) with the final RTM date still somewhat undefined. To not “lose the touch” I did a quick install to see if there’s anything new in the mobile department. It was a lot easier to install than beta 1 which required some tweaking to get installed, so that really was a positive experience.

Device support? I created a quick policy and snapped this screenshot from the summary:

I’m not saying their pants are on fire, but knowing how many different versions there are of “Symbian” I am guessing that “All” is an inaccurate term and what it really means is the E-series devices or something along those lines. The future of Symbian itself is probably worth speculations of it’s own, but not much is known about what Nokia will actually do with it. But this being a beta I expect the RTM to change if it turns out it doesn’t make sense to support Symbian devices.

I was going to test this too, but unfortunately the release notes indicate that Symbian support is currently just present in the UI, and not something that will work on actual devices…

Windows Phone 7 isn’t on the list either, but the operating system lacks mechanisms for MDM at this point as far as I know. Rumors has it that the Mango update that will be released in the Q3-Q4 time frame might prepare the OS for some “Enterprise features”, but no one outside the inner circle of the Windows Phone team knows the details. It might also be that MDM isn’t around properly until the release after that. Since RTM of SCCM still is some time away they might be able to include some WP7 support at RTM or in a Service Pack.

While I would see the rationale for not having Android support, (Android being far from enterprise ready), it would have been really impressive if Microsoft included iOS support. Knowing the hoops MDM vendors have to jump through to support iOS though I don’t know if MSFT wants to get in on that game. (iOS certainly has a lot of what you need for MDM these days.)

The policies you can apply and the stuff you can do is pretty much the same as what SCMDM and Exchange will let you do, so as far as I can tell there’s no new killer feature introduced at this point. I’ll have a couple of more looks at it, and will let you know if there’s any must haves present Smile

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