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Beta drops for next System Center Configuration Manager release

Microsoft has released the first beta for its upcoming systems and client management product, tentatively dubbed System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) v.Next. The new release is designed to provide self-service application management for end users and simplify the administration of network infrastructures and clients.

Jeff Wettlaufer, senior product manager for Microsoft System Center, briefly described some of the beta’s new features in a company blog post. These include automation enhancements for content distribution, troubleshooting and compliance remediation (as you probably know, automation is an incredibly hot topic right now, as made evident by at least one recent Microsoft acquisition).

Wettlaufer wrote that more details about the beta will be made available over the next month.

I spoke with Robert Reynolds, director of product planning for System Center, at Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2010. I asked him about what customers can expect from the v.Next release of Configuration Manager, and this is what he had to say:

“The key thing is this evolution to what we call user-centric client management, and that is moving to where we are helping the desktop administrator focus on delivering applications to users and worrying less about which device that user needs to have the app on, which mode of delivery does that user need … All of those are opportunities, but they also add complexity to the administrator’s life.

So [Configuration Manager v.Next] focuses on being a single solution that allows one place to set policy, one place to do deployments. And you do that in a user-centric way that not only allows targeting of that experience to users, but also lets the user participate in defining what devices are their primary devices, in which cases they want full application install, etc.”

You can listen to my entire conversation with Reynolds here, where we also discuss what’s new with System Center Operations Manager, Service Manager 2010, and the cloud. You can check out the beta for System Center Configuration Manager v.Next from the Microsoft Connect website.

In the short-term, however, Microsoft announced a new beta for Configuration Manager 2007 R3 last month at MMS, which hosts some new power management features to help with what the company is calling “environmental IT.”

For more information on the latest Microsoft System Center releases, visit

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