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Microsoft Updates SCCM 2016 Technical Preview

Microsoft on Wednesday rolled out an update to the third technical preview (TP3) of its System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2016 product.

Microsoft initially released SCCM TP3 about a month ago. There's no download page to get this latest update; instead, it gets accessed through the Updates and Servicing node within the current SCCM TP3 release. Microsoft is planning to deliver future SCCM product updates through the Updates and Servicing node, according to its announcement. That's the plan for the final SCCM 2016 product, which is expected to reach "general availability" release status in the fourth quarter of this year.

This new update approach sounds much like the more agile service-oriented plan that Brad Anderson, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Enterprise Mobility, previously suggested would be coming for the SCCM product. However, Microsoft's announcement didn't use that characterization.

The update brings just two new SCCM TP3 capabilities. First, end users can now view installable software from the Software Center as Microsoft has rolled the Application Catalog into it. Second, Microsoft devised a new way to test SCCM updates. IT pros can "deploy and test updates to the Configuration Manager client using a pre-production collection while leaving your current client version in use by the remainder of your hierarchy," Microsoft's announcement explained.

The update is labeled "version 1509" and has some prerequisites, according to this TechNet article. It's just for test environments and is only available in English. It requires that Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 10 components be installed. It needs to be installed with SCCM TP3 "build 8287."

Microsoft's TechNet article explains that this update introduces a new update model for SCCM TP3 that better integrates with Microsoft Intune, which is Microsoft's mobile device management solution.

"This model replaces the need to install separate service packs, cumulative updates, or Extensions for Microsoft Intune, to gain new functionality," the article explains. "This service model is similar to those seen with other Microsoft products like Windows 10."

SCCM and Intune can work together via Microsoft connector technology, but the TechNet article explains that this update "replaces the Microsoft Intune connector" solution that is used to integrate those products.

This update brings Intune support for conditional access, a scheme that checks if a device is compliant before permitting access to Exchange e-mails or SharePoint documents. However, an Intune subscription is required to test this capability.

The update will cause SCCM TP3 to check for updates "every seven days." If it finds a new update, it will automatically download it and make it available for installation via the Updates and Servicing node.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.