Configuration Manager 2007 SP2 Beta Released
Microsoft last week released a public beta of Configuration Manager Service Pack 2 (SP2).
Configuration Manager is part of the company's System Center product family of management solutions for physical and virtual environments. Microsoft's last update to Configuration Manager was Service Pack 1, which was released in May of 2008. In August, an R2 version was released.
SP2 is currently being tested by Microsoft's Technology Adoption Program participants, and this public release broadens that testing.
A release candidate version of Configuration Manager SP2 is planned for this summer. The final product is expected sometime in January of 2010, according to the Microsoft Connect site.
For this release, Microsoft expanded Windows support. SP2 supports Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2, as well as client operating systems Windows 7 and Windows Vista SP2.
SP2 adds support for computers using Intel's VPro chipset and Active Management Technology (AMT) versions 4 and 5. Intel claims that its AMT technology helps IT pros better discover assets, such as desktop and remote PCs, even when the power is turned off those machines.
Microsoft has pointed to a problem in SP1 and SP2 in which "AMT clients are 'successfully' provisioned however their accounts are not created in the Out Of Band OU [organizational unit] specified." The problem stems from lack of support for disjointed namespaces, according to this blog, which suggests a workaround.
SP2 will allow users to sync with Microsoft's inventory for hardware and applications via a solution called Asset Intelligence. Microsoft removed a certificate requirement for such access with the release of this service pack.
The new service pack also helps enable BranchCache functionality using Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. BranchCache was first introduced in Windows Vista. It's an operating system feature designed to help speed up data access across a company's branch offices.
Microsoft describes more of the features of Configuration Manager SP2 in its blog here.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.