MSCC for Microsoft

Microsoft Configuration Manager (MSCC)

Microsoft Configuration Manager, also known as MSCC or ConfigMgr, is a system management software product developed by Microsoft. Configuration Manager has changed a lot since Microsoft had originally released it in 1994 as 'System Management Server'. The latest version of MSCC, called version 2309, was released on 31 October 2023.

What is Microsoft Configuration Manager?

Microsoft Configuration manager is part of the Microsoft Intune product family and is designed to manage large groups of computers. Microsoft Configuration Manager also provides remote operation, patch management, software distribution, operating system deployment and software and hardware inventory. Microsoft Configuration Manager supports the operating systems Windows Embedded and Microsoft Windows.

Previously, Microsoft Configuration Manager underwent two other brand changes. These name changes resulted in reducing confusion with other initialism and including the software in the Microsoft system management portfolio. In 2007, SMS (System Management Service) was changed to SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager). This helped against confusion with the Short Message Service. Furthermore, the product was merged with other system management tools to be overall under a unified System Center brand. In 2019, however, Configuration Manager moved to Microsoft Endpoint Manager suite. This allowed it to be better aligned with Microsoft Intune and other related endpoint management products.

MSCC can help users with a number of system management activities. For example, consider the following:

  1. Increasing IT productivity and efficiency by reducing manual tasks. This allows the user himself to focus on high-value projects.
  2. Maximising investments in hardware and software.
  3. Increasing overall user productivity by delivering the right software at the right time.

What does Microsoft Configuration manager provide?

Configuration manager helps deliver more effective IT services by enabling a number of settings:

  1. Secure and scalable deployment of software updates, operating systems and applications.
  2. Ensuring real-time actions on managed devices.
  3. Providing analytics and management in the Cloud for on-premises and internet-enabled devices.
  4. Controlling compliance settings.
  5. Comprehensive management of servers.

Furthermore, Configuration Manager works with many Microsoft technologies and solutions. For example, integration is possible with:

  1. Microsoft Intune: This allows a wide range of mobile device platforms to be managed together.
  2. Microsoft Azure: It is possible to host Cloud services to extend management services.
  3. Windows Server Update Services (WSUS): The ability to manage software updates.
  4. Certificate Services
  5. Exchange Server and Exchange Online
  6. Group Policy
  7. DNS
  8. Windows Automated Deployment Kit
  9. Windows Deployment Services
  10. Remote desktop and remote assistance

Furthermore, Configuration manager also makes use of other Microsoft technologies, such as:

  1. Active Directory Domain Services and Microsoft Entra-id: This provides security, service location, configuration and to detect both users and devices to be managed.
  2. Microsoft SQL Server: Can be used for a distributed database for change management and also integrates with SQL Server Reporting Services to produce reports. This also monitors reports and tracks management activities.
  3. Site system roles: Extends management functionality and enables the use of Internet Information Services' web services.
  4. Delivery Optimisation, Background Intelligent Transfer Service, Windows Low Extra Delay Background Transport and other peer cache technologies. These allow content to be managed on networks and between devices.

To start using Configuration Manager effectively in a production environment, it is important that management functions are thoroughly planned and tested. Configuration Manager is a powerful management application, which can affect any computer within the organisation. When Configuration Manager is implemented then Configuration Manager can reduce administrative overhead and total cost of ownership. However, this also involves careful planning and consideration of business requirements.

What components does Microsoft Configuration manager consist of?

The Microsoft Intune product family is an integrated solution for management around all devices. Microsoft has brought Intune and MSCC together without a complex migration. In doing so, Microsoft has also ensured that simplified licences are available. The Microsoft Intune brand consists of the following Microsoft management solutions:

  1. Configuration Manager
  2. Intune
  3. Endpoint Analysis
  4. AutoPilot

MSCC itself also consists of a number of components. Below are the functions the user can make use of with MSCC.

  1. Policy infrastructure
  2. Service window manager
  3. State system
  4. Center Configuration Manager scheduler (CCM scheduler)
  5. Center Configuration Manager Configuration item Software Developers Kit (CCM CI SDK)
  6. Desired configuration management agent (DCM agent)
  7. Desired configuration management reporting (DCM report)
  8. MTC
  9. CI agent
  10. CI shop
  11. CI downloader
  12. CI task management
  13. CI state shop
  14. Content infrastructure
  15. software distribution
  16. Reporting
  17. Software updates
  18. Operating system implementation

Microsoft Configuration Manager: Software Center

If the user installs the Configuration Manager client on a Windows device then the Software Center application is also installed at the same time. Users can use this application to request software to be installed. Software Center allows users to perform certain actions. Consider the following:

  1. Browse between applications, software updates and new versions of the operating system or to install.
  2. Display the history of software requests.
  3. Display device compatibility according to the policies of the respective organisation.

Furthermore, it is also possible to display custom tabs in the Software Centre. Thus, additional business requirements can be met.

Microsoft Configuration Manager: next steps

When Configuration Manager is installed then the Configuration Manager console will be available. With it, it is possible to configure sites and clients. It is also possible to perform or monitor management tasks. The console is the main management point, as it can also manage multiple sites. The Configuration Manager console can be installed on additional computers. This limits access and allows users with administrator rights to be restricted in the console.

The Configuration Manager console is always installed on each site server. The easiest method to access the console on a Windows computer is by going to the start menu. Here, Configuration Manager Console can be typed in. A number of search results will then appear, such as the Microsoft Endpoint Manager group. This contains Configuration Manager Console. To get started, the console must first connect to the central management site server or to the primary site servers. The Configuration Manager console cannot connect to a secondary site. During installation, an FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) of the site server to which the console connects is specified.

If the user prefers to connect to a different site server, the steps below can be followed:

  1. Click the arrow at the top of the ribbon and choose Connect to a new site.
  2. Then type the FQDN of the site server. If the site server has been previously connected to, the server can be selected from the drop-down list.
  3. Click Connect.

It is important that before installing Configuration Manager, the user has become familiar with the basic concepts and terms. These basic concepts and terms can be consulted on the Microsoft website.