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Microsoft Ships Beta of Next-Generation Configuration Manager

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Microsoft quietly announced this week that the next version of System Center Configuration Manager has hit its first beta milestone and has begun shipping to testers.

Dubbed “v.Next,” Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) upcoming refresh of Configuration Manager focuses on what the company refers to as the “three pillars” of the update, according to a post on the System Center Team Blogby Jeff Wettlaufer, senior technical product manager for System Center.

Those three pillars are user-centric application management, infrastructure simplification, and simplified client management, Wettlaufer wrote.

“System Center Configuration Manager v.Next is uniquely positioned to provide for powerful and flexible user-centric client management, allowing users to be able to seamlessly access their data from virtually anywhere, across multiple device types while providing IT with unified management tools and centralized control,” he added.

Configuration Manager is part of Microsoft’s System Center management suiteand is used to ease the deployment, upgrading, and management of desktop client and server operating systems and applications, along with handling patch management and system inventorying, according to company statements.

User-centric additions coming in v.Next include the ability for administrators to focus on the user’s intent as well as a new application management model to help “capture” administrators’ intent as well. The additions also include a “self-service portal” for end-users to access software themselves.

In a move to simplify management infrastructure and lower administrative overhead, v.Next adds “new role-based administration and user experiences” as well as “automated content distribution,” and a “redesigned” core infrastructure, which provides increased scalability.

Finally, under the rubric of simplifying client management, v.Next adds “automated remediation” for both compliance and client health, Wettlaufer continued.

The beta is available from Microsoft’s Download Center.

Microsoft has not yet given any dates for further milestones in System Center Configuration Manager v.Next’s development lifecycle.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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