A Hypothetical Future of SCCM
I just finished reading an article by Rod Trent where he mentions some possibilities that may come in Satya Nadella’s announcements tomorrow. That brought to mind something I have been thinking and saying for a while now…but never put in print. Just a warning…everything I say in this post is speculation. I have zero inside information from Microsoft that any of this will in fact happen. It is just my attempt to read between the lines of what I see and take a guess about what could happen.
For the last couple of years I have been looking at the future of System Center Configuration Manager. Once SCCM 2012 was released it became pretty clear that this was a very mature product that while could be improved in some feature areas…it wasn’t likely to change significantly from an architecture standpoint. As a consultant, that got me thinking about my IT future…what will I be doing in five years? Add to this the constant move towards the Cloud. And the growing functionality of Windows Intune. And it is not insignificant that Microsoft moved the Intune team into the same building as the SCCM team.
Right now we have SCCM as a VERY solid on-premise solution for managing systems. There is also an Intune connection where you can see systems that you are managing with Intune inside your SCCM console.
Now…what if that got flipped on it’s head?
What if Windows Intune was the “boss” of the management solution. What if you had the option to host an on-premise Intune server for content distribution (app and OS deployment)? In this scenario, Intune would be the equivalent of your current SCCM primary. The (currently fictional) on-premise Intune server would be like an SCCM Distribution Point. Managed from the cloud, but with a local presence for content.
Let that sink in a bit.
And then think about the “Cloud first” mantra that has been coming out of Redmond lately.
Here are some thoughts on how this could change the systems management arena…
- If this becomes a “Cloud first” solution, then Intune would be on the fast track development cycle (the cloud release cadence) and SCCM would be playing catch up (or maybe not).
- Upgrade of the management system? They would take place in the cloud…in Intune. Nothing for you to do.
- Migration to the next version? Again…that would take place in the cloud…as far as a consumer of the service is concerned, the migration wouldn’t exist any more.
- For the consumer of the service (Microsoft’s customers), there are a few appealing aspects of this. Less on-premise complexity to manage. Fewer servers that could go down. Less maintenance/upgrade of internal servers…and the manpower costs associated with that.
- From the Microsoft perspective, let’s be realistic. Microsoft is not a non-profit…they are looking to make money. (I’m not saying that is a bad thing…it is reality.) This would be a recurring revenue stream. If a customer goes down that path and sees the value in the service, then they are likely in it for the long haul.
If this does in fact happen, it would be a big time game changer. It wouldn’t happen overnight, but it would result in a lot of IT folks sweating and figuring out what they will be doing next to pay the bills.
But at this point…it’s all pure speculation on my part. Let’s see if Satya says anything down that path tomorrow.
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