If you haven’t heard yet, Microsoft is moving to quicker updates for its products and through servicing, will deliver these updates through branches. This new updating scheme is reaching most every product area within Microsoft, so get used it.
Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the next version of System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr). Dubbed ConfigMgr (or SCCM) vNext during the development process, the System Center team has decided to follow the Windows teams and instead of designated a year version, will name each release by its Build number.
If you’ve been watching the development of Windows 10, or even been part of the Insiders program, you’re already familiar with how these Build numbers work. The Build number denotes the year and month for release, and then contain a series of “dot” numbers to show the incremental updates. For example, 1511 means the Build was released in 2015 during the 11th month (November). 1601, therefore, will mean that the Build was released in January of 2016. You get the gist.
As is the case with the System Center teams at Microsoft, they tend to sometimes do things their own way. Though the latest version of System Center Configuration Manager was announced as release for general availability just yesterday (December 8th, 2015), the Build number is 1511. You read that right. What should have been 1512 released as 1511.
However, these Build numbers should increment pretty quickly. We may see an actual 1512 yet this month. And rumors suggest its highly possible to fix bugs and test the Build delivery process. ConfigMgr product upgrades have been on a slow ramp for the last 20-some years. Starting at SMS 1.0 and building all the way through 1.2, 2.0, 2003, 2007, 2012, and 2012 R2.
Microsoft is planning on monthly major Builds of ConfigMgr. The primary reason is to better align ConfigMgr with Microsoft Intune which is already on a monthly schedule. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Enterprises will need to update ConfigMgr monthly. Though there will be monthly Builds, not each new Build will be promoted to Current Branch. A Build that makes it to Current Branch status will be the version that Microsoft recommends Enterprises upgrade to and the Build that is safest and has the largest investment of new features since the last Current Branch.