Say Hello to XPlat Client Support!

When Service Pack 1 was announced at TechEd North America a few months back I’m not sure many people were expecting this many changes. The announcement feels more like a R2 release than a Service Pack. One of the great features in SP1 is the ability to deploy and manage clients on OSX, Linux, Unix and Windows Embedded devices.

Personally I think that the support now available in Service Pack 1 is the first for people to move towards a single management platform for all systems. This along with the ability to import Windows Intune subscriptions into ConfigMgr will make it a real player for other devices.

Apple Mac OSX

First, we will look at the support available for clients with the OSX ConfigMgr client installed. Numerous features are available for clients, these features are:

  • Hardware inventory
  • Compliance settings
  • Application management
  • Software updates

So what exactly do we mean by these points above? Let’s take a closer look at these.

First is hardware inventory, not much to say here except you will be able to collect information about hardware and installed applications. You can use the resource explorer to view this information or create queries, collections and custom reports.

Next compliance settings. You can use Configuration Manager compliance settings to view the compliance of, and remediate Mac OS X preference (.plist) settings. For example, you could enforce settings for the home page in the Safari web browser or ensure that the Apple firewall is enabled. You can also use shell scripts to monitor and remediate settings in MAC OS X.

Next on the list is application management. You can now deploy the following formats to your OSX clients.

  • Apple disk images (.dmg)
  • Meta package file (.mpkg)
  • Mac OSX installer package (.pkg)
  • Max OSX application (.app)

Finally, software updates. You can use Configuration Manager application management to deploy required Mac OS X software updates to Mac computers. In addition, you can use compliance settings to ensure that computers contain any required updates.

It is important to note here that the supported versions for the client are; OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and OSX 10.7 (Lion), clients must also have a 64-bit chipset.

As a negative, you must be running PKI to be able to manage your clients (later posts on this subject). You shouldn’t be scared by configuring PKI, the process is much simpler and easier than switching from mixed to native mode in ConfigMgr 2007.

Linux or Unix

Installing the client is much simpler on Linux and Unix systems (again another post dedicated to this soon). You cannot use client push to install the client but you can however configure a runbook in System Center 2012 Orchestrator to automate this process. Just like the Windows client a number of command line options are available for installing the Linux/Unix client.

Hardware inventory and software deployment is supported on clients here, Linux and UNIX computers are designed to be workgroup computers. In order to access packages from the distribution point in the Configuration Manager site server domain, the Network Access Account must be configured for the site. You specify this account as a software distribution component property and the account must be configured before you deploy software.

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About Martyn

Martyn is one of the Senior Cloud Architects and DevOps Team Leader at one of the worlds leading Cloud Transformation Specialists Inframon. Martyn is responsible for the architecture of some of the largest Azure deployments in EMEA and is a advisor to a many businesses on their strategies. Martyn is a regular speaker at Microsoft events and community events on Azure and DevOps, giving his insight to a growing number of audiences.

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