Configuration Manager Technical Preview 1609, TFS 15 RC2 and More Released

TFS 15 RC2, SQL Server 2016 adds Windows Server 2016 Storage Spaces Direct support, VMM and support for .NET Framework, Update 1609 for Configuration Manager Technical Preview released.

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Released today is the Team Foundation Server (TFS) 15 RC2 a fully supported for production use.

"You can upgrade from TFS 2012 or newer to RC2. You can also upgrade the RC1 release to RC2, and you will be able to upgrade from RC2 to RTM (that should be a very fast upgrade, since there will be very few changes between RC2 and RTM)," writes microsoft.

Here are the requirements and download links:

Microsoft SQL Server 2016 will now support deploying databases on the new Storage Spaces Direct feature of Windows Server 2016.

"Storage Spaces Direct, new in Windows Server 2016, enables customers to create highly scalable and flexible storage solutions, using local storage." The ability to aggregate locally attached storage across the nodes in a failover cluster enables customers to create very large and highly available pools of storage from types of devices which could not be leveraged before, such as inexpensive SATA SSD, or cutting edge solutions like NVMe flash, which must plug directly into the PCIe bus inside the machine.

Storage Spaces Direct with SQL Server 2016

  • Advantages for SQL Server
  • Speed
  • The fastest storage devices currently available do not use any of the traditional storage bus protocols. They plug directly into the PCI-E bus, so that the system can access the data directly with extremely low latency, or even faster than that are solutions based on nonvolatile RAM sitting in DIMM slots. At this point, the capacity of the devices is modest, making the ability to aggregate them across many nodes extremely attractive.
  • Capacity
  • By aggregating locally attached storage across the nodes in a cluster, the capacity available in a single machine is multiplied. This gives a very interesting amount of capacity without sacrificing performance significantly.
  • Resilience and availability
  • By striping the data not only across multiple devices in one machine, but across the machines themselves, we have a solution that is resilient to the failure of any single component, including one or more of the machines themselves.
  • Cost
  • By pulling the storage into the servers themselves, we can achieve significant cost savings, while the resiliency features of Storage Spaces Direct make this an extremely reliable platform. The storage may also be arranged in performance tiers, with bulk data residing in less expensive SATA drives, and data with stringent performance needs residing on SSD or NVMe storage where the performance shines.

In addition, .NET Framework 4.6.1 and .NET Framework 4.6.2 are now officially supported on servers running Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM 2012 R2).

Also validated today Windows Management Framework 5.0 (WMF 5.0) with Windows Server 2012 R2 computers so that is supported as well.

And, Update 1609 for System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview has been released.

The TP releases give you an opportunity to try out new Configuration Manager features in a test environment before they are made generally available. Included in this preview:

  • Windows 10 Upgrade Analytics – Assess and analyze device readiness and compatibility with Windows 10 to allow smoother upgrades. This is done through integration with Windows Upgrade Analytics.
  • Office 365 Client Management Dashboard to track Office 365 updates and deployments.
  • Deploy Office 365 apps to clients by visiting new Office 365 Servicing node in the Software Library.
  • Improvements for BIOS to UEFI conversion – An OS deployment task sequence can now be customized with a new variable, TSUEFIDrive, so that the Restart Computer step will prepare the drive for transition to UEFI. See the documentation for additional details on the necessary customizations..
  • Improvement to Endpoint Protection antimalware policy settings now let you specify the level at which the suspicious files block applied.
  • Boundary Group Improvements allow more granular control of fallback behavior, and greater clarity of what distribution points are used.

New features for System Center Configuration Manager connected with Microsoft Intune to manage mobile devices:

  • TouchID, ApplePay and Zoom DEP settings provides an ability for admins to create enrollment profiles to skip initial setup screens for new iOS devices. TouchID, ApplePay and Zoom have now been added as options to configure in the iOS enrollment profiles.
  • Windows Store for Business allows customers to obtain applications (purchased or free) and deploy them to users in their organization.
  • Android, iOS, and Windows additional settings.
  • Native Connection Types for Windows 10 VPN profiles can now be created with Microsoft Automatic, IKEv2, and PPTP connection types in the Configuration Manager console without using OMA-URI.
  • Intune Compliance Charts – Admins can get a quick view of overall device compliance, and top reasons for non-compliance using new charts under the Monitoring, microsoft said.

To install Configuration Manager Technical Preview for the first time, installation bits with TP 1603 are available on TechNet Evaluation Center here.

Update 1609 for Technical Preview is available in the Configuration Manager console.