Understanding the Partnership Between OMS and System Center Configuration Manager

Microsoft announced new licensing options on October 1st 2106 making it very attractive for OMS managed servers to have a ConfigMgr license bundled with it.

Could this be the renaissance of server management with ConfigMgr?

Microsoft is currently evolving the two-decade old System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) offering into a “As a Service” model with multiple updates per year. Many feature additions and improvement have mostly driven by changes in in services that ConfigMgr must integrate with such as Microsoft Intune and Office 365 Exchange Online. Said enhancements have been improving the device management capabilities of ConfigMgr and extending use case scenarios based on rapidly changing mobile device capabilities and use case scenarios. I’ve seen it change names and directions several times having used this product for more than two decades. In the late 1990s and early this millennium there was growing interest in using ConfigMgr (called SMS or SCCM back then) to manage servers. The problem was that client agent settings were set at the site level at that time. In order to have custom client agent settings for a group of systems, you would need to stand up another SMS or SCCM site. Consider that servers have different management requirements than desktops and laptops and you’ll understand why custom settings for servers were important. That changed in April of 2012 when System Center 2012 Configuration Manager shipped and it allowed custom client agent settings to be deployed to individual collections within a site. What a great way to have different configurations for different types of devices (kiosks, servers, desktops, laptops, DMZ, etc.) all have different management requirements. Unfortunately, the mindshare of most datacenter managers hasn’t kept up with the capabilities of ConfigMgr. Other toolsets became more prevalent in server management and the uptake of virtualization shifted the toolset requirements as well. By the time that server administrators were able to consider using ConfigMgr for servers, the whole server paradigm had shifted from physical servers, clusters, virtual and now cloud.

Enter System Center Configuration Manager 1606. There are many new features offered in this version that you will read about in a future post, but one that caught my eye in particular. It’s in prerelease but you can now connect your ConfigMgr site to an OMS tenant and OMS will have visibility into ConfigMgr data such as collections and manage the collections in OMS.

So how do you try this out? You will need to do three things:

  1. Ensure that you have consented to use Pre-Release features
  2. Enable the feature by right-clicking on it in the features pane and turning it on:
  3. Configure the OMS Connector:

The details of how to configure the connector will be detailed in a future post.