Application management in Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager provides both Configuration Manager administrative users and Configuration Manager client device users the tools to manage applications in the enterprise.
|A device, in Configuration Manager, is a collective term that includes any kind of computer such as a desktop, server, or a portable computer, and mobile device, such as a phone.|
For administrative users, the benefits of application management include the following:
- Applications in Configuration Manager support
user-centric management so that you can associate specific users
with specific devices. Instead of having to remember the name of a
user’s device, you can now deploy software to the user and to the
device. This functionality can help you make sure that the most
important software is always available on each device that a
specific user accesses. If a user acquires a new computer, you can
automatically install the user’s applications on the device before
the user logs on.
- You can send application deployments to
users, devices, groups of users, or groups of devices.
- You can use requirements to control the
deployment of applications to devices. For example, you can specify
that an application can be installed only on computers that have
more than 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM, or specify that you want the
application to install only on computers that run Windows 7.
Applications are installed only on the computers that meet the
specified requirements. Configuration Manager contains a set of
built-in requirements called global conditions, and you can also
define custom requirements.
- Users can install Windows software directly
from the Application Catalog self-service website.
- Users can request approval to install
software from a self-service website, the Application
Catalog. Administrative users can approve or deny these
- An administrative user can configure a
deployment purpose and action for an application. This
configuration controls whether the application is required or
optional and whether the application must be installed or
uninstalled. Configuration Manager periodically monitors the state
of the deployment. For example, if an application has a deployment
purpose of Required and the user uninstalls it,
Configuration Manager automatically reinstalls the application.
For client device users, the benefits of application management include the following:
- A new client program, Software Center,
provides a user-friendly interface that lets the user of a Windows
client computer perform typical tasks to help manage software that
Configuration Manager installs on their devices.
- A self-service application website, the
Application Catalog, lets users search for, install, and
request Windows applications. Users who have mobile devices can
also use this website to wipe their mobile devices.
- Users can configure when software and updates
must not be installed by specifying their own working hours.
Configuration Manager continues to support packages and programs that were used in Configuration Manager 2007. For more information, see Packages and Programs in Configuration Manager. A deployment that uses packages and programs is useful when you deploy any of the following:
- Scripts that do not install an application on
a computer, such as a script to defragment the computer disk
- One-time scripts that do not require
- Scripts that run on a recurring schedule and
do not use global conditions or requirement rules.
|In Configuration Manager SP1, you must use packages and programs to deploy software to Linux and UNIX servers.|
|You can use Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Package Conversion Manager to convert packages and programs into Configuration Manager applications. Download Package Conversion Manager from the Microsoft Download Center site.For more information, see Configuration Manager Package Conversion Manager.|
See the following sections for more information about application management:
Applications in Configuration Manager
Applications in Configuration Manager
- Configuration Manager
and App-V Virtual Applications
- App-V Virtual
Application Deployments in Configuration Manager
New in Configuration Manager
- What’s New in
Configuration Manager SP1
For an example scenario that shows how you might deploy and manage the life-cycle of an application in your environment, see Example Scenario for Managing Applications by Using Configuration Manager.
Creating Applications in Configuration Manager
An application in Configuration Manager contains the files and information that are required to deploy software to a device. An application also includes information about the software that all deployment types share. Applications are similar to packages in Configuration Manager 2007, but applications contain more information to support smart deployment.
When you modify an application, a new revision of the application is created. Earlier versions of the application are stored and you can retrieve them later if they are necessary.
You can also export applications from Configuration Manager to a file or import applications into Configuration Manager from a file. Therefore, you can make a backup of an application independently from Configuration Manager or move an application to another Configuration Manager site.
The following topics describe the typical elements of an application in Configuration Manager.
General Application Information
Application Catalog Information
Requirements and Global Conditions
Deploying Applications in Configuration Manager
Use deployments in Configuration Manager to distribute applications to users or devices in your organization. The Deploy Software Wizard lets you specify information about the application deployment.
User Device Affinity
Support for Windows Embedded Devices That Use Write Filters
Application Catalog and Software Center
Configuration Manager and App-V Virtual Applications
You can use System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to install and manage virtual applications as deployment types in an application. To deploy a virtual application, you must first create the virtual application by using the Application Virtualization Sequencer. The sequencer monitors the installation and setup process for an application and records the information that is needed for the application to run in a virtual environment. You can also use the sequencer to configure which files and configurations apply to all users and which configurations users can customize.
When you sequence an application, you must save the package to a location that can be accessed by Configuration Manager. You can then create an application deployment that contains this virtual application.
|Configuration Manager does not support use of the shared read-only cache feature of App-V.For Configuration Manager SP1 only: Configuration Manager supports the shared content store feature in App-V 5.|
When you create a deployment type for a virtual application, Configuration Manager creates the deployment type by using the contents of the application manifest file. This is an XML file that contains information about the virtual application. Additionally, Configuration Manager creates requirement rules for the deployment type based on the contents of the App-V .osd file that contains information about the supported operating systems for the virtual application.
For more information about how to create and sequence applications with App-V, see Application Virtualization in the TechNet Library.
To be able to use virtual applications in Configuration Manager, client computers must have the App-V 4.6 SP1 or a later version of the client installed.
Also, before you can successfully deploy virtual applications, you must update the App-V client with the hotfix described in the Knowledge Base article 2645225.
For information to help you plan to manage and deploy virtual applications, see Planning for App-V Integration with Configuration Manager.
What’s New in Configuration Manager
App-V Virtual Environments
For Configuration Manager SP1 only:
With connection groups in Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.0, your deployed virtual applications can share the same file system and registry on client computers. Unlike standard virtual applications, these applications can share data with one another. Additionally, connection groups preserve user settings for the applications that they contain. App-V virtual environments in Configuration Manager are used to configure connection groups on client computers. Virtual environments are created or changed on client computers when the application is installed or when clients next evaluate their installed applications. You can prioritize these applications so that when multiple applications try to change a file system or registry value, the application that has the highest priority takes precedence.
For more information, see How to Create App-V Virtual Environments in Configuration Manager.
Monitoring Application Deployments in Configuration Manager
You can monitor the deployment of all software by using the Monitoring workspace in the Configuration Manager console. Software deployments include software updates, compliance settings, applications, task sequences, and packages and programs.
Applications in Configuration Manager support state-based monitoring, by which you can track the last application deployment state for users and devices. The state messages display information about individual devices. For example, if an application is deployed to a collection of users, you can view the compliance state of the deployment and the deployment purpose in the Configuration Manager console.
An application deployment has one of the following compliance states:
- Success – The application deployment
succeeded or was found to be already installed.
- In Progress – The application
deployment is in progress.
- Unknown – The state of the application
deployment could not be determined. This state is not applicable
for deployments with a purpose of Available.
- Requirements Not Met – The application
was not deployed because the device was not compliant with a
dependency or a requirement rule, or the operating system to which
it was deployed was not applicable.
- Error – The application did not deploy
because of an error.
For each compliance state, you can view additional information. This information includes subcategories within the compliance state and the number of users and devices in the category. For example, the Error compliance state includes the following subcategories:
- Error evaluating policy
- Content related errors
- Installation Errors
When more than one compliance state applies for an application deployment, the Monitoring workspace displays the aggregate state that represents the lowest compliance. For example:
- If a user logs on to two devices and the
application is successfully installed on one device but cannot be
installed on the second device, then the aggregate deployment state
of the application for that user is displayed as Error.
- If an application is deployed to all users
who log on to a computer, the monitoring process obtains multiple
deployment results for that computer. If one or more of the
deployments cannot be completed, the aggregate deployment state for
that computer is displayed as Error.
The deployment state for package and program deployments is not aggregated.
You can use these subcategories to help you quickly identify any important issues with an application deployment. You can also view additional information about which devices fall into a particular subcategory of a compliance state.
For more information, see How to Monitor Applications in Configuration Manager.