A question I am getting a lot and which has been discussed many times is: ”why should we use Configuration Manager for deploying Software Updates instead of WSUS?” or “I use WSUS today and it works fine, why should I switch?”
I put together this list with some of the strongest arguments why you should move to the Configuration Manager 2012 for managing Software Updates.
- One Client:
The ConfigMgr client controlling all installations on a computer, both software updates and application installations. No more “Another installation is already running errors”. When ConfigMgr installs a software update to a c client Software distribution is paused to avoid these situations. When using a standalone WSUS the ConfigMgr client and WSUS client often tries to install software updates at the same time, which results in an error which is a hazard both for the end user and to the IT department. This is the one thing that many don’t think about but I think is one of the most important once.
There are many built-in reports for Software Update Compliance, troubleshooting and details. The reports combined with all the other information ConfigMgr holds about your clients in your environment you can easily create really powerful and customized reports that you need in your environment.
- Unified Management / One console to rule them all:
When using Configuration Manager 2012 for Software Updates as well as all other features in Configuration Manager 2012 like Application Management, OSD, Settings Management, inventory and now also Endpoint Protection you will have a single management console for you environment.
- Maintenance Windows:
Maintenance Windows can be used to control when changes are allowed to be made to a specific systems. This means that you deploy the update once and then based on Maintenance Windows the updates are installed and the servers are rebooted according to the deployment. More information about Maintenance Windows: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh508762
In Configuration Manager 2012 we have much more available options when it comes to scheduling an update and in combination with Maintenance Windows it is truly powerful.
- One Infrastructure:
The actual software update files are downloaded from the local DP and not the WSUS/SUP server. This means that you will not need a separate WSUS infrastructure and the updates are downloaded from the DP which minimizes the WAN impact for remote sites.
- Automatic deployment rules:
This isn’t really a benefit compared to WSUS, but as it is a new feature of Configuration Manager 2012 I will still add it to the list. It is possible to automatically approve updates, download them and distribute them to the DP’s automatically, just as you would in WSUS. More Information: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682168
- System Center Updates Publisher:
You can use System Center Updates Publisher to both download vendors catalog’s with updates like Adobe, HP and Dell and to publish your own updates into the WSUS DB and deploy them as updates in Configuration Manager 2012. More Information: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh134742.aspx
- OS deployment integration:
A built-in task is available and can be used to deploy software updates from Configuration Manager during the OS deployment in the Task Sequence.
- End user experience:
Software center is used for all end-user interaction, dialogs shown to the user all have the same look, making it easier for end user to understand what is happening.
Using query based collections we get really powerful options for targeting. We can dynamically create a collection based on any value that exists in the database for instance divide all clients based on the last number in the computer name, and deploy software updates to computers with odd computers on one day and all with even numbers the day after. Spreading the load and the risk automatically.
- Offline Servicing of Images:
If you use ConfigMgr 2012 for managing your Software Updates you can use the built in feature to do offline servicing on you OS Images, which means that you can install OS related Software Updates in the image without rebuilding the image. This will reduce the number of times you have to rebuild the image. More information: http://blogs.technet.com/b/inside_osd/archive/2011/04/18/configuration-manager-2012-offline-servicing-for-operating-system-images.aspx
If you haven’t made the switch already, what are you waiting for?
Thanks to Jason Sandys for reviewing the content and providing feedback, Thanks!