SCCM updates and Servicing got changed drastically in the last few years. I hear feedback from many SCCM admins that they don’t like the four(4) months upgrade cycle of SCCM. Let’s define SCCM Upgrade strategy for your organization.
It’s time to define a new process or revamp your existing process within your organization to remove the frustration about the SCCM upgrade. This post will share my experience with SCCM Deployment Rings – SCCM Release Management Process.
What Changed in SCCM Servicing?
SCCM infra upgrade used to happen once in one (1) year or two (2) years. Some organizations are still using SCCM 2007 under an extended support agreement with Microsoft.
Even the release cycle of a new version of SCCM 2012 was also used to happen once in 2 years. You will learn more about the sample SCCM Release Management Process in the latter part of this post.
Microsoft started releasing new versions of SCCM every four(4) months to cope with Windows 10 servicing requirements. Microsoft released three(3) versions of SCCM in a year and two(2) versions of Windows 10.
SCCM updates & servicing are a big change for all the organizations. They should redefine their internal release management process (SCCM Upgrade strategy).
[Related Topic – Release Management Process Tips for Windows 10 Servicing]
Advantages of SCCM Updates & Servicing
As Brad Anderson mentioned in his post, the world is moving to SaaS (software as a service). SCCM is getting continuous updates via the SaaS model. The key to making SCCM a SaaS product is updates & servicing model.
New Features – This regular update provides regular updates to customers. SCCM is a modern device management solution with many new features released every month. The new features are the most significant plus point of SCCM servicing.
Intelligent Update Availability and Automatic Download – With the new updates model, there is no need to download prerequisite files and updates from the Microsoft website, unlike SCCM 2012 and 2007.
All the required updates (source files) for your SCCM infra will automatically be downloaded to the SCCM server.
Continuous Improvement to Prerequisite checks – SCCM prerequisite checks are essential to reduce upgrade failures in the production environment.
The real secret behind the excellent success rate of regular SCCM upgrades is prerequisite checks. I think SCCM PG works based on feedback and telemetry data to improve prerequisite checks. SCCM Upgrade strategy.
My Personal Experience of SCCM Updates and Servicing (Define SCCM Upgrade Strategy)
I’m part of a team that manages a 60K+ client base SCCM environment, and we do perform SCCM upgrades every six(6) months.
The SCCM servicing/upgrade experience is very smooth, and we never faced any significant issues with frequent SCCM upgrades (SCCM Upgrade Strategy).
I have created a sample SCCM deployment ring for the SCCM admin’s reference. I hope this will help SCCM admins to go through SCCM upgrades with much more confidence.
A proper SCCM release management process for infra and client upgrades is required.
SCCM Upgrade Strategy – SCCM Release Management Process
Five (5) deployment rings follow the sample SCCM release management process. You should adjust SCCM deployment rings depending on your infrastructure and client requirements.
You can upgrade the pre-prod (staging) environment with SCCM fast ring when you don’t have a development environment.
Once the pre-prod environment is upgraded successfully, wait for SCCM slow ring release to boost the production environment.
(Define SCCM Upgrade Strategy)
|Deployment rings||Servicing Branch||Total Weeks of Delay|
|Ring 0 – Preview||SCCM CB TP (Technical Preview) versions||Every month (Isolated personal SCCM) + 2 Days|
|Ring 1 – Dev||SCCM CB Prod Version (CMCB) – Fast Ring||CMCB Prod Version Fast Ring Release + 1 Week|
|Ring 2 – Pre-Prod (Staging) Infra||SCCM CB Prod Version – Slow Ring||CMCB GA Slow Ring Release Date + 1 Week|
|Ring 3 – Pre- Prod – Client Upgrade||SCCM CB Prod Version – Slow Ring||CMCB GA Slow Ring Release Date + 2 Weeks|
|Ring 4 – Production Infra||SCCM CB Prod Version – Slow Ring||CMCB Slow Ring Release Date + 4 Weeks|
|Ring 5 – Production – Client Upgrade||SCCM CB Prod Version – Slow Ring||CMCB Slow Ring Release Date + 4 Weeks onwards|