SCCM Upgrade Strategy for Infra Upgrade

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.

Patch My PC

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 TopicRelease 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.

SCCM Upgrade strategy - SCCM Release Management Process
SCCM Upgrade Strategy for Infra Upgrade 1

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 ringsServicing BranchTotal Weeks of Delay
Ring 0 – PreviewSCCM CB TP (Technical Preview) versionsEvery month (Isolated personal SCCM) + 2 Days
Ring 1 – DevSCCM CB Prod Version (CMCB) – Fast RingCMCB Prod Version Fast Ring Release + 1 Week
Ring 2 – Pre-Prod (Staging) InfraSCCM CB Prod Version – Slow RingCMCB GA Slow Ring Release Date + 1 Week
Ring 3 – Pre- Prod – Client UpgradeSCCM CB Prod Version – Slow RingCMCB GA Slow Ring Release Date + 2 Weeks
Ring 4 – Production InfraSCCM CB Prod Version – Slow RingCMCB Slow Ring Release Date + 4 Weeks
Ring 5 – Production – Client UpgradeSCCM CB Prod Version – Slow RingCMCB Slow Ring Release Date + 4 Weeks onwards
SCCM Upgrade Strategy for Infra Upgrade 2

2 thoughts on “SCCM Upgrade Strategy for Infra Upgrade”

  1. We are in an offline environment and got hosed by 1806 and the disconnected Patching bug. Then we had trouble getting the hot fix in a timely manner since we are disconnected. Too much work for the amount of releases and hot fixes that you need to get back to a stable platform.


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