17th October – Microsoft released Windows Server 2012 R2 & System Center 2012 R2

Today Microsoft released the newest release of the new R2 wave for the System Center suite.
The software is ready to download from the official Microsoft sites like Techned and MSDN.

System Center R2 Released

System Center R2 Released

The following links take you to the What’s New topics for System Center 2012 R2.

System Center 2012 R2 App Controller
System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager
System Center 2012 R2 Data Protection Manager
System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager
System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator
System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager
System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager

Furthermore Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 are also released today and ready for download.

Install Software Packages in a OSD Task Sequence using variables

When looking in SCCM implementations I regularly bump into the same issues. Lots of task sequences with a lot of different settings in them. Because of the exploding amount of task sequences there is a lot if differiation between them. This blog post describes how to use OSD variables to bring back the amount of sequences.

Let’s start,
This example is an school with student’s as well as teachers. They are divided into rooms by using the device collections. Depending on the (class) room they get the software they need.

First we start with creating a device collection for a room:
We are going to set the variables to the collections
– Go to Assets and Compliance, Device Collections, and choose Create Device Collection.
– Give the collection a name like “Classroom 141” and limit the collection to “All Collections
– Check Use incremental updates for this collection and turn off Schedule a full update on this collection.
– Choose Next, Yes and Finish the collection

Next we are going to set the collection variables
– Get the properties of the newly made collection, go to collection variables and fill in the following variables (depending on your structure)
Name                  Value
BSL                     Students Desktops
Domain                Students
OSDOUName       OU=R141,OU=Students Desktops,OU=Workstations,DC=students,DC=domain,DC=local



1. Let’s install software based on a variable
Now we can add the variables to the software library

– Go to Software Library, Task Sequences and Edit an task sequence.
– We created a Install CSL Applications (Common Software Layer); this is for software that is scoped on all desktop (like Office, flash, Adobe Reader ETC)
– We also created an Install BSL Applications (Business Software Layer) for specific software per/pc/room
Add the software to the BSL and choose Options
Add Condition and choose Task Sequence Variable BSL equals “Students Desktops”


2. Let’s install sofware based on a variable

OK lets go a little bit further, we are now going to add the computer in the AD OU based in the computer variable of the collection.
– Go to the Network Settings, Apply Network settings and set Join a domain, fill in the domain name and in the OU part you choose LDAP://%OSDOUName% as stated in the variable.

Flexible Domain Name

Now we are going to set the options so the proper collection is selected.
– Go to Options, Add condition, Task Sequence Variable and choose Domain equals “Students”

Flexible Domain Name II


Little recap;
– Made device collections based on rooms
– Filled in the variables for that device collections
– Set options for installing software based on device collection variables
– Placed machines in the proper OU based on device collection variables

Simple as that!

System Center 2012 R2 Release Date (SCOM, SCCM)

In 2012 Microsoft made public that they are going to release new versions of their major products at least once per year.
Because of their cloud based service they develop much faster as in the past.

Microsoft has already evaluation versions of System Center R2 available to eligible customers.
But the official release  available through the TechNet Evaluation Center. System Center 2012 R2 is available from TechNet and for new purchases on November 1st, 2013.

There’s even more good news:
Microsoft announced that Windows 8.1 will be available to consumers and businesses worldwide on October 18, 2013.