In an excellent "In the Cloud" podcast last week, Brad Anderson and Kelly Pranghofer delivered the first of a two-parter on how Microsoft utilizes System Center Configuration Manager internally. Pranghofer is the person responsible for Microsoft's ConfigMgr infrastructure and also for operations of Microsoft Intune.

The first part goes into detail about how Microsoft's internal IT group manages the infrastructure, but also continually runs on Alpha and Beta bits in production.

Some important data points to consider:

  • Microsoft has 1 Global ConfigMgr hierarchy that consists of 5 primary sites with 1 CAS server.

  • Microsoft IT supports 300,000 PCs which includes 100,000 FTEs and 50-60,000 contractors

  • 70% of the PCs running are Windows 8.1

  • 13-14% of those PCs run server software for a client

  • 35,000 of the managed PCs are already running Windows 10

  • Patch management is the most critical component. Microsoft's policy states that patches need to reach 98% population within 7 days

  • Application deployment is big and the company supports 100's of modern apps

  • ConfigMgr is used to managed the deployment of Antivirus and antimalware signature files

  • Operating System Deployment is complex due to the many versions of OS used in the organization

  • Additionally, ConfigMgr is used for software usage/asset management, DCM (settings configuration), and deploying "scripts" to automate fixes.

But, amid the discussion, one key and important detail about the next version of System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 came out. The next version, which will come bundled in a service pack, has already been deployed through Microsoft. SP2 is already running across the entire internal infrastructure and was rolled out over a weekend.

SP2 for ConfigMgr 2012 R2 is rumored to release just before Microsoft's Ignite conference which is held in Chicago in May. Despite ConfigMgr content being pretty sparse for the event, there should be some significant announcements made.

The podcast is definitely worth a listen: