Well folks, it has been a long while since I contributed to my blog. This is what two kids will do to a young father. I wanted to take the time to promote the work that my team and I have been involved with for over a year now. Coming later this summer is the release of Configuration Manager 2007 R2. Built on Service Pack 1, it provides a number of new and exciting value-added features to the Configuration Manager product. Namely improvements to Software Distribution, Operating System Deployment, Reporting, Client Health, and more. My specific feature team has been responsible for integrating Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 (the next version of the product formerly known as SoftGrid) with Configuration Manager. In R2, customers will have complete management and inventory of virtual applications much the same way that physical applications can be deployed and managed in Configuration Manager today. This includes packaging, deployment, and inventory. Customers create SCCM packages and import the virtual application data into Configuration Manager. They can advertise/target those packages to collections of users or machines. Once deployed, end-users run the virtual applications on their desktops. Administrators can then inventory what applications are deployed in their environment and where. Overall, a powerful feature set that brings scalable and flexible deployment of virtualized applications to the enterprise. Configuration Manager and Application Virtualization are truly 'better together' in R2. As R2 gets closer to shipping (planned for Q3 of this year), I will provide articles that hopefully will give you information that you need to be successful with the technology and supplement the documentation and other information that will be available to you.

If you want to learn a little bit more about what is coming in R2, or SP1 for that matter, feel free to check out some of the demonstrations recently posted on TechNet Edge.