Three options for managing mobile devices using SCCM 2012 without Windows Intune

In System Center Configuration Manager 2012 the spectrum of devices that can be brought under centralized management is significantly expanded. In SCCM 2007 Windows Mobile and Windows CE were the only platforms that could be managed, and to do this required native mode (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb633175.aspx). Does this mean that with SCCM 2012 you can now remotely manage application installs and OS updates for your organization’s iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone users, using just SCCM? Unfortunately no. However, you will still be able to take advantage of limited management for these devices via SCCM’s ability to connect to Exchange.

Combining ConfigMgr 2012 with Windows Intune enrollment allows more full-featured management of IOS, Windows Phone 8, and Android devices, including application deployment. However, if you don’t have or don’t want Windows Intune, this functionality won’t get you very far.

There are three ways to manage mobile devices using SCCM 2012 without Intune:

Enrollment by Configuration Manager This method allows for robust management including software deployment and configuration baselines. However, Windows Mobile 6.1, Windows Mobile 6.5, and Nokia Symbian Belle are the only supported mobile operating systems.

Mobile Device Legacy Client The legacy client method provides software deployment, software inventory, and monitoring. However, the legacy client is only available for Windows CE and Windows Mobile 6.0 mobile operating systems.

Exchange Server Connector New in Configuration Manager 2012 is the Exchange Server Connector. This enables SCCM to connect to multiple Exchange servers, centralizing management of any device that is able to be managed via Exchange ActiveSync from within ConfigMgr. This feature is just another way to access and control Exchange’s mobile device management features, and as such functionality is necessarily limited. The main benefit of the Exchange Server Connector is being able to access functionality such as remote device wipe and settings control for multiple Exchange servers from within SCCM – there’s no new management capability for an organization that already manages mobile devices with Exchange ActiveSync.* It’s also worth noting that the Exchange Server Connector is only available for use with Exchange 2010 and later, and some versions of Exchange also require Configuration Manager 2012 SP1.

For more information on exactly what can be done with each method and to see Microsoft’s info on supported devices, check out the following TechNet resources:

Supported Configurations for Configuration Manager – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682077.aspx

Determine How to Manage Mobile Devices in Configuration Manager – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682022.aspx

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