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System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2 released!

5:10 pm in Configuration Manager, Microsoft Intune by timdk

metrofixToday Microsoft has announced the availability of System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2.

According to the announcement on the Configuration Manager Team blog these service packs deliver full compatibility with existing features for Windows 10 deployment, upgrade, and management. Additionally there are some changes and improvements in the following areas:

  • Infrastructure: sites and hierarchies
  • Application Management
  • Content Management
  • OSD
  • Reporting
  • Hybrid setups with Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune

Full details on what’s new can be found here.

Both service packs are available for download on the Technet Evaluation Center website.

Until next time!

Tim

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by timdk

ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 Media Updates

7:24 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

Based on the following announcement you may  want to grab the latest media before implementing your next configuration manager site:

  • The installation files for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 (SP1) and the associated Endpoint Protection for Linux OS and Macintosh OS were refreshed on January 25, 2013.
    The SP1 media was updated across all distribution channels (MSDN, TechNet, Volume License, and evaluation versions) to include the following hotfix:
     Installation error 0x800b0101: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 client
    If SP1 was installed prior to January 25 and the hotfix from KB280187 already applied, no action is required. This updated release simply removes the need to apply the hotfix to new SP1 installations.

Source and a bit more details can be found here.

Until next time.

Tim

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Implementing System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Cumulative Update 1

12:49 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

Beginning of August Microsoft has announced their new cumulative update servicing model for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. A few days ago the first Cumulative Update 1 (CU1) for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager was released; What issues this CU1 effectively handles is documented in the related KB article with ID 2717295.  This is also where you can request and obtain the binaries. This post describes my experiences implementing the CU in a lab environment.

Before we begin lets outline the order in which the different components are updated:
1. Site server (The site server is always updated first, once this is done the additional components can be updated as well)
2. Administrative Consoles
3. Clients

Site Server & Site Database

Unpack the downloaded CU and run the executable ConfigMgr2012-RTM-CU1-KB2717295-X64-ENU.exe to launch the wizard.

On the welcome page click Next

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Accept the license terms and click Next.

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Ensure all prerequisite checks are passed and click Next.

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I decided to let the wizard also update the site database. Alternatively you can do the database upgrade manually using the update.sql script. At implementation time the CU extracts update.sql to the following location on the site server: \\<Server Name>\SMS_<Site Code>\hotfix\<KB Number>\. Note that the update is not functional until both the site server and the site database have been updated!

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Next are the Deployment Assistance Options – this is a really nice feature to assist in the further deployment of the CU.
By enabling the checkboxes the wizard automatically creates packages in the software library to support updating the remaining components in your environment.

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If you enabled the 3 checkboxes the next 3 pages of the wizard allow you to specify the program and the package details for each item. I kept the default options.

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Click Install on the summary page

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The installation progress and results are shown. Click Next when all actions are completed.

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Click Finish when the installation is completed.

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If you want to see what is happening under the hood have a look at the configmgr2012-rtm-cu1-kb2717295-x64-enu.log located in the %windir%\temp folder.

In the Control Panel the CU is listed in the installed updates:

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A closer look at the site properties shows that the version number remains unchanged:

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In the Software Library the packages to support the CU deployment have been created:

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Tip: Do not forget to distribute the content to your DP’s.

Administrative Consoles

Once the site server is done, updating the other components automatically can either be done using the Software Deployment feature or by using software updates. In my lab environment I chose to use Software Deployment. Using the previously created packages this is really straightforward. As I only had one remote console in my lab environment I used a simple collection with direct membership.

Once the CU got distributed I checked the installed updates in Control Panel and the following entry is listed:

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Oddly enough the version number here remains unchanged and no minor version .0200 is to be found. The –test suffix seems to be a small mistake in naming.

Note that afterwards I also ran the update on the site server to update the locally installed console.

Clients

As a final step I had to update my existing clients and I also wanted to ensure that any new clients would also get the CU1 installed. Again using the pre-created packages this is a fairly easy job. To easily group my clients I had created query based collections to distinguish between RTM and CU1 clients and also per processor architecture (x86 or x64). This is an example query I used for the ConfigMgr Clients x86 CU1 collection:

select SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceID,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceType,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Name,SMS_R_SYSTEM.SMSUniqueIdentifier,
SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceDomainORWorkgroup,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Client from SMS_R_System inner join SMS_G_System_SYSTEM on SMS_G_System_SYSTEM.ResourceId = SMS_R_System.ResourceId where SMS_R_System.ClientVersion = “5.00.7711.0200” and SMS_G_System_SYSTEM.SystemType = “X86-based PC

The highlighted values can easily be replaced to create the collections for the RTM (5.00.7711.0000) and x64 (X64-based PC) client collections.

After the deployment was in place, I could see the CU being installed on my lab clients. This is a screenshot from the Software Center:

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Once installed the client version number is changed. Except for the  Task Sequence Components, the components versions remain unchanged.

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All done!  The lab environment is fully updated to CU1.

Until next time!

Tim

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by timdk

Configuration Manager 2012 Technical Documentation download

10:30 am in Uncategorized by timdk

The May 2012 product documentation for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is now available for download.

There are two formats available which allow you to have all the Configuration Manager 2012 documentation available at your fingertips.

Additionally you can download the Help Update Wizard to install a local copy of the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Documentation Library (CHM) which contains a copy of the guides in the TechNet documentation library. This is useful if a computer running the Configuration Manager console does not have Internet access or if you want a standalone copy of the documentation in CHM format.

Download the files here.

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Building a lab environment with System Center Unified Installer – Part 3

4:00 am in Uncategorized by timdk

This post is the last part of this series. After defining the lab layout in Part 1 and doing the necessary preparations in Part 2. It is now time to run the System Center Unified Installer and watch our lab environment being built for us.

The installation needs to be ran with an account that has administrative permissions on all target computers. As such we will logon to the installer PC –OR1 in our case- with a domain administrator account and run the setup.exe from the UnifiedInstaller folder.

Now we need to walk through the wizard:

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Click Install System Center and click OK on the pop-up.

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Enter your product registration info and accept the license agreements before clicking Next.

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Select the product you wish to install. For our lab we select Orchestrator, Configuration Manager and Operations Manager.

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Specify the locations where the product installation sources can be found.

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Accept the license terms and click Next.

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Accept the license terms for the prerequisites and click next again.

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Specify the location where the binaries for each prerequisite are stored.

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Leave the default installation locations and click Next

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Specify the target server names and click Next

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Specify the domain administrator account as the service account and click Next.

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Specify the name for the management group and the site code/site name for the CM site.

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Decide whether to join the CEIP or not and click Next

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Review the settings and click Install.

And now the beauty of the Unified Installer kicks in: you can leave the lab environment and spend some time away from your desk. When you return in a few hours your entire lab will be up and running. For our reference environment the installation took approximately 4 hours.

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Once the setup is completed a summary page is shown. Verify all components were installed successfully and click close to exit the wizard.

Now would probably a good time to take a full snapshot of the environment again. At a later point in time, when you have completed specific tests, you can then always return back to this initial clean state.

All done!

Post installation note:

  • The Unified Installer installation process does not configure the memory for the backend SQL instances. You might want to configure the memory settings for each of them as per the best practices.

Conclusion: the Unified Installer offers a nice and fully unattended approach for deploying lab and demo environments for System Center 2012 products. Use it to start building your lab environments now!

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by timdk

Building a lab environment with System Center Unified Installer – Part 2

4:00 am in Uncategorized by timdk

In the first part of the series we have outlined the requirements and the topology for the lab environment. Now we will start preparing the environment in which the System Center Unified Installer will be run.

Server Preparations

Except for the DC1 all virtual servers are configured with the following specs:
– 2 x CPU
– 2 Gb RAM
– 40 GB Hdd (SYSTEM)
– 1 NIC connected to the virtual switch (private)

Note: do not configure these systems with less then 2 CPU’s and 2 Gb of memory or the Unified Installer configuration wizard will not allow you to continue with the installation.

The DC1 server is configured as follows:
– 1 x CPU
– 512 Mb RAM
– 40 Gb Hdd (SYSTEM)
– 1 NIC connected to the virtual switch (private)

Base configuration for all 4 machines:
– Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1
– Networking configured (see topology figure in part 1 for details)
– .Net Framework 3.5.1 feature is enabled

Domain Setup

The DC1 server is promoted to become a domain controller for the Sandbox.Lab domain. DNS is installed and configured at the same time. For future purposes DHCP is also installed on the DC1 server.

Additionally an Organizational Unit called Servers\SC2012 was created. This is where the following computer objects will be placed: OR1, CM1 and OM1.

As this is a lab environment I decided to turn off the Windows Firewall on the machines. For this I implemented a GPO called “SC2012 srv config”. The FW configuration is done as follows: go to Windows Settings > Security Settings > Windows Firewall, then open properties and on the domain profile tab set firewall state to "Off".

Preparing the installer PC

The Installer PC will be the actual Orchestrator machine in the lab environment.

To make it possible for the remote boot strap process to complete successfully, some local policies need to be modified:

  • Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / System / Credential Delegation / Allow Delegating Fresh Credentials
  • Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / System / Credential Delegation / Allow Delegating Fresh Credentials with NTLM-only Server Authentication

The detailed procedure on how to do this is available here.

Preparing the target PC’s

Keep in mind that the Orchestrator machine in our scenario is not only the Installer PC, at the same time it is also a target PC.

Also here some local policies will need to be modified, for this we will update the “SC2012 Srv Config” GPO that was created earlier:

  • Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Windows Remote Management (WinRM) / WinRM Service / Allow automatic configuration of listeners
  • Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Windows Remote Management (WinRM) / WinRM Service / Allow CredSSP authentication
  • Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Windows Remote Shell / Allow Remote Shell Access
  • Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Windows Remote Shell / Specify maximum amount of memory in MB per Shell

The detailed procedure on how to implement is available here.

Additionally you will need to run the following commands on each machine:

  • winrm qc –q
    winrm set winrm/config/service/auth @{CredSSP="True"}
    winrm set winrm/config/winrs @{AllowRemoteShellAccess="True"}
    winrm set winrm/config/winrs @{MaxMemoryPerShellMB="2048"}

This concludes the preparations – at this point I would recommend to take a snapshot of the entire virtual environment.

Preparing the installation sources

Once the basic infrastructure is ready we need to prepare the installation sources. We will need all System Center 2012 product binaries and all binaries for any prerequisites needed to complete the installation of those products. Additionally we will need the binaries for SQL Server 2008 R2 binaries plus Service Pack 1 and CU4.

At MMS 2012 the attendees were handed out a USB stick with all the required sources to deploy a lab environment. So we were lucky enough not having to download and prepare all sources. This is how the layout of the USB stick looks like. It gives an idea on how you could structure the binaries as you download them:

This is the root of the drive, you will only need the marked folders:
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These are the contents of the prerequisites folder, the names are self-explaining:
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And these are the contents of the SystemCenter2012 folder. For our lab scenario only the marked ones are required:
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Make sure that all binaries are available on the installer PC, in our lab this will be the OR1 machine which will be running System Center Orchestrator.

That’s it for now.

In the final part of these series we will walk through the Unified Installer installation process.

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by timdk

Building a lab environment with System Center Unified Installer – Part 1

4:00 am in Uncategorized by timdk

With the RTM release of System Center 2012 came the time to dispose my RC2 lab/demo environment and build a brand new one. To rollout my new environment as quickly and effectively as possible I decided to explore the capabilities of the System Center Unified Installer.

This blog series will outline my experiences building the lab, and will contain the following parts:

  • Part 1 – Designing the lab
  • Part 2 – Preparing the infrastructure
  • Part 3 – Deploying using System Center 2012 Unified Installer

Proceeding directly with the first part, lets outline the objectives and come up with a small design for the environment.

The current specs of my Hyper-V host machine do not support the full-blown installation of the entire System Center 2012 suite so my lab will run the following components:
– System Center Orchestrator
– System Center Configuration Manager
– System Center Operations Manager

Each of these components will get a dedicated machine. Additionally I will need a server to support the Domain Controller role and also the DNS and DHCP services. The following figure shows the topology of the lab:

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No additional machines are required for hosting the databases. The backend databases for the System Center products will be running on the same server as the actual product.

That’s it for now. In the second part of the series we will start preparing the environment.

ConfigMgr 2012 Prereq Checker warning: Verify site server permissions to publish to Active Directory

4:53 pm in Uncategorized by hakkktgfdeUG

Scenario During installation of Configuration Manager 2012 RC2 the prerequisite checker lists a warning for the prerequisite: Verify site server permissions to publish to Active Directory although the required permissions are in place. As the environment might expand and more site servers could be implemented it was opted to grant the permissions using a domain […]

System Center 2012 Major Announcement

8:35 pm in Uncategorized by hakkktgfdeUG

Today during a Private Cloud webcast Microsoft has announced their new strategy on System Center. No longer are the System Center products considered as separate entities: System Center 2012 is now a single product. It is a fullblown suite which includes a complete set of System Center products. An overview of what the suite will include: […]

ConfigMgr 2012 CEP – PCM & P2V Toolkit Session Key TakeAways

6:15 pm in Uncategorized by hakkktgfdeUG

After being absent for a few of the previous CEP sessions I was happy to be able to attend the PCM and P2V Toolkit session yesterday. Below are some key takeaways from this session. This was the last session for this year, next one is scheduled for January 11th 2012. Package Conversion Manager (PCM) PCM […]