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Now available: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Unleashed

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Unleashed, the book on Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is now generally available for purchase through Amazon and other shops.

I contributed two chapters to this book, and feel really honored to be part of the excellent line up of writers and contributors. I’ve written Chapter 9 on Client Management and Appendix B on extending Hardware Inventory.

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (SCCM) Unleashed

Topics Covered in Chapter 9 include:

    • Discovery
    • ConfigMgr Client Requirements
    • ConfigMgr Client Installation
    • Client Assignment
    • Client Health
    • Client Settings
    • Using the Resource Explorer
    • Wake on LAN

Topics Covered in Appendix B: Extending Hardware Inventory include:

    • How to extend Hardware Inventory
    • Example of Extending Inventory
    • Creating A Device Collection

Currently I already implemented several ConfigMgr 2012 and I must say I’m very pleased about the new Application Model and the new opportunities customers have for deploying applications.

I want to thank Kerrie Meyler who was the lead author for giving me this opportunity, and Steve Rachui for his technical review. And of course all the other Authors and Contributors for their feedback.

ConfigMgr client automatic site assignment behavior in a multi site environment

 

I’m currently working on a project where we implement a new ConfigMgr 2012 hierarchy in a forest where several ConfigMgr 2007 hierarchies already exist. The new ConfigMgr 2012 environment will be installed in a new domain within that existing Forest and we will not migrate any content from these ConfigMgr 2007 environments, but install every client using the OSD functionality of ConfigMgr 2012, but other deployment methods could be necessary for special scenario’s.

Even though this isn’t such a common scenario, I think the results of the test provide some insight on what you can expect in your own migration from ConfigMgr 2007 to ConfigMgr 2012, therefore I decided to share my findings. I hope it will be useful for someone reading this article.

Because one of the requirements for the implementation of ConfigMgr 2012 is that the impact on the existing environment should be as minimal as possible we did some test on what would happen if a ConfigMgr 2007 client would assign itself to a ConfigMgr 2012 environment and possible ways to prevent that.

  • Install a ConfigMgr 2007 client when conflicting boundaries are configured on both ConfigMgr 2007 and ConfigMgr 2012
  • Install a ConfigMgr 2007 client when there is only a boundary group with corresponding boundary defined in ConfigMgr 2012
  • Install a ConfigMgr 2007 client and see what happens when it assigns to the ConfigMgr 2012 site and automatic client upgrade is turned on
  • Install a ConfigMgr 2007 client and see what happens if only a boundary for Content Location in ConfigMgr 2012 is defined.

First there are some known and documented rules which we need to take into account:

A ConfigMgr 2012 client cannot attach itself to a ConfigMgr 2007 site. During Automatic Site Assignment, the ConfigMgr 2012 client will do a version check and when the site it tries to attach to isn’t at the correct level, it will fail to assign to that site.

In order to test the scenario’s, we build the following test environment

ConfigMgr 2007 Primary Site (pss1.nl.domain.local) in the NL child domain, with code N01

ConfigMgr 2012 Primary site (pss2.emea.domain.local) in the EMEA child domain, with site code E01
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Windows Assessment and Deployment Toolkit, an introduction

When Microsoft released the Consumer Preview of Windows 8, they also introduced the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit, in short Windows ADK. With the release of the Windows 8 Release Preview (or release candidate) Microsoft also supplied an updated version of the ADK.

The Windows ADK contains updated tools which used to be part of both the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) and the Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit (Windows OPK). Windows APK can be used for two scenarios: Windows Deployment and Windows assessment.

The Windows Deployment tools help IT Professionals with the deployment of a new version of Windows. Most of these tools are used as a basis for other Deployment tools, like the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), the Operating System Deployment (OSD) functionality in System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) and since version 2012 also for System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) to deploy both Operating Systems to bare metal servers and Operating Systems running on top of on of the three Hypervisors that SCVMM can manage (Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vShpere and Citrix Xen). The products using the functionality of the Windows ADK will most probably be updated after the release of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 so that they can use the Windows ADK instead of the Windows AIK. ConfigMgr and SCVMM currently don’t support the use of the ADK and MDT provides support for the ADK for non production Windows deployments

Besides that the Deployment tools contain tools to test and mitigate application compatibility issues, migrate user data from an old OS to a new OS and Manage licenses across many machines from a central console.Read More