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Distributing content to Distribution points and Distribution point groups in ConfigMgr 2012

With the release of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, Microsoft introduced the distribution point groups functionality. Distribution point groups provide a logical grouping of distribution points and collections for content distribution as described in the following Technet Article: Configuring Content Management in Configuration Manager, Create and Configure Distribution Point Groups

A Distribution Point can be made member of one or more Distribution Point Group, based on the content deployed to that Distribution Point Group and whether the Distribution Point is member of that group, the Distribution Point receives content which is defined for the Distribution Point group.

When distributing content you have the ability to choose whether you want to distribute to a either a Collection/Collections, Distribution Point or Distribution Point Groups. This is actually the point where things start to go wrong, since depending on who is performing the distribution of the content, different options are chosen.Read More

How to create ConfigMgr 2012 boot images from scratch

Today, after installing a fresh System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 environment, we experienced that the Boot images for both 32- and 64-bit were not created. The reason for this is already widely known, because it had to do with the virus scanner which was active at time of installation. There are already some articles describing what can go wrong during an upgrade to Service Pack 1 for example, as described in the following article: Updated System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Antivirus Exclusions with more details on OSD and Boot Images, etc… . So lesson one here: Please disable the virus scanner during installation and make sure the correct exclusions are in place after installing the ConfigMgr environment.

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Role Based Access Control in ConfigMgr 2012: Part 4 Outcome

In the first part of this series I outlined what Microsoft changed in ConfigMgr 2012 in order to introduce Role Based Access Control. In the second part I outlined a possible scenario and started building the scenario. In the third part we mapped the business roles to the ConfigMgr roles and configured them in the ConfigMgr console. In this part we are going to see, what the outcome of this mapping has become.

SSC Operations Administrator

The SSC Operations Administrator can manage the whole environment, except for the security. As you can see, when a SSC Operations Administrator opens the ConfigMgr Console, he isn’t able to modify the security under Administrative Users.

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Role Based Access Control in ConfigMgr 2012: Part 3 Mapping OpCo roles to ConfigMgr roles

In the first part of this series I outlined what Microsoft changed in ConfigMgr 2012 in order to introduce Role Based Access Control. In the second part I outlined a possible scenario and started building the scenario up to the point where the OpCo roles will be mapped to the ConfigMgr roles, this post will discuss the steps taken.

For the purpose of mapping the Customer roles to the ConfigMgr roles I created a spreadsheet to help out. Make sure that you understand what each OpCo needs to be able to do, and try to map this using the default roles. If not create a custom role and integrate this role into the matrix. My matrix turned out something like this:

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Role Based Access Control in ConfigMgr 2012: Part 2 Scenario

In the previous post I introduced Role Based Access Control in ConfigMgr 2012 as the new way to delegate administrative access to a ConfigMgr hierarchy. In this post I’m going to walk you through a scenario and show you how we can delegate the access in order to meet the requirements.

The Scenario:

The Customer is a very large company, which has a Shared Service Center responsible for the ConfigMgr environment. Each OpCo has its own IT department which manage their own servers and workstations. In the past each OpCo had their own Primary Site, and they should now be able to operate the environment in a similar way, while the Shared Service Center manages the environment. With operating you should think about:

  • Create Packages and Applications
  • Create Task Sequences
  • Specify their own Client Settings
  • Create Deployments
  • Install Distribution Points

The company wants to facilitate sharing between OpCo’s though, therefore objects created by OpCo’s should be able to be shared

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Role Based Access Control in ConfigMgr 2012: Part 1 – Introduction

One of the reasons to install multiple primary sites in a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 hierarchy often was due to the fact that Administrative access had to be separated between different departments within a company. Within large companies mostly a Central Primary Site would be installed, not servicing any clients, and under that Central Primary Site, several Primary Child Sites would be installed for each OpCo needing their own administrative boundary within the hierarchy.

With ConfigMgr 2012, this has changed for the better. Because Microsoft wanted to simplify the hierarchy for ConfigMgr 2012, they introduced several techniques to partition a Primary Site for use by multiple administrative departments. I often notice though that I have a hard time to convince people of the fact that for security reasons it’s not necessary anymore to create multiple primary sites within a hierarchy. There are of course reasons to create multiple primary sites and a Central Administration Site (CAS) above them, but they are often “non-technical” or due to scaling.

In ConfigMgr 2007 we used Object Access, where we could give a user or group access to either the entire class of object, like all collections. Or you could give access to only an instance of an object, like the All Windows 7 Computers collection. This was a nightmare to manage though, and quickly became very complex in large implementations. More information can be found in the Classes and Instances for Object Security in Configuration Manager for ConfigMgr 2007 article on Microsoft Technet.

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Techdays NL 2013: ConfigMgr 2012: Notes from the field

During Techdays, the annual event organized by Microsoft in the Netherlands, i had the honor of presenting a session together with Peter Daalmans, Microsoft MVP on ConfigMgr. Our session, named ConfigMgr 2012: Notes from the field discussed what’s new in both ConfigMgr 2012 and ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 and included our best practices and tips & tricks which we discovered during several roll outs of the product in customer environments.



Although the presentation was in dutch, we created our slides in English for your viewing pleasure, click the link to download:

Best practices for Implementing drivers in ConfigMgr

One of the most time consuming tasks when working with OS Deployment in ConfigMgr is implementing the drivers needed to support different hardware models. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Determining if drivers installed correctly can only be determined by executing an actual Task Sequence, which takes a lot of time.
  • Each Hardware Manufacturer has its own way of providing drivers. Finding the right driver can be a real nightmare and some Hardware Manufacturers make a real mess of the drivers they provide. On the other hand there are some manufactures which supply driver packages which you can import directly into ConfigMgr.
  • Especially for laptops, which contain a lot of extra features in the hardware, manufactures make it a sport to keep the optimal configuration which consists of the needed drivers plus additional software as vague as possible, so it’s up to you to find out which drivers and driver applications make the laptop fully functional. Don’t we have a nice job 🙂
  • Some HW manufacturers are known to change the hardware inside different batches of the same hardware model, make sure that you make agreements with your HW supplier that the HW doesn’t change with each delivered batch of machines, or you will continue to spent time on certifying HW models.

Before just simply starting I recommend you to create a strategy for implementing and maintaining the drivers within your company. What follows below are some guidelines which can help.

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How to add Branding to your OS Deployment in ConfigMgr 2012 – Part 3: Create Compliance Baseline

In part 1, I showed you how to enable the Branding to Reg steps, and where you could find the information in the registry. Part 2 showed you how you can extend what information is branded into the registry, and in this part I will show you how you can use Compliance Settings and Compliance Baselines to read this information and create collections in ConfigMgr based on that information.

Using the information branded in the Registry we can use the Configuration Baseline to eventually create collections based on this registry information.

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How to add Branding to your OS Deployment in ConfigMgr 2012 – Part 2: Modify OSDBranding

In part 1 of this series, I showed you how to enable the Branding to Reg steps, so that during a Task Sequence some information about the Task Sequence is stored in the Registry under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\MPSD\OSD. In this part, we are going to extend the information which is written to include some information we want to include.

The Branding to Reg and Branding to Reg x64 steps, call two scripts which can be found in the Scripts folder under your MDT Files Package source location. When you open the scripts, you will notice that you can modify which values are written, or which variables you explicitly don’t want written to the Registry during the Branding steps, like OSDJoinPassword for example.

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