PRC04: Microsoft Configuration Manager 2012 Part 1

Today is the first day of Microsoft TechEd 2012, the annual mega Microsoft conference that I’ve attended for nearly 10 years. I attended a pre-conference session for Configuration Manager 2012. It was a good session with lots of great details. Because of the length of the session (about 6 hours) I’ll break the content up into a couple of posts. As usual with my conference coverage, the posts are mostly bullet points from the speaker’s slides along with some comments. You can find part two here and part three here.

Let’s get started on part one.

  • Configuration Manager 2012 Goals
    • Empower Users
    • Unify Infrastructure
    • Simplify Administration
  • Client health has been improved from ~85% to 95% with client self-healing without any manual fixes. This is huge! SCCM 2007 agents were known for constant problems and poor client health.
  • Gone is the 15+ year old MMC interface, and it now uses a modern ribbon interface
  • System Requirements
    • X64 Windows Server 2008 or higher, 8GB RAM for primary site, 4GB for secondary site, dedicated disk arrays for components such as OS, installation files, databases, log files
    • WDS, WSUS, IIS, BITS, etc. still required
  • Suggested to run SQL server on the same server as primary site server
    • 16GB of RAM for combined primary site/SQL
    • SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 and CU6 or later
    • SQL Server 2008 SP2 with CU9 or late
  • Can manually install CM 2012 or use the hydration method to install Configuration Manager 2012
    • Use MDT to completely automate a full installation including IIS, SQL, AD, and all required components. Speakers will post the 300KB script for attendees to download.
  • Most companies will now be able to have a single primary site. Dell went from 80 primary sites to only two. Only need a second site if you scale beyond 100,000 clients.
  • Primary site can support many languages and client configurations. No more sites just for unique languages or¬†client configuration requirements. ¬†
  • For sites with 500 or more users, setup a secondary site. Secondary site supports up to 5,000 clients. If a site has say 10,000 users you can have two co-located secondary sites. This is fully supported.
  • For High Availability setup multiple management points. Recommend a single primary site server. Faster to rebuild the primary server than fail-over all of the clients, if you have a good copy of the SQL database.
  • CM 2012 now uses SQL server reporting services for all reports
  • Able to granularly configure replication, schedule, and bandwidth of package replication to a secondary site.
  • Can pre-stage packages on a secondary DP and only the deltas sync thereafter. Great for pre-building a server prior to shipment to a remote office.
  • Multiple forest architectures require two-way forest trusts because SQL replication requires Kerberos if you want them centrally managed. Otherwise need two completely separate environments. This is different from SCCM 2007, and may require a redesign in some unique environments.
  • Brand new content library for software packages
    • Every single file it finds it hashes, and will use single instance storage for duplicate files. Space savings on disks and over the wire for replication.
    • Old SMSPKG$ is gone
  • Role Based Administration (RBA) model. Basically RBAC with a tweaked name. CM 2012 console will only show the objects the administrator has access to.
  • Should only have a very few global (full) administrators – Almost more powerful than domain administrators. Always use less powerful RBA roles for most administrators.
  • Child collections do not exist anymore! Although the functionality can be emulated with inclusions and exclusions.
  • Security settings and roles are now shared between all sites. No more requirement for separate sites to limit administration access.
  • Able to scope applications by security permission, so for example, server admins can’t install client packages like Adobe Reader.
  • Client Management top 5 enhancements
    • Automatic remediation
    • Mobile device management (very limited on iOS devices)
    • Client Software Center
    • Client settings without requiring a new site
    • Client Activity monitoring
  • Able to granularly assign client configuration for specific collections of devices or users. No need for sites to manage such settings
  • Client native mode and mixed mode no longer exist
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