Thursday, 11 September 2008

SCCM Planning

Dam I wish someone had given me more time to do this.

For all those of you starting to think about putting SCCM in or are about to and are like me a install, configure and plan as you go guy STOP!

System Center products are some of the few applications I wouldn't ever ever attempt again to install into a production environment without FULL planning and testing.

Before you even pick up the CD head over to SCCM Documentation Library and start pulling the workflows and other associated information down.

Top level items that MUST be considered/planned for if nothing else:
  1. Active Directory Schema extension.This is a no brainer in my opinion. If you have AD and very good reason for not extending the schema then get planning for when you can do it. The benefits it brings does help with a slicker deployment of SCCM.
  2. Native mode vs Mixed mode.A new feature in SCCM for those familiar with SMS. I don't think I fully understood the full extent of what Native mode brought to the table when I first looked at it and I saw it more as being a required element to get Internet based clients working.
    Do the research on this subject to make your decision as it also brings little things such as PXE boot OSD's not needing the client records merging. But it needs the most configuration out of all the SCCM features, but not within SCCM. Confused? I was. It's down to SCCM's heavy reliance on a PKI infrastructure. If you haven't got that in place then that's another entire project to plan that out first.
  3. Central, Primary, Secondary, Child Primary.......Try to plan out from the start how you would like your SCCM design to look and build it with that in mind. You'll need to consider how many domains, sites, organisation boundaries and maybe even countries (but this blog isn't aimed at that high a level).
  4. Client deploymentSounds simple but it's an important one. Decide from the start how you are going to achieve client deployment as I can ensure you that as soon as you have your first site up and running you'll be itching to get clients installed and to start playing with them ;)
    Deciding how you're going to achieve this will get it running so much sooner.
I could go on and I'll probably come back every now and then and revise, add or clarify bits but this too me is the very very very bare minimum amount of planning you should do just to get it into a test lab. If you tried putting SCCM into a live environment with only just this amount of planning then it's most likely to fail, or you're just very very lucky.
Last thing..... Get it installed in a test lab. Even if that means rigging 3+ virtual servers up on a machine do it. Just make sure it's an isolated environment so you can play with it do death and test out various solutions knowing your not going to take you're business down while you have fun.


Mark and Lindsay said...

Excellent points, all of them. Any large org that allows this deployment without the same due diligence as, say Peoplesoft, needs new leadership.

SCCM is powerful, omniscient and can bring down your network. It can also improve security, lower cost of ownership and create centralized control over every desktop and server on the network. Your choice. said...

If you tried putting SCCM into a live environment with only just this amount of planning then it's most likely to fail, or you're just very very lucky.