Wednesday 25 July 2012

Update Rollup 2 for Service Manager 2012

With Update Rollup 2 for System Center 2012 having just been released I was flicking through the KB2706783 article to see what needed doing but noticed the Service Manager installation instructions were missing.

Also the download link given within the KB article doesn't presently work while writing this.

However, I did find the update available for download from the normal Microsoft Download center here:

The installation instructions on that site are very basic:
  1. Close any consoles, self-service portals or authoring tools
  2. Install the update
Erm, thanks for that detailed instructions MS?!?!?

Anyway, I've tested it within my lab and here's a couple of notes.

The install is pretty much an accept the license agreement, click install, wait and then click close routine.

Don't panic if it gets stuck for a while on computing space requirements, mine did for a while but then continued.

I ran the update on 3 separate servers.  1 holding my Management Server, 1 holding my Data Warehouse and 1 holding by Self Service Portal roles and it ran successfully on each and looking through the log files it does appear to have updated them so it looks like this update needs to be run on every server holding a Service Manager role.

I also ran the update on my workstation which has the console installed and the update runs and the log files appear to show it's done something...

However this is all subjective and really needs clarifying by Microsoft.  I'll update this post when I can get some more clarification.


System Center 2012 Update Rollup 2

Microsoft have just released Update Rollup 2 for System Center 2012.
The Update Rollup this time includes updates for:
  • App Controller
  • Virtual Machine Manager
  • Data Protection Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Service Manager
  • Orchestrator
With a combined 36 fixes including some performance fixes for VMM in large environments it's definitely worth raising the change control and start assessing deployment.

Description of the update can be found in this KB2706783 article:

The update packages for App Controller, Orchestrator, Service Manager, and Virtual Machine Manager are available from Microsoft Update but can also be downloaded manually (See KB2706783 for download links)
DPM & SCOM aren't available from WSUS.

DPM update is available from here:

OpsMgr update is available from here:

OpsMgr Unix/Linux Management Pack updates are available here:

At the time of writing this, for some reason the Service Manager update is not available.

Although it does list the others...

It's also interesting to note that there are installation instructions for all the System Center 2012 components EXCEPT for Service Manager.

**Update** You can download the SCSM update from here:

Installation instructions are very basic:
  1. Close any open consoles, portals or authoring tools.
  2. Install

As always RTFM.  Make sure you read the installation notes in KB2706783 as there will be numerous little things that will need doing, such as installing update rollup 1 (or later) for VMM on the App Controller server first, copying language files if installed, closing consoles, running elevated and editing web.config files.

Also note that Update Rollup 2 when applied to Operations Manager also includes updates for remote consoles and agents which will also need deploying.  DPM also requires agent updates.
VMM only requires agent updates if you haven't previously installed Update Rollup 1.

Last thing to note, if you're running OpsMgr in a Non-English language then this update isn't yet applicable to you.  Non-English versions of Update Rollup 2 will be released later in 2012.

Thursday 19 July 2012

System Center 2012 Service Manager Cookbook

I'd like to have been the first to announce this, but Steve Buchanan already beat me to the punch :)

I am greatly honoured to have been able to work on this with some amazing people and I'm eagerly awaiting seeing the finished product.

From the Packt publishers site:
  • Practical cookbook with recipes that will help you get the most out of Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2012
  • Learn the various methods and best practices administrating and using Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2012
  • Save money and time on your projects  by learning how to correctly solve specific problems and scenarios that arise while using System Center Service Manager
What you'll learn in the book:
  • ITSM Framework and Processes
  • How to Personalize SCSM 2012 Administration
  • Configuration of Service Level Agreements
  • How to build the Configuration Management Database
  • Change and Release Management Design
  • Advanced Personalization of SCSM
  • Automation of Service Manager 2012
  • Implementation of Security Roles
It's expected to be published around December time!

However if you can't wait then this is available now to purchase as a RAW (Read As we Write) version.
**Be warned though, it is raw and chapters will still change and develop**

So a big shout out to the SCSM Ninja Guru's who made this possible:

Samuel Erskine

Anders Asp

Dieter Gasser 

Andreas Baumgarten

Monday 2 July 2012

Configuration Manager 2012 - Wally Mead's TechEd in a day (UK)

Just after finishing his sessions at TechEd Europe and on his way home Cliff Hobs and 1E hijacked Wally Mead and persuaded him to present a compressed version of his TechEd content to a small UK audience.
I was lucky enough to attend and here's my notes from the day.

Session Agenda:
  • Infrastructure Simplification and Hierarchy Design Considerations
  • Forest Discovery and Boundary Groups
  • SQL Replication
  • Client Agent Settings
  • Role-Based Administration
  • What's Coming in SP1
System Center 2012 ConfigMgr is all about:
  1. Empowering the user - User centric management/deployment
  2. Unify Infrastructure - Reduce costs by simplifying
  3. Simplify Administration - Better console, Role based security, client health etc.
Infrastructure Promises
  • Modernise the Infrastructure - Minimise Remote Office requirements
  • Consolidate - Role Based Access, language neutral, collection based agent settings
  • Scalability - SQL Replication
Most of this session is actually covered in my previous "A Day with Wally Mead" post here:

The rest of this post will cover some of the upcoming SP1 features that were covered first at TechEd and then again today with a little more clarification

SQL Replication Compression:
  • This can be enabled per link, initial tests show a big decrease in traffic, with slight increase on CPU usage for decompression.
  • Also the ability to set number of retention days for replicated data before a full sync is required, useful for occasionally disconnected site servers (think cruise liner ship) .

SQL Distributed views:
  • Allows a view of data from one site to another using a query that retrieves data on-demand, replication is turned off
  • When enabled, no site data (hinv, sinv, and metering data) is replicated or stored at the CAS
  • Saves on data storage and link traffic
  • Requires a good, reliable connection between SQL Servers for sites where distributed views are enabled

Hierarchy Expansion:
  • Ability to add a CAS after installation of Primary to help with expansions scenarios but only for one primary.  A second primary would need a new primary to be built and joined then a migration from the old primary to the new primary.
  • Some roles such as Software Update and Asset Intelligence that can only live on a CAS in a hierarchy will need remediating before expansion and you will be prompted about these when attempting an expansion.  It's also possible that other things may require some post expansion work.
Site to Site Migration:
  • To help with expansion scenarios, migrating from one 2012 site to a new 2012 site has been made easier.
 User Profile and Data Management:
  • Group Policy settings for folder redirection, caching etc now a configurable option within ConfigMgr under Settings Management and is for Windows 8 clients only that now expose this setting/information within WMI

Big Green Button (not an official feature name!):
  • Ability to force clients to go download EndPoint definitions "NOW". Basically creates a TCP connection to force clients to poll for definitions within a couple of minutes rather than waiting for normal policy schedule. Useful for malware outbreaks.
  • This may be extended for other client policy features later, but time scale currently undetermined.
App-V feature changes:
  • New Deployment Type for App-V 5 - required due to new appx file type.
  • No present ability to use App-V 5 Shared Cache feature
  • App-V 4.6 SP2 (for Windows 8 support)
  • Connection Groups to allow different App-V packages to interact without having to force repackaging - requires App-V 5.
OSD feature changes:
  • Bitlocker changes - TPM and PIN & Used Space Bitlocker
  • UEFI Support and new tasks within OSD task sequences
  • New "Only media and PXE (hidden)" option for task sequence deployment.  Great for making a task sequence available for all devices for re-imaging without having to add clients to a re-image collection and without accidentally re-imaging all devices!
  • Boot Images - ability to add additional components like hta apps without having to manually mount the image, console GUI interface.
Other SP1 Features with self explanatory information but with more updated information than previously available.
  • Windows 8/Server 2012 Deployment Support
  • Connected Standby and Data connection (3G/metered connections) aware - i.e. don't download 8Gb over 3G connection or don't do inventory when in connected standby.
  • Ability to deploy Windows 8 To Go
  • Around 23 flavours of Linux Support - Inventory and Software Distribution
  • Unix Support - Inventory and Software Distribution
  • Mac OSX 10.6 & 10.7 Support including Inventory, Software Distribution and EndPoint Protection Support but not Remote Control
  • New  "required" Deployment Type OSX Software - dng, mpg, pig & .app
  • Deep links for Metro apps via the online Microsoft store
  • Deploy Windows 8 Metro apps directly from ConfigMgr to devices/users
  • Further e-mail notification support/options - subscriptions for ANY alert rather than just EndPoint currently
  • Multiple select within software centre to install multiple applications
  • Software Update changes, including the ability to fall back to Windows Update for content even for "intranet" based clients and multiple syncs per day for EndPoint Protection Definition Updates.
  • Powershell cmdlets 400 - "Boatloads" (That's a Wally quote!). Aim is to provide all console admin types
  • Client Side merge of Anti Malware policies