Posts Tagged ‘ConfigMgr 2012’

Can we use Windows Azure SQL Databases for ConfigMgr 2012?

January 20, 2014

Demo

This question popped up when i was doing a demo ConfigMgr environment, running completely in Windows Azure.

Simple setup, All ConfigMgr roles on a single server, including local SQL DB.

For this, i used an  “A5” VM instance, which has 2 vCpu cores and 14 GB of RAM.

For storing the data, i attached a “persistent disk” , as that is storage that is guaranteed to remain persistent after reboot (don’t use the temp-disk!)

Costs

Now this is a costly machine, as running an A5 VM costs about 220 euros per month. (pricing)

And this is only the running of the VM, not taking into account the storage costs, download traffic costs, etc.

Now storage and download bandwidth are pretty cheap in Azure, compared to the computing costs.  But still, can we save money somewhere?

Cutting costs

So, can we cut the costs somehow? Do we need 2 cores and 14 GB of RAM?

The major reason for this amount of RAM is running the SQL server locally. If we could move that somewhere else, a “medium VM” with 2 cores and 3,5 GB would be sufficient.

This type of VM only costs about €100 per month. Quick saving, right?

Azure SQL

So, Azure also offers SQL Database services. And a lot cheaper (a default 5 GB CM database would cost about €20 per month)But are they suitable for running a ConfigMgr 2012 database?

Let’s compare the ConfigMgr Database Requirements, and the specifications for Azure SQL Databases.

Requirements

-1:  “At each site both the instance of SQL Server that is used for the site database and the site database must use the following collation: SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS.”

Well, that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Although the site database cannot be configured in Azure (because it uses a shared sql server of course), the default collation for new databases is SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS. Which suggests that the Instance is also using that collation, but we cannot be sure at this point.

-2: “Configuration Manager requires Windows authentication to validate connections to the database.”

Whoops. That is a problem, since Azure does not support this. (Windows Authentication is not supported)

The Verdict

For those wondering if we can use Azure SQL DB services for hosting a ConfigMgr database:

– No, you cannot.

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Powershell for ConfigMgr 2012 – part 1 (introduction)

August 9, 2013

ConfigMgr 2012 comes with a lot of powershell cmdlets to make your life easier.

Since SP1, a whopping 471 of them even!

But how do we access them? There is no shortcut called “PowerShell for ConfigMgr” placed on your desktop after installation of ConfigMgr, we have to do some work for that ourselves.

How to:

First, start the x86 version of Powershell (run as admin).

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Since the ConfigMgr Console is 32-bit still, and the powershell cmdlets come with the console, they are also 32-bits.

Then in powershell type: cd “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\bin” to get to the proper folder where the ConfigMgr Powershell module is located.

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Then we type Import-Module .\ConfigurationManager.psd1 to load the powershell module for Configuration Manager, making all the CmdLets available to us.

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Now we can start running the cmdlets. But which are they, and what can we do with them?

For that, let’s first update the help files. Make sure your machine has internet connectivity, so the updated help files can be downloaded from Microsoft;

Type Update-Help

After the help-updates have been downloaded, let’s see which cmdlets we have now for Configuration Manager.

Type get-command -module ConfigurationManager | out-gridview

This will show a nice list of all available ConfigMgr Cmdlets

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For a complete list of all the CmdLets, including a brief description of their function click here

You can get more info for each CmdLet by typing get-help <cmdlet>

For instance: get-help Add-CmDeploymentType

Now, we can also launch the PowerShell CmdLets from the ConfigMgr Admin Console!

However, it is very will hidden in my opinion.  Ever seen the little blue arrow on the top-left of the console?

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Whoomp, there it is. A x86 Powershell session, started as admin.

Type Y to allow the execution of the script, and off you go.

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In the next post, i will discuss some common useful Cmdlets, to create collections and such.

 

SMS Component Manager failed to install component SMS_PORTALWEB_CONTROL_MANAGER on server . The IIS ASP.NET is not registered correctly

May 10, 2012

When installing ConfigMgr 2012 on a site, i was looking at the Site Status node to check if all components were doing good.
This is located in the ConfigMgr Console under \Monitoring\Overview\System Status\Site Status
One component had a red X, specifically the Application Catalog Website Point Role.

Specific error messages were:

Site Component Manager failed to install component SMS_PORTALWEB_CONTROL_MANAGER on server .

The IIS ASP.NET is not registered correctly.
Solution: Review Microsoft Technet article located at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306005 to resolve the issue.

Wow, now that’s a pretty clear errormessage, even including a link how to fix it.
Lets see some more info about this though.
There is a specific logfile for this component, called SMSPORTALWEBsetup.log, which in a default installation is located under C:\Program Files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\Logs.

In this file, the following was shown

So, ASP.NET isn’t properly registered in IIS. And we know how to fix it.
Just run

%windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\version\aspnet_regiis.exe” -i

Ehm, but what about the \version\ bit then?
There are no less then SIX versions of .NET present on this system:

Now which one to register?
It would make sense it it was the 4.0 version, since that is a new requirement in ConfigMgr 2012.
So, lets do that one:

Hey waddayaknow? It worked.
The installation of the role finished nicely:

Thanks to Markus Baker, whose blog posting confirmed my findings. Was hard to find though, in German 🙂

Mobile Device Management in SCCM 2012 – Hands on (Part 2)

April 29, 2012

So, after connecting the SCCM 2012 server to Exchange and getting some info about devices through EAS, now it’s time to really get busy with Mobile Device Management.

In this posting i will show you how i set up the Mobile Device Enrollment, and actually got my old Windows Mobile 6.5 phone enrolled. W00t!

Starting point in this is this 10-step program to get your mobile devices managed in SCCM 2012.

The basic steps are:

  • Set up a working Microsoft PKI infrastructure
  • Install and configure certificates to SCCM servers
  • Install Enrollment Point Roles
  • Publish the Enrollment point so devices can contact it
  • Allow users to enroll their device

The first step is a tricky one already. Setting up a single issuing Root CA in a test environment is no big deal. But setting up a PROPER PKI Infrastructure is a whole different ballgame.

Since this is way out of scope for this post, i’ll just assume you’ve got a working PKI Infrastructure already. (hehe)

So, onto configuring the required certificates then.

I created a couple of new certificate templates:

Important note when creating these certificate templates and enabling them, is to use the “Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition” version.  That is the only supported version in ConfigMgr.

O, and don’t forget to configure a GPO for auto-enrollment of workstation certificates

Well, after you get all the certificates created, enabled and installed, it’s time to configure them in ConfigMgr.

Yes, that’s step 5 of the 10 step program already 🙂

This involves first configuring the MP and DP to manage Mobile Devices, which basically means enabling https, allowing internet-based client access, and selecting certificates. And don’t forget to first configure the Site System on which these roles run, with an external FQDN.

Then the Distribution Point:

and finally the MP:

Then, onto step 6, installing the Enrollment Point Role, and the Enrollment Proxy Point Roles.

When adding these roles it is important to keep in mind that you must use the external FQDN that you will use for Device Enrollment.

After his, you can already access the website containing the Device Enrollment Agents:

This very basic page (what, not even a nice System Center logo??)  contains two links, to the Client Agent installers for Windows Mobile (.cab format) and for Nokia Symbian Belle (.sisx format)

Now, we fly to step 9, to configure the device settings for Mobile Devices

Here you can set things like which usergroup you want to allow to enroll their devices.

This is done in the Mobile Device Enrollment Policy:

Now, that’s it. Now to get the old Windows Mobile device charged up, and see what we can do with it.

In the next posting that is.