CCMEXEC.COM – System Center blog

CCMEXEC.COM – by Jörgen Nilsson

Be sure not to miss the System Center User Group days in Stockholm Sweden on the 21-22 of January. The event will be two days, one day with focus on Datacenter and Private Cloud and one day will focus on Client Management.

I have the great honor of presenting on the Client Management track a session called “Advanced Application Management” :D

The event will host many great speakers like Wally Mead(Microsoft), Johan Arwidmark(MVP), Björn Axell(MVP), Robert Hedblom(MVP), Mikael Nyström(MVP), Anders Bengtsson(Microsoft), Jonny Andersson.

It will be a truly great event be sure not to miss it!!

Registration can be done here: http://www.scug.se/?p=125

All session will be in Swedish except from Wally’s sessions.

I hope to see you all there!

The Orchestrator integration in MDT 2012 Update 1 is my new toy for this week, it feels like Christmas when you where a little kid you want to play around with it all the time, have it next to the bed at night!

I wrote a blog post a couple of days ago on how to use the Orchestrator integration in MDT 2012 Update 1 to remove the computer from a Collection after a successful OS deployment.
I wrote in that post that you could use it to send an email if the deployment is not successful and it is just as simple. The end result will look like this, where we include the computername and as it is possible to pass variables on to Orchestrator we also use the setting for where the Log files are located for the failed OS deployment.

Orch2_4

Here is how to do it:

Environment prerequisites:

  • Configuration Manager 2012 site configured for OSD
  • MDT 2012 Update 1
  • The Network Access account need to have permissions to execute the Runbook

1. First we create a Runbook with two really simple steps.
Orch2_1 2. The initialize step has the following two variables:

Orch2_2

3. The Send Email step has the following settings in the text, it is necessary to configure SMTP server settings on the other tabs as well. To use the variables in the subject and message use right-click and select Subscribe / Published Data and select “OSDComputerName” in the list so the same in the Message box where we also include the path to the log file as well.

Orch2_5
4. In the SCCM 2012 MDT Task sequence we add a step in the end of the Task Sequence under the “Gather Logs and StateStore on Failure” with the following settings and again it is so easy, just type in the Orchestrator servername and you will be presented with a list of Runbooks to chose from. Chose the one we created and add the following variables to pass on to it.

Orch2_6Finished!

If you need to fail the task sequence for testing add a run command line running a vbscript with the following content, which will simply return an exit code of 1. Which indicates a failure.

Wscript.quit(1)

Next up create an incident in Service Manager if the OS deployment fails which is also really easy to do.

Start testing it yourself!

Today I got the MVP Award mail! It was a long day of waiting, checking the junk mail filter, checking that the mailbox wasn’t full and then finally the mail arrived. :D

“Dear Jorgen Nilsson,

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2012 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in System Center Configuration Manager technical communities during the past year.

Thank you Microsoft for presenting me with this award, it is a true honor! Thanks to all of you who inspired me with interesting scenarios and challenging questions!

/Jörgen

I finally got around testing the new Orchestrator Task in MDT 2012 Update 1 and wow is the word that comes into mind!

I thought well I will do two simple tests to see how it works, now I am hooked. I added two Orchestrator tasks in my OS Deployment Task Sequence the first step will remove the computer from the OSD Collection when it is completed and the other step will send an E-Mail if the OS deployment fails.

Two fairly simple tasks but think about the possibilities, updating the Service Request for re-installing a computer in Service Manager with status on where the installation is, adding a computer dynamically to a asset system or counting the number of time a computer is being re-installed which can be useful for seeing trends and identifying problems with models e.t.c.

Here is how to create a Runbook to remove the computer from a Collection after a successful OS deployment, which is something fairly often scripted today:

Environment prerequisites:

  • Configuration Manager 2012 site configured for OSD
  • MDT 2012 Update 1
  • The Network Access account need to be a Orchestrator User

1. In the Orchestrator Runbook designer I created a Runbook with the two following steps:

MDT_Orch22. Add a variable to the Initialize Data step like this:

MDT_Orch33. Create  a new step using the Delete Collection Rule activity from the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Integration Pack. It defaults to “Direct” instead of “Direct Rule” so remember to change that. When creating the Membership rule right-click and select Subscribe / Published Data and select “Computername” in the list.

MDT_Orch44. Test the Runbook and Check it in after testing it successfully.

5.Create a new step in the SCCM/MDT Task Sequence like the one below, it is really simple type in the name if the Orchestrator server and press Browse then you will be able to browse all runbooks available on the Orchestrator server. The UI will find that the Runbook requires input, in this case in the form of Computername so you can select to pass a variable along.

MDT_Orch1That is it, incredibly easy!
You are now ready to test out your Runbook integration. Don’t forget to configure security in Orchestrator so you have permission to execute the Runbook

Here is a another example on how to use the Orchestrator integration from Peter van der Woude, which display how to move the computer to the correct OU after deployment, which is another popular thing to script. http://www.petervanderwoude.nl/post/using-the-power-of-orchestrator-to-move-a-computer-to-a-different-ou-via-configmgr-2012/

So now we can use Runbooks instead of doing a lot of scripting in our deployment solutions!! However when you want to do more advanced things you will need sooner or later write your own Powershell script to achieve this, so scripting is still needed don’t worry ;-)

An update to MDT 2012 Update 1 is released! Which solves an issue when used together with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager 2012 Cumulative Update 1 where you get an error when creating a new MDT Task Sequence.

For more information about the update see Michael Niehaus’s blog post:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/mniehaus/archive/2012/09/19/mdt-2012-update-1-has-been-updated.aspx

Download is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=25175

Yesterday Sp1 beta was made available for download! A very interesting blog post was also published on the System Center Configuration Manager Team Blog regarding which versions of Configuration Manager will support Windows 8 and Server 2012.

It also contains information that Sp1 will be released early 2013!!!

Here is the support matrix:

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1:

We will add the following operating systems to our client support matrix with the release of Service Pack 1:

  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter

Note: Systems with these operating systems will also be able to host a distribution point.

All site server roles – including site servers, sms providers, and management points – can be deployed to servers with the following operating system editions:

  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter

Configuration Manager 2007 Service Pack 2

As with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1, we are adding the following operating systems to our client support matrix in Configuration Manager 2007 with SP2 (includes Configuration Manager 2007 R2 and Configuration Manager 2007 R3):

  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter

Note: Though these will be fully supported as clients, there is no plan to add support for deploying these as operating systems by using the Configuration Manager 2007 operating system deployment feature. Also, no site servers or site systems will be supported on any SKU of Windows Server 2012.

For the complete post you can find it here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/configmgrteam/archive/2012/09/10/support-questions-about-windows-8-and-windows-server-2012.aspx

System Center 2012 Sp1 beta is available for download! :D

Some of the news from the blog post from the Microsoft Server and Cloud Platform Team

Configuration Manager SP1 enhancements include:

  • Deployment and management of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
  • Distribution point for Windows Azure to help reduce infrastructure costs
  • Automation of administrative tasks through PowerShell support
  • Management of Mac OS X clients and Linux and UNIX servers

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 Beta is now available for download here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34607

More information in what is included in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 can be found on Technet Library: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj591552.aspx

For the whole blog post: http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2012/09/10/system-center-2012-configuration-manager-sp1-beta-and-windows-intune-update.aspx

Download it and try it out with Server 2012 and Windows 8!

CMTrace.exe (former Trace32.exe) is a must have and probably one of the tools you use most as a Configuration Manager Administrator if you don’t count the Admin Console it self of course.  CMTrace is a fantastic tool to view Configuration Manager log files, it is truly a life saver.
In Configuration Manager 2012 it is included in the actual installation of Configuration Manager instead of beeing and additional download.

You find CMTrace.exe in <ConfigMgr install folder>\Tools on the Primary Site server, it is also included by default in the Boot Images, thank you for that! I always copy it to all computers in my environment during OSD so I have it everywhere where I might need it.

One feature that I find extremely useful but still not known/used by that many is the possibility to merge log files in one view. It is really great as it will provide a simple overview of for instance all log files involved in Software Update Management sorted by timestamp so you can see exactly when different steps are completed or what happend just before an error.

You can choose to open multiple log file as the same time and select to merge them.

cmtrace_1

Then you can follow all events related in the same view, great!!

cmtrace_2

While writing this I found that Rob Marshall – ConfigMgr MVP put together even more information about CMTrace features, it is a really good article which I recommend reading:

http://wmug.co.uk/wmug/b/r0b/archive/2013/10/27/lab-system-center-2012-configuration-manager-6-cmtrace.aspx