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Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2003 Notes

Notes From The Microsoft Management Summit 2003

SMS Workstation Image Deployment

During the keynote presentation at the Microsoft Management Summit (Mar 18-21, 2003) in Las Vegas an upcoming feature pack was announced that will allow for the deployment of images, similar to how packages are deployed today. The SMS Feature Pack, "OS Provisioning" will provide support for the DABS (or Drizzle) distribution of images, which are then applied by rebooting into the Windows PE operating system to actually apply the image to the workstation. PowerQuest DeployCenter (Drive Image) and Symantec Ghost support is already confirmed and other vendors may be included before its release. In an effort to establish a standard for providing image configuration information (product ID, computer name, etc.), Microsoft is developing a new Image Definition File format is being worked on with other key vendors. The process will also allow for the migration of user data and settings by leveraging Microsoft's User State Migration tools. Integrated as a new folder in the SMS Management Console, the "Images" area will allow for targeted distribution and package definition file (PDF) support. Like any other package, the deployment may be configured to copy itself to client systems where the action of imaging may be triggered through its full Add/Remove Program (ARP) support. This is a very impressive capability that is sure to make a lot of people happy. 

 

Bob Kelly

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SCCM /Application Packaging consultant needed

All,

If the position below is of interest to you, submit an update version of your resume.I have a 12 months project with a client in Lexington Kentucky at a rate of $55.00 Corp to Corp (Liability Insurance required) or $50.00 per hour on a W2 .Send over a copy of your resume at Robertcollins@technerdsplus.com if you would like to be submitted. The start date is immediate. Only apply if you meet the required skills please.

Job Title

System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) Administrator/ Application Packager

Work Hours

Nominally 8:30am - 5:30pm Monday - Friday. Scheduled flextime may be available if coordinated with the team. Some amount of flex time, or overtime, will be required to meet business needs. Scheduled weekend work will also be required from time-to-time to meet business needs. Will be required to be on call

General Description

Primary responsibility includes System Administrator functions for SCCM 2007. This will include maintaining the SCCM server infrastructure software and configuration. Ensuring client health and troubleshoot problems associated with the client. Provide patch management for administrative and factory floor desktops, laptops and servers. Create custom collections, reports, packages and advertisements to support other areas within the client services group. This job requires strong technical, communications and business skills. Application package development for software distribution through SCCM experience is a plus, not a requirement.

experience requirements

Minimum 3 years work experience with SMS/SCCM administration including Microsoft patching and software deployments.

Microsoft SCCM 2007 technical support with advanced knowledge of server and client maintenance, troubleshooting, query writing, and application deployments.

Applicant must have excellent troubleshooting, problem solving, and strong teamwork skills.

Ability to create custom collections, reports, packages and/or advertisements to support user or IT requests.

Improve and maintain client health for the overall SCCM environment.

Experience with Microsoft Office 2003 / 2007 products including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Visio, Project, Internet Explorer 6.0, and VMWare.

Windows XP / 7 technical support experience with advanced knowledge of the Windows registry, file and folder security, local/domain user security, and operating system troubleshooting.

Working knowledge of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 / 2008 and Windows 2003 / 2008 Server.

VBScript and / or Powershell scripting strongly desired.

Microsoft SCCM 2007 OSD (Operating System Deployment) technical experience is strongly desired.

Ability to create and run T-SQL scripts is a plus, not a requirement.

MSI and EXE application packaging experience using Wise Admin Studio, SMSInstaller, InstallShield, is a plus, not a requirement.

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Copying files from SMS Distribution points using command line

When using a command line with SMS (.cmd) it will default to using the current windows path.

Using this command will insert the current path which is hany when rolling out from multiple distribution points as it is updated depending on what server share its in.

For example you would use this line:

xcopy.exe "%~dp0*.*" c:\temp /E /I /Q /H /Y

The %~dp0 is replace with the current server path.

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MMS2012: Configuration Manager 2007 R3: Review and Simplify Your Deployments

I attended this informative session at MMS today by a SCCM conslultants, Chris Nackers and Kent Agerlund and wanted to share their informative list of top 10 review experiences. I'm not currently a SCCM user myself, but the notion of reviewing and simplifying deployments was intriguing to me. The list is as provided, each followed by my interpretation of the conversation (so don't quote me)...


 

#1 OSD is not really designed to work the way we want

The issue is normally that they haven’t thought about how they want to use it.

 

#2 No collection design or documentation

For many reasons, it is very important to document processes

 

#3 No strategy for maintaining the reference image

This is a big task that needs a plan

 

#4 We still use WSUS for patch management

Having it is not wrong, it is just important to have a process. They felt that patching in SCCM is not too complex though many seem to think it is. 

 

#5 Too many task sequences

Have seen as many as 50 task sequences, a large number of task sequences should not be necessary and probably means it is not being used as designed.

 

#6 No strategy for 3rd party upgrades

Again, it is important to have a process and plan. There are a handful of third party solutions to consider. Secunia, Solarwinds and SCUP were specifically pointed out and highlighted as being in the expo hall.

 

#7 Missing ConfigMgr hotfixes

Know what hotfixes are out there even if you don't decide to apply them all

 

#8 No security model

Prevent accidental deletions and distributions with security settings

 

#9 One account fits all

They would like to see a few service accounts configured with the minimal amount of required permissions (not one domain admin account for everything)

 

#10 Our config manager guy left the company a few months ago

An organization should maintain multiple experienced staff and ensure thorough documentation

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MMS2012: Configuration Manager 2012: Technical Overview

As a conference catering largely to SCCM users, it was not much of a surprise to see that this session presented by Bryan Keller, Russ Wilson (Lead Program Managers) was the most packed breakout session I’ve seen in quite some time. Every seat was taken (in a large room and well before start time) and many were standing on the sides and back to take in the news.

Because the details of many items covered are to be provided in other sessions this presentation was a bit jumbled where some topics got a lot of time and others (though interesting) were covered very briefly. There wasn’t much by way of a clean list of features discussed either so my notes here are less than ideal but I decided best to share anyway as a tidbit or two may still prove valuable so someone…

On the topic of consolidating one’s infrastructure for primary sites, there used to be several reasons to break off remote sites as their own primary site, which are no longer necessary thanks to new improvements and enhancements. Paramount is that you no longer need to have a primary site set up just to support decentralized administration. Role based administration supports what resources, actions and objects any given user will have access to. Now there is but a single distribution point, and no branch DPs are needed. It supports multicast, bandwidth throttling and scheduling of content to remote locations.  You can also pre-stage content by physically moving media to the remote site.

A big change was the introduction of a new user interface. While many cringe at leaving a familiar interface, it was clear from the crowds reaction that nobody will miss the old MMC admin console. Now there is a common look and feel across System Center products (leveraging the familiar Outlook style UI).

They discussed a job named CCMEval that runs once per day, performs a WMI repository consistency check (writes to and reads back from WMI to see if it is working). If that check fails, the client can be automatically reinstalled as a corrective measure.

There has been a move to a user centric approach for software deployment. Now, which users are using which devices and which are their primary systems is leveraged to be smart about when to install software onto the user’s computer. With the ability to distinguish the computer to which a user is logging on as the user’s primary computer or not, deployment logic can be introduced to say, “These applications can go to users on their primary device, these other applications can go to any device they use.”  Understanding the relationship between the user and the devices is key to supporting this functionality. Some automated logic can be used to determine what is primary, or the admin can specify. In a conversation later, I learned that there is also an ability to let the user choose what is their primary themselves and that it is possible to specify more than one primary device.  The notion of people-centric deployment also comes into play with OS deployment. Leveraging the knowledge of who’s computer is being built, the system can have the user’s software pre-deployed before the user logs in.

Clearly the regular use of “device” instead of “computer” makes you think Mobile Device Management (MDM) but so far not much has been shared on that front.  This presentation stated support for Windows Mobile 5 and 6 and Nokia Symbian “Belle” but that this is a starting point and they are working to expand this support. Word in the halls is that support for mobile devices will extend to any that utilize ActiveSync (and that this is basic, not deep, management as a result).  

Application dependencies can now be specified so logic can prevent attempts at installation until all listed dependencies have been successfully installed. Application supersedence is also possible so you can identify which applications replace others.

The first steps into VDI were explained as being additional inventory information for virtual machines. Such information can be used as conditions for deployment. The uniqueness of a client is now maintained through shutdown and startup of the virtual machine to avoid generation of obsolete records.

A web based software catalog is available to allow users to browse, search, install, and request software deployments.

Remote Control has been updated, adding granular client settings per collection, the ability to lock the remote keyboard and mouse, create firewall exception rules. It now supports sending of CTRL-ALT-DEL (this got laughs) and copy and paste between the local computer and remote system (this got claps).

Currently undocumented, in a final demo, they added sms:debugmode on the shortcut to the admin console (no slashes) to reveal a new tools menu item: Tools > Namespaces offers a tool geared to replace using WBEMTest by offering the ability to browse the properties methods and instances of WMI (read only).  Some additional information also gets added to when browsing the admin console and many raised their hands to say the additional information would be helpful to them.  

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