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Monthly Archives: August 2012

SCCM 2012: Upgrading a Primary Site Server OS from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 Release Preview

Recently I made an attempt to upgrade the Operating System of a SCOM 2012 Management Server from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 Release Preview.

While I was on it I thought: let’s do the same thing with an SCCM 2012 Primary Site Server.

Common practice trying these scenarios is using a lab environment (using Hyper-V), mine is configured like this:

  • The Site server database is hosted on a separate SQL 2008 R2 server running Windows Server 2008 R2, this machine remains untouched. The Site server database runs on a separate named instance;
  • One SCCM 2012 Primary Site server, unrestricted internet access is available

The SCCM Primary has the following site roles installed:

  • Application Catalog web service point
  • Application Catalog website point
  • Distribution point
  • Management point
  • Endpoint Protection point
  • Software Update point

MDT 2012 Update 1 is installed as well.

For the Software Update point, WSUS is running locally on the SCCM 2012 Site server.

Setup is started in Windows after mounting the Windows Server 2012 Release Preview installation media.

During setup, I immediately received an error message which states that WSUS should be uninstalled before setup can continue. This message surprised me a little bit and made me think what impact this upgrade scenario might have in production environments. So I removed the Software Update point, uninstalled WSUS and restarted the server.

After restarting the server I was able to successfully do an in-place upgrade to Windows Server 2012 Release Preview.

Since WSUS was uninstalled I added the role manually afterwards, then I added the Software Update Point once more.

Before synchronizing for the first time after upgrading I noticed that all updates were expired so I had to run my initial synchronization again.

This is something that might have a great impact when organizations want to upgrade the OS on their SCCM infrastructures because it basically means the update repository might need to be rebuilt completely.

 

Conclusion is that upgrading the OS on SCCM 2012 Site servers will work but upgrading WSUS in the process in not possible. This is most unfortunate and I expect this feature to have a great impact on production environments.

 

Keep in mind though that this test was conducted in a lab environment. I don’t recommend doing this in a production environment at all until the RTM version of Windows Server 2012 is released and Microsoft considers running SCCM 2012 on Windows Server 2012 a supported configuration. Once Windows Server 2012 is added as a supported configuration on Technet upgrade scenarios become available.

At this time I’m not sure how other SCCM roles are affected by the upgrade. This requires some additional testing…

 

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SCOM 2012: Upgrading a Management Server OS from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 Release Preview

A customer had an off-the record request to check if it is possible to do an in-place Operating System upgrade of a SCOM 2012 Management Server.

Even though it is not supported by Microsoft I decided to set up a lab environment (running Hyper-V) and give it a try.

The lab environment has the following properties:

  • SQL 2008 R2 is installed on a dedicated server running Windows Server 2008 R2, a named instance was created to host the SCOM databases;
  • A fresh install of a single SCOM 2012 Management Server installed on a Windows Server 2008 R2 server. No Management Packs imported and no Agents deployed (after all, the Management Server itself is upgraded);
  • Access to the internet is available at the SCOM 2012 Management Server.

The Management Server runs the Console and the Web Console as well.

The SCOM 2012 server is running, the console is closed, the Windows Server 2012 Release Preview installation media is mounted to the machine.

Setup is started in Windows itself, the machine doesn’t boot from the installation media.

The ‘upgrade’ option is selected, the installation selected is Windows Server 2012 Release Preview Datacenter (with a GUI).

The installation went smoothly, the setup downloads some content from the internet and after a reboots the installation was finished.

To be sure, I restarted the SCOM 2012 Management Server.

After logging on, I could successfully open the SCOM 2012 Console, no graphic anomalies were detected.

Conclusion: yes, it is possible to run an in-place upgrade of Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 on a SCOM 2012 Management Server.

Keep in mind though that this test was conducted in a lab environment. I don’t recommend doing this in a production environment at all until the RTM version of Windows Server 2012 is released and Microsoft considers running SCOM 2012 on Windows Server 2012 a supported configuration. Once Windows Server 2012 is added as a supported configuration on Technet upgrade scenarios become available.

 

SCCM 2012: modifying hardware inventory to detect process availability

At my current project the customer is using McAfee antivirus for malware protection. The ‘rogue detection’ mechanism is not providing them the expected behavior. After raising a support call, the advice given was to include the EPO agent in the deployment strategy. The installation of framepkg.exe is included in the Task Sequence which works fine.

However, for existing windows installations the detection mechanism is not available and we need to know which machines managed by SCCM 2012 don’t have the EPO agent installed. Using an Add/Remove Programs Display Name query gave too many false positives. A different detection method is required.

A solution is to create a query collection which has the following criteria: not Process.Name is equal to “FrameworkService.exe”

Note that the whole criteria is inverted with the ‘not’ operand. Using Process.Name is not equal to “FrameworkService.exe” would give you all machines since you always have processes with different names.

In order to get results, the hardware inventory needs to be modified since the default configuration doesn’t inventory any processes.

This is configured in the client settings.

At the Hardware Inventory tab select the Set Classes button.

The Win32_Process class needs to be enabled. Since we only want to detect process names the class Name will be selected.

After pressing OK the class is added to the hardware inventory.

All that needs to be done is creating a required deployment to the collection which will install framepkg.exe correctly.

Keep in mind though that this process might be slow in case the default hardware inventory schedule is used.

So it might be recommended to use a mechanism to trigger the hardware inventory more frequently.

 

Using Hyper-V on Windows 8: Bridging to WiFi adapters

The release date of Windows 8 is getting closer and closer. In order to prepare for the release many speciasts including myself have been trying the Consumer Preview and the Release Preview. Specialists like myself frequently use some local virtual machines on their desktops and laptops (especially laptops) for testing purposes. Fortunately, Microsoft has included Hyper-V with Windows 8 so it allows specialists like us to build these environments without needing 3rd virtualization tools.

Finally, it is possible to create a vritual switch and connect it to a WiFi adapter, a feature that was greatly missed or needed some tricks to get it working.

See screenshot below.

The network device selected is the WiFi adapter of my laptop.

NOTE: make sure that your hardware supports SLAT or you may not be able to use it…

 
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Posted by on 04/08/2012 in Uncategorized

 

Exam 70-243: Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, impressions and opinions

Hi everyone,

Exam 70-243 is out now for a while and today the test was taken by me succesfully. Because of a signed NDA with Microsoft no details are discussed here. This is something you need to figure out yourself. This exam is not for the faint hearted. I expect specialists and consultants should be able to pass this exam. For the rest the message is clear: this one’s difficult.

Better prepare yourself properly before doing this exam…

 
 
Steve Thompson [MVP]

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