Extending SMS Web Reports with Data from other Databases

John Nelson wrote a good article on using a linked server in SQL to utilize SMS Web reports against data in other DBs.

Check out the article here:

http://myitforum.com/cs2/blogs/jnelson/archive/2008/04/04/114622.aspx

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How SMS & ConfigMgr Asset Intelligence Data is Collected on the Client

Great post on the technet forums detailing how this is done:

 http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=3008301&SiteID=17

SMS 2003 SP3 Asset Intelligence Update Available by 31 January 2008

Just announced that the first bulk catalog update for Systems Management Server 2003 SP3 Asset Intelligence will be available by 31 January 2008.

http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2480557&SiteID=17&mode=1

Configuration Manager and Content Location (Package Source Files)

 

Configuration Manager and Content Location (Package Source Files)

Topic last updated — August 2007

Content location in Configuration Manager 2007 refers to how Configuration Manager 2007 clients find package source files for advertisements and software updates. When a client needs to locate content, it sends a content location request to a management point:

  • When a client is located within the boundaries of its assigned site, the client requests content location from its default management point.
  • When a client is located within the boundaries of a secondary site that is attached to its assigned site, and the secondary site has a proxy management point, the client requests content location from the proxy management point. If no proxy management point is installed in this secondary site, the client requests content location from its default management point.
  • When a client is located within the boundaries of a site that isn’t its assigned site or a secondary site that is attached to the client’s assigned site, a client that can access site information from Active Directory Domain Services (global roaming capability) will request content location from the resident management point in the site into which it has roamed. If the resident management point cannot provide this information (the content is not available in that site), the client falls back to asking its default management point.
  • When a client is located within the boundaries of a primary site lower in the hierarchy than its assigned site or a secondary site attached to its assigned site, a client that cannot access site information from Active Directory Domain Services (regional roaming capability), will continue to request content location from its default management point in its assigned site.

For more information about how clients find management points, see Configuration Manager and Service Location (Site Information and Management Points). For example scenarios, see Example Roaming Scenarios for Configuration Manager: Simple.

How Management Points Return Available Distribution Points to Clients

When a management point receives a content location request from a client, it identifies distribution points that host the content requested by clients. For requested advertisements, the package ID and version number is used to identify the requested content. For software updates, the software update configuration item UniqueID value and configuration item version is used to identify the requested content.

The distribution points searched first will be the distribution points in the client’s current site. The current site might be the client’s assigned site, or a secondary site attached to its assigned site, or another site into which the client has roamed. If the content is not available in the client’s current site, distribution points are searched in the client’s assigned site. In this way, clients can access content only from distribution points from their current site, or their assigned site.

The management point then sorts the list of identified distribution points in relation to the client’s current boundary location.

First, the management point looks for protection distribution points:

  • If the content is on protected distribution points, and the client’s current boundary location is included in the protected boundary configuration on protected distribution points, these distribution points only are returned to the client.
  • If the content is not on protected distribution points, but the client’s current boundary location is included in the protected boundary configuration, by default management points continue to provide the client with a list of non-protected distribution points that do host the content. However, when the following option is deselected on the advertisement or software update deployment setting, no distributions points are returned to clients and the client will not be able to download the content until it is added to the protected distribution points: Allow clients to fallback to unprotected distribution points when the content is not available on the protected distribution point.

For more information about protected distribution points, see About Distribution Points.

Next, the management point sorts the distribution points according to whether the client is currently in a fast network boundary that is configured for the management point’s site:

  • If the client is on a fast network boundary, the management point identifies the distribution points from its own site and marks them as “local”.
  • The remaining distribution points are marked as “remote”.
  • If there are both local and remote distribution points, the local distribution points are ordered before the remote distribution points.

The list of available distribution points is returned to the client after the filtering process (for protected distribution points) and sorting process (local and remote).

How Clients Choose Distribution Points from the List

Clients receive the list of distribution points, perform their own selection criteria, and then attempt to connect with the first distribution point. If that connection fails, it tries the next on the list.

The order in which clients try to connect to distributions point is the following, first for distribution points marked local (if any) and then for distribution points marked remote:

  • Distribution points on the same IP subnet as the client
  • Distribution points in the same Active Directory site as the client
  • Remaining distribution points

Within each sorting category, the client prefers distribution points that are enabled with the option Allow clients to transfer content from this distribution point using BITS, HTTP, and HTTPS. Without this option enabled, client connections to distribution points are over server message blocks (SMB).

As an example, a client will choose a distribution point with this option enabled located on the same IP subnet over a distribution point without this option enabled. However, the client will choose a distribution point that is not enabled with this option and that is located on the same IP subnet as the client over a distribution point that is not enabled with this option but located on the same IP subnet as the client.

Within each sorting category, the order of distribution points is nondeterministic, which provides a level of load-balancing for the servers. So, a client would attempt to connect to any of the distribution points that are enabled with the option Allow clients to transfer content from this distribution point using BITS, HTTP, and HTTPS on the same IP subnet as the client, and then attempt to connect to any of the distribution points that are not enabled with this option when they are on the same IP subnet as the client.

Internet-Based Distribution Points

When the client is being managed over the Internet, and requesting content from a site configured for Internet-based client management, all Internet-based distribution points in that site will be returned to the client.

In this scenario, distribution points must be configured with the option Allow clients to transfer content from this distribution point using BITS, HTTP, and HTTPS, and the selection of a distribution point by the client is nondeterministic.

Content Availability

When clients successfully connect to a distribution point on the intranet to access content, the content will always be available to clients that are located within fast network boundaries for the site on which the distribution point is located.

For clients that are not located within fast network boundaries for the site (they are located within slow network boundaries, or within boundaries defined for another site, or outside all configured boundaries on the intranet), the availability of the content depends on the configuration of the advertisement or software update deployment. In this scenario, the default configuration is to prevent access to the content, in order to preserve network bandwidth.

You can change this default setting so that advertisements and software update deployments download and install locally when the client is connected over a slow network boundary. This will ensure that clients can always install the content, but at the expense of network bandwidth over potentially slow and expensive WAN links.

These settings are configurable in the following places:

For more information about how clients find management points and content when they move from one location in the hierarchy to another, see About Client Roaming in Configuration Manager.

For example scenarios of how clients access content according to boundary configuration, their network location, and the configuration of advertisements and software update deployments, see Example Roaming Scenarios for Configuration Manager: Complex.

Configuration Manager and Content Location (Package Source Files)

Re-running advertisements on an Advanced Client

I was looking for some good information on re-running an advertisement on SMS 2003 advanced clients.  I found the following old but good post that not only had the solution but provides a great understanding of the process.

http://www.myitforum.com/articles/8/view.asp?id=6841

Download the script here: 9063ReRunAdv.zip

SMS 2003 Heartbeat Discovery

If you want to learn a bit more about heartbeat discovery the below article from Steve Rachui is a great read.

SMS 2003 – Heartbeat Discovery

There are several discovery methods in SMS 2003 but there is only one discovery method that MUST be enabled at every site in the heirarchy that will host clients – heartbeat discovery.  Heartbeat discovery is unique in that it is the ONLY discovery method that returns a client GUID as part of the discovery record and is also the only one to dictate whether clients are seen as ‘installed’ in the SMS admin console.  Here is a laundry list of heartbeat discovery related items

–  Heartbeat discovery is responsible for letting the site know a client is still healthy and runs on the interval specified – default is 7 days.
–  By default, missing heartbeat discovery records will NOT cause a client to be removed from the database if another discovery method is active and discovering the system.  If you want to remove clients from the database solely based on whether heartbeat information is current – use the ‘Delete Inactive Client Discovery Data’ maintenance task.
–  Clients will flip between installed yes and installed no if the heartbeat discovery records and delete aged discovery tasks are set in conflict.  If you see systems role to installed = no and you know they are valid systems, just go to the systems management applet on the client and run a discovery data collection action – this will cause the install flag to flip back (update and refresh the collection) assuming the communications channels to the site server are working properly.
–  Setting the interval for the ‘Delete Inactive Client Discovery Data’ and ‘Delete Aged Discovery Data’ tasks must be done with consideration to the heartbeat interval settings.  A good general rule of thumb is that the delete settings should be at least 2 1/2 times the interval of the heartbeat setting.

Ever wonder how heartbeat discovery data gets back to the site server?  When a scheduled heartbeat discovery cycle is initiated the inventoryagent module begins processing.  The inventoryagent is responsible for hardware and software inventory plus heartbeat discovery.  Processing for heartbeat data is very quick.  Once we have the record it is copied to the outbound queues on the agent and, depending on size, is either copied to the CCM_Incoming directory or directly posted to the management point.  Copies to the management point are handled via BITS.  If it is of interest to actually preserve the data collected in the discovery record for troubleshooting purposes, simply create the an empty folder called archive_reports.sms in the ccm\inventory\temp path on the agent.  The discovery (and other inventory records) will be stored in XML format in this folder as they are processed.

The management point receives the discovery record as encrypted XML.  The CCMIsapi will evaluate all incoming messages (not just discovery) and decide which specific component should further process.  In the case of discovery the message will be handed off to the discovery processor to transform it into the *.DDR format.  This can be seen in the MP_DDR.log.  Once this conversion completes the file is handed off to the file dispatch manager for movement to the inboxes folders.  The DDR arrives in the inboxes\auto\ddr.box and is processed into the database by the Data Discovery Manager component.  Note that not all DDRs are processed through the auth\DDM.box folder – but all heartbeat DDR’s are.

Some great WMI resources

WMI Code Creator – A fantastic utility that lets you browse the WMI namespaces and will generate code for C#, VB.net & VBscript.  This tool will save you a ton of time and build your understanding of wmi quite quickly.

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WMI SDK – MSDN SDK Resource