Starting with SCCM

For those who are looking to get started with SCCM, Doug Seiler (see his blog here) does a great job of breaking it down to the basics and even makes it a fun read when it comes to following the tutorials in order to get your own lab environment up and running.

As someone who has had to do the same and with no formal experience or training, I can truly appreciate someone who has taken the time and effort to put everything in writing!

Patching change for Windows 10 version 1903

For the past few years as an SCCM admin, I have become accustomed to Microsoft’s semi-annual release of the latest version of Windows 10 and patching it is usually seamless and does not require making any changes to WSUS / SCCM.

However, it seems that Microsoft has made a significant change starting with version 1903 and beyond, system administrators of WSUS / SCCM must select “Windows 10, version 1903 or later” in order for those systems running it to be updated.  See Microsoft’s announcement here.

Special shout out to Bryan Dam (damgoodadmin.com) and Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet.com) for bringing this to the attention of the masses.  Saves me a support call to Microsoft that’s for sure!

Helpful SQL Server Maintenance Script

So I noticed over the past month that System Center Configuration Manager is running a bit sluggish which immediately indicates to me that it’s time for some maintenance! (sigh)

For those who manage programs such as SCCM and SCOM which require modern versions of SQL Server, this custom script created by Ola Hallengrens is a must have!  Also, be sure to check his site periodically as he does a great job of updating this script along with others on a regular basis.  Paired with additional recommendations from Steve Thompson designed for these specific programs, I am pleased with its effectiveness in cleaning up these SQL databases.

 

Configuration Manager 1902 is here!

It’s deja-vu all over again!  For the second straight upgrade, Microsoft decides to release a new version of SCCM just as I finished upgrading our servers to the now previous version of the powerful software.  The last time this happened to me was over the Thanksgiving holiday and upon my return to work the following Monday…CB 1806 drops!

Clearly its not the end of the world since CB 1810 is not losing support anytime soon but I’m not having the best of luck with this lately.  Before this week, the only other opportunity I had would have been over the Christmas / New Years holidays which I took completely off of work.

I’ve already had an opportunity to look over all of the cool features I’ll have to wait to use in our production environment; check out Prajwal Desai’s blog post here which does a great job detailing all the new features and changes.

System Center 2019 Coming Soon!

I was catching up on some tech reading over the weekend and came across multiple articles stating that Microsoft’s latest System Center Suite will be released later this month and is fully compatible with Windows Server 2019 products.

A key takeaway from the article I read on RedmondMag.com about this topic is that Microsoft has decided to shift back to a more LTSC-like (long term servicing channel) model.  This decision stemmed from the fact that customers actually preferred receiving less feature updates but is supported for a longer period of time instead of the opposite.  The only notable exception to this is Configuration Manager which will continue to stay on the current SAC (semi-annual channel) model.

As someone who uses Configuration Manager and Operations Manager on a daily basis, I believe Microsoft made the right call on this.  I personally welcome the new features introduced with Configuration Manager on a regular basis whereas with Operations Manager, as long as its properly managing our 80+ servers I’m a happy camper!

 

Security Patching for Microsoft Office

As you may already know, I’m the primary person responsible for patching all of our PCs running Microsoft Windows and Office within our organization.  In my experience of performing this task on a monthly basis, the hard work actually comes in the form of researching online for any known issues with the updates that may be a part of any given deployment.  Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a spike in Security Updates for various editions of Office that are getting removed or revised.

Here is an article I came across and does a great job addressing this topic and can be found at RedmondMag.com…

Silverlight causing WSUS issues

Upon performing my daily checks on our SCCM server, I noticed that the Software Update Point Synchronization Status failed so I checked out the WSUSCtrl.log file and browsed through it line by line using CMTrace to find where things went wrong.  Come to find out that an update to Silverlight (KB4481252) released yesterday by Microsoft (01/15/2019) is the culprit.  Now for those users who do not utilize Silverlight, it is advised that you deselect it within the “Products” tab under “Software Update Point Component Properties as shown below…

Another option would be to decline KB4481252 within the SCCM server that hosts the WSUS role.  To do this, right click on “All Updates” on the left column under the listed server and choose “Search”.  After searching and finding the KB causing issues, right click and choose to decline it.

Upon re-synchronizing Software Updates within the SCCM console, you will see that the Software Update Point Synchronization Status will show as being completed and fully synced.

SCOM Version 1807 Upgrade

Being that it is a short week and almost all staff is gone for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I’m afforded a small window of time which will allow for me to upgrade to the latest version of SCOM.  At the start of the process, I immediately noted that it is not as simple as extracting the ISO and running setup.exe…instead it is a series of KBs that need to be installed in a certain order as stated by Microsoft.  See the link below for further details…

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/system-center/scom/upgrade-1801-to-1807?view=sc-om-1807

After following all of the instructions, the install is now complete!

Common SCCM Site System Roles

Recently I was asked to give a breakdown of the different site roles within SCCM.  Hopefully this serves as a good reference for those requesting it and/or needing it:

Software update point   A site system role that runs Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and allows Configuration Manager to use the WSUS catalog to scan Configuration Manager clients for software updates.

  • Application Catalog web service point: A site system role that serves as an Application Catalog web service point.
  • Component server: Any server requiring a Configuration Manager service to be installed.
  • Distribution point: A Configuration Manager server role that stages packages for distribution to clients.
  • Endpoint Protection point: A site system role that serves as a endpoint protection point.
  • Management point: A site system role that replies to Configuration Manager client requests and accepts management data from Configuration Manager clients.
  • Site server: The main site system role that hosts the Configuration Manager components and services.
  • Site system: A server or server share that hosts one or more site system roles for a Configuration Manager site.
  • Component server: Any server requiring a Configuration Manager service to be installed.
  • Reporting services point: A site system role that  provides integration with SQL Server Reporting Services to create and manage reports for Configuration Manager.