Join David M. Franklyn for an in-depth discussion in this video Central and site multi-deployment, part of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Essential Training.
- [Instructor] In most cases, deploying a single standalone primary site is more than sufficient. Yes, there can be a need to deploy a central administration site above a primary site or to have a hierarchy of sites. One of the main reasons to deploy multiple sites in a single organization's Configuration Manager infrastructure is based on bandwidth or at least adequate bandwidth. Over the years, this has changed. When Configuration Manager came out back when it was called SMS, large wide area network links were generally at the T1 capacity which was approximately 1.544 megabits per second.
Nowadays, this is considered very small. Most people have more bandwidth coming out of their house than the average large organization had around the year 2000. As Wide Area Network or WAN capacity grows, the rationale behind using multiple sites will change. Given today's more expansive bandwidth capabilities and capacities, having everything in one primary site may be more than adequate. On the other hand, many companies or corporations are global and have many distributed work, manufacturing, and warehouse operations in various locations.
Some of these are located in different countries with different sets of national laws about sharing data between other countries or within their country and we have to be prepared for that as well. But overall, providing for a quick comprehensive Configuration Manager infrastructure will still include the multisite deployment options available to us through the central administration site and there are three types of sites in Configuration Manager. The central administration site, the primary site, and the secondary site.
There is some confusion about how to use a primary site versus a central administration site. A primary site is used to manage clients. You can't manage clients in a central administration site. A secondary site is mainly intended to be used when you have a slow wide area network link between physical locations. If you have a reliable fast link, then a secondary site is unnecessary. If a large organization has a goal of using Configuration Manager to manage clients, deploying software to them and an operating system to create clients, to collect hardware and software inventory, meter software usage, provide endpoint protection, and software updates, then you will need to deploy a primary site.
If they are widespread, say over more than one continent or country, you may wish to deploy multiple primary sites. In order to centralize administration and data collection from all the disparate primary sites, you can create a central administration site. A central administration site does not have clients, rather it has child primary sites. It is a site used to centralize reporting and to facilitate communication between primary sites in the hierarchy.
In smaller branch offices and other locations that will have some but not many clients and limited bandwidth to that location, you can deploy secondary sites. All management of the secondary site is done from the parent primary site and the secondary sites cannot be moved to another primary site. You would consider installing a secondary site if you do not require a local point of connectivity for administrative users and you must manage transfer of deployment content to clients lower in the hierarchy as well as collect information sent up the hierarchy from these remote locations.
Secondary sites automatically install SQL Server Express unless you specify a local instance of SQL Server and are not installed using setup media, but rather from the Configuration Manager console on the primary site. Secondary sites only use a subset of the information in the site database and therefore reduce the amount of data required to be replicated to the parent. Secondary site installation automatically deploys the management and distribution point roles to the secondary site server.
If you don't want to install a secondary site, you could instead use Windows BranchCache or install distribution points enabled for bandwidth control and scheduling. In most cases, you would first deploy your central administrative site and then the primary sites as needed to manage clients directly. You would then, if necessary, deploy secondary sites from primary sites connected to those remote clients.
- Planning and deploying a standalone primary site
- Ensuring domain and site server prerequisites
- Planning and expanding a standalone primary site
- Planning and deploying a multiple-site hierarchy
- Planning resource discovery and client deployment
- Managing content and replicating data in Configuration Manager
- Configuring Internet and cloud-based client management
- Advanced monitoring
- Upgrading to Configuration Manager current branch