Join David M. Franklyn for an in-depth discussion in this video Resources and clients, part of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Essential Training.
- [Instructor] We're going to be very brief in this chapter. The reason for this is that much of the information here was already covered in the course, Learning System Center Configuration Manager, found in our library. However, we still need to get some client data about those clients and other items into the database so we can look at how database replication works for the central administration site like the one we've set up. So to that end, we will set up client discovery and then once the clients are installed, have them conduct a hardware and software inventory.
And also we'll collect some software metering data. One of the main purposes of Configuration Manager is to centrally manage client computers and devices. This means we start by finding those clients and placing a client agent on them. Finding clients, of course, is done through the discovery process. Use one or more discovery methods in System Center Configuration Manager to find devices and use resources that you can manage. You can also use discovery to identify network infrastructure in your environment.
There are several different methods we can use to discover different things and each method has its own configuration and limitations. To use most discovery methods, you must enable the method at the site and set it up to search specific network or Active Directory locations. When it runs, it queries the specified location for information about devices or users that Configuration Manager can use. When a discovery method successfully finds information about a resource, it puts that information into a file called the Discovery Data Record or a DDR.
That file is then processed by a primary or central administration site. Processing of a DDR creates a new record in the site database for newly discovered resources or updates existing records with new information. Now one thing to watch out for is some discovery methods can generate a large volume of network traffic and the DDRs they produce can result in a significant use of CPU resources during processing. Therefore, plan to use only those discovery methods that you require to meet your goals.
You might start by using only one or two discovery methods and then later enable additional methods in a controlled manner to extend the level of discovery in your environment. After discovery information is added to the site database, the information then replicates to each site in the hierarchy, regardless of where it was discovered or processed. Therefore, while you can set up different schedules and settings for discovery methods at different sites, you might run a specific discovery method only at a single site.
This reduces the use of network bandwidth through duplicate discovery actions and reduces the processing of redundant discovery data at multiple sites. So discovery, as shown here, is the process by which Configuration Manager learns about the things you can manage. The following are the available discovery methods. We can use the Active Directory Forest Discovery to search an Active Directory Forest for information about subnets and Active Directory site configurations. These configurations can then be automatically entered into Configuration Manager as boundary locations.
We can use the Active Directory Group Discovery to discover memberships of a specified group and with it you can discover limited systems or computer information. When you want to discover computers, you can use Active Directory System Discovery or Network Discovery. The Active Directory System Discovery method not only lets you discover the resource but you can also discover basic information and even extended information about it from the Active Directory domain services. When you want to discover information about users, use Active Directory User Discovery.
Similar to Active Directory System Discovery, this method discovers users from the Active Directory. It includes basic information in addition to extended Active Directory information, if available. Heartbeat Discovery, it's possible to use only Heartbeat Discovery to force the discovery of clients that you install by methods other than the client push installation. We'll talk about that in a moment. However, unlike other discovery methods, Heartbeat Discovery cannot discover computers that do not have an active Configuration Manager client.
Network Discovery provides you with information about your network topology that you are not able to acquire with other discovery methods. Use its options to discover the operating systems of resources including Workgroup Windows, Linux, UNIX, and Mac computers. After discovery data is added by Configuration Manager to a database, it is quickly shared among all sites in the hierarchy. Because there is typically no benefit for discovering the same information at multiple sites in your hierarchy, consider setting up a single instance of each discovery method that you use to run at a single site.
It's a good idea to do this instead of running multiple instances of a single method at different sites. Boundaries for Configuration Manager define the network location on your intranet that can contain devices that you want to manage. Boundary groups are logical groups of boundaries that you can configure. A hierarchy can include any number of boundary groups and each boundary group can contain any combination of the following boundary types. We have IP subnet, Active Directory site name, IP Version 6 prefix, and IP address range.
Clients that are on the Internet are configured as Internet only clients who do not use boundary information. These clients cannot use automatic site assignment and can always download content from any distribution point from their assigned site when the distribution point is configured to allow client connections from the Internet. You can use different methods to install the Configuration Manager client agent. You can use one method or a combination of methods. You can configure client push installation for a site, and client installation will automatically run on the computers that are discovered within the site's configured boundaries when the boundaries are configured as a boundary group.
Or you can initiate a client push installation by running the client push installation wizard for a specified collection or a resource within a collection. After the client agent is successfully installed, you'll find on that client, in the Control Panel in the system and security node, a Configuration Manager icon. This controls many aspects of the client agent running on that particular client. And one more thing about clients in Configuration Manager, they're added to collections.
Collections help you organize resources into manageable units. There are two major types, user collections and device collections. We use collections in Configuration Manager for a variety of things including managing subsets of clients and users or providing them software, even installing operating systems. After a client agent is installed, that client will go into a particular collection, such as all systems, or Windows 10 systems, and other such default systems.
We're going to use the client push method in our demonstration. For more information on the different client installation methods, view our course, Learning System Center Configuration Manager, found in our library.
- 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