A few weeks ago I have blogged about the DP Job Queue Manager. Today we will have a further look into another great utility in the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 toolkit: the Collection Evaluation Viewer (CEViewer.exe).
The main purpose of the Collection Evaluation viewer is to assist in troubleshooting issues related to collection evaluation. We will now test drive the tool in a lab to further explore the possibilities.
In case you did not download the toolkit yet, it is available here. The installation is really straightforward and we will not outline those details during this post. Instead we will fire up the utility straight away.
Before doing anything else I would recommend to first have a look at the last tab entitled about Collection Evaluation. This tab contains details on how to collection evaluation process runs and will help you to better understand the other queue tabs.
Now that we have some insights on how the queuing works, lets go to the first tab and provide the connection details to connect to the primary site. Connection details are shown at the bottom of the window.
Moving on to the Full Evaluation tab – this is where things become interesting. When looking specifically into performance issues the columns Run Time (Seconds) and Percent will be the most interesting ones: the first one logs how long the last evaluation took and the Percent column shows the percentage of evaluation time for this collection over the total (all collections) evaluation time. This should help you spot problematic collections straight away.
Additionally we can also find more details about the last time the collection was evaluated, when the next evaluation time will be, and what the result of the last evaluation was in regards to membership and when that change took place.
The Incremental Evaluation tab show information similar to the Full Evaluation tab, but this time for collections that have the incremental evaluation setting enabled. Also here we can easily spot problematic collections based on the Run Time and Percent columns.
The All Queues tab gives a complete overview of the different queues. Before taking the screenshot above I triggered a membership update on a few demo collections. As this is a manual action the collections are listed in the manual update queue. Notice that an estimated completion time is listed for both collections of which the membership is currently being evaluated.
The remaining (color-coded) tabs each represent a different queue. The screenshot above for to the manual update queue and lists a set of collections for which I had triggered a membership update. Here we can see the estimated run time and estimated completion time for each of the collections.
The remaining tabs are for the queues for new collections, collections with full updates or collections with incremental updates and work in the exact same way.
To finish up this post I would like to add that this tool can only be used with Configuration Manager 2012 R2. It will not work with previous versions. On an SP1 site we were able to connect to the site but when browsing to any of the other tabs in the tool it errors out as shown in the screenshot below.
That concludes our overview and test drive of this very interesting tool in the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Toolkit. I hope this information was useful and will encourage you to download the toolkit and start using these tools.
Until next time!
Yesterday Microsoft has released an update to address issues that occurred with Cumulative Update 3 (CU3) for Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 (SP1).
The issues the update resolves are the following:
- The SQL Update part of the Cumulative Update 3 installation fails when the date format on the instance of Microsoft SQL Server is defined in the DD/MM/YYYY format.
- The All Windows RT and All Windows RT 8.1 Preview entries should not appear in the supported platform list for new configuration items.
- Task sequences that contain Windows 8.1 as a condition on the Options tab generate an exception when they are changed or accessed.
Full details and download information can be found here.
A few days ago Microsoft has released Cumulative Update 1 for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1. Next to fixing a series of issues this Cumulative Update also introduces some new Powershell functionality.
Full details and the download link are available here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2817245/en-us .
Last week Microsoft has released Cumulative Update 2 (CU2) for Configuration Manager (Article ID: 2780664).
The download link, and full details on the issues that were fixed are available here.
This release replaces the previously released Cumulative Update 1 with article ID 2717295. All the fixes in the update 2717295 are replaced by this update..
Until next time!
ConfigMgr 2012 Prereq Checker warning: Verify site server permissions to publish to Active Directory
During installation of Configuration Manager 2012 RC2 the prerequisite checker lists a warning for the prerequisite: Verify site server permissions to publish to Active Directory although the required permissions are in place.
As the environment might expand and more site servers could be implemented it was opted to grant the permissions using a domain local security group which has the site server computer account added as a member.
First check was to verify if the required permissions on the System Management container are implemented for the group. Additionally it was confirmed the site server computer object was added as a member. When running the prerequisite checker it still shows the warning even though permissions are in place.
In a second scenario permissions were implemented on the System Management container using the computer object instead of using groups. When re-running the prerequisite checker it did no longer show the warning and passed the check.
According to feedback received this is behaviour as expected.
This was logged earlier as a bug for the RC1 release of Configuration Manager 2012. The bug report mentioned this would be fixed as of build 7688. Apparently at that point the fix was to reword the explanation offered by the prerequisite checker as opposed to implementing a fix that would have to create a dummy object in AD to test actual permissions.
Bottom line: the warning message can safely be ignored as long as the permissions for the group containing the site server(s) are correctly implemented.
After being absent for a few of the previous CEP sessions I was happy to be able to attend the PCM and P2V Toolkit session yesterday. Below are some key takeaways from this session. This was the last session for this year, next one is scheduled for January 11th 2012.
Package Conversion Manager (PCM)
PCM is a feature pack for Configuration Manager 2012 which will allow you to prepare and move your packages towards the new app model.
A best practice approach to convert packages would be:
- Migrate Objects
- Create apps in a lab environment
- Test apps in a lab environment
- Export and import
The package migration options from 2007 to 2012 are:
- Do nothing and leave the package and program
- Convert Manually
- Convert using PCM
Selecting conversion candidates:
- Good : App-v, MSI and Executable files (user facing applications)
- Bad: System maintenance tools (defrag, etc …) and end of life applications
Understanding PCM manual vs automatic conversion rules:
- Package contains only 1 MSI
- No unconverted dependencies exist
- Content is accessible
- Must have content
- Is a software distribution package
- Contains at least one program
- Using the conversion dashboard
- Advanced troubleshooting: using the pcmtrace log in the %temp% folder
PCM is scheduled to be released at the same time as Configuration Manager 2012.
Configuration Manager P2V Migration Toolkit
A utility to help migration to Configuration Manager 2012 in specific scenarios, for example a remote site server migration where the goal is to re-use existing server hardware.
How can the P2V toolkit help:
- Eliminates the need of parallel physical servers at remote sites
- Repurpose existing site server into a virtual instance
- Hosting ConfigMgr 2007 AND ConfigMgr 2012 on the same physical machine using virtualization
- Simplifies and automates creation of a virtualization task sequence
- Simple and intuitive interface to create and deploy the task sequence
- All virtualization tasks sequence steps are built-in
- Limited input needed by remote site administrators
- Task Sequence with stand alone media (fully automates the end-to-end process)
- Bootable media only
Offcourse the hardware should meet the necessary prerequisites for virtualization and Hyper-V.
The P2V toolkit will ship at the same time of Configuration Manager 2012 RTM as a separate tool.
The release candicate is already available via Connect.
Recently I have ran into an issue at a customer site where software update lists did not properly replicate down to child primary sites. Some of the latest update lists were either incomplete or not visible at all. As a result the customer could not properly advertise the latest software updates.
Initial investigation of the problem shows that the objmgr.box\INCOMING\ and objmgr.box\INCOMING\Retry folders on the child sites contained a lot of unprocessed CID and SDM files. Looking further into the objreplmgr.log errors like to one below are logged:
Processing replication file C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\inboxes\objmgr.box\INCOMING\Retry\S00_73333.SDM in retry.
Successfully processed Object ScopeId_43C9B1DB-9FC7-4363-8027-36D0C5C24148/AuthList_14C762F6-811D-473F-941F-58B126C93CEF.3
SDM Package ScopeId_43C9B1DB-9FC7-4363-8027-36D0C5C24148/AuthList_14C762F6-811D-473F-941F-58B126C93CEF.3 does not exist in the DB, will insert it with the IsDeleted Flag Set.
SQL MESSAGE: sp_SetupSDMPackage – SDMPackage refers another SDMPackage that is not available yet
sp_SetupSDMPackage returns an error 2
Referenced SDMPackages are not available yet: http://schemas.microsoft.com/systemsmanagementserver/Site_43C9B1DB-9FC7-4363-8027-36D0C5C24148/SUM_cee535ab-0ae5-44e7-8fdf-0f698b27e6f9/1(0);
Failed to Delete Object ScopeId_43C9B1DB-9FC7-4363-8027-36D0C5C24148/AuthList_14C762F6-811D-473F-941F-58B126C93CEF.3. Will add the Replication File C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\inboxes\objmgr.box\INCOMING\Retry\S00_73333.SDM to the Replication File Retry Queue.
Similar errors exists when the site is processing .CID files.
Interdependencies exists between the different items used for software updates. If the referenced objects are not available the new file will not be correctly processed. It seems that for this particular child site a hickup occured in the replication and the information on the child site is incomplete.
To resolve the issue I ran through the following steps:
1. Stop the SMSEXEC and SMS COMPONENT MANAGER services. This will bring all activity on the site to a standstill.
2. Rename the INCOMING folder to INCOMING_old and recreate an new empty folder structure (so INCOMING and all retry/bad subfolders).
This way we can monitor which files are replicating down and if they are properly being processed, and also see what is being moved into the retry and bad folders.
3. Run the following query on the child site database: Delete from CI_ConfigurationItems Where CIType_ID in (1, 6, 8);
Note that the ID’s may be different for each site. Run the query Select * from CI_Types to get the proper list.
We need to delete the following types: SoftwareUpdate, SoftwareUpdateBundle and AuthorizationList
4. Then run this query: Update CI_SDMPackages set IsDeleted = 1 where SourceSite = ‘XXX’;
Make sure to replace the XXX with the site code of the central site in the hierarchy.
5. And execute the following: Exec sp_DeleteOldSDMPackageData 0;
6. As a final step force a full replication by dropping a XXX.SHA file in the objmgr.box folder on the central site
Here XXX is to be replaced with the site code of the child site.
7. Restart the services stopped in the first step to bring the site back in operational mode.
Shortly after these steps you should see files appearing in the objmgr.box\INCOMING\ folder on the child site again. You can also see if they are being processed in the objreplmgr.log file. Do not be alarmed if initially some files are put in the retry folder again. They will eventually be processed when all dependencies are in place. A full replication can be time consuming: in my case it took over 12 hours for the procedure to complete. Eventually the end result was that the Update Lists showed up completely again.
Note: the above procedure includes making direct changes to the backend database. If you have a support contract I would highly recommend to involve a Microsoft Support representative to ensure you infrastructure remains supported.