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Posts Tagged ‘Tools’

Week in Review – CW20

May 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Weekend again – and a few blips on the radar that I wanted to read up upon:

And off course there was TechEd NA – instead of individually listing up everything that caught my attention here are some quick tips:

See you next week!

Tim

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ConfigMgr Toolkit 2012 R2–Collection Evaluation Viewer

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Tim

ConfigMgr Toolkit 2012 R2 – DP Job Queue Manager

March 24, 2014 Leave a comment

One of the new server tools in the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Toolkit is the Distribution Point Job Queue Manager (DpJobMgr.exe). This tool helps the Configuration Manager administrator in managing, monitoring and troubleshooting content distribution throughout his environment.

Lets have a closer look at the tool and how it can be used.

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On the connect tab the Primary Site Server name needs to be specified before clicking on Connect. Connection status and results are shown in the bottom left corner. Make sure the connection is successful before moving on.

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The overview tab shows a list of all Distribution Points within our lab environment. Note that the locally installed Distribution Point on the site server is not displayed and also not taken into account in the Total Distribution Points count.

You can opt to manually refresh the list if you are in the process of doing content deployments. Alternatively the tool can auto-refresh the list based on a set interval. Note that the default interval is 2 minutes. You cannot set a value lower than those 2 minutes.

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The Distribution Point info tab displays details about the ongoing content transfers. Once the transfer is completed, the entry for that content is removed from the list. The progress column seems to be updated at a slow pace and as a result I found that smaller content was distributed even before any percentage was ever displayed.

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Managing jobs is done from the next tab. Here you can change priorities in the queue and also cancel any distribution jobs that are ongoing.

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The last tab is the help tab. This tab is purely informational and displays some general help information.

Now in a lab off course the amount of content to be distributed and DP’s to be targeted is very low. In large enterprise environments where there is much content and many Distribution Points to be targeted I believe this will be a very helpful utility.

Important: this tool only works with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and is not compatible with previous versions. On an SP1 site for example we were able to connect to the site but while retrieving data the tools throws multiple errors like the one displayed below:

DPQueueMgr_SP1_Error

 

Until next time!

Tim

Configuration Manager Support Center – a first look

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

A few days ago Microsoft has released a new tool called the SC2012 Configuration Manager Support Center. This post describes the installation steps and some findings and experiences while test driving this new tool in a lab environment.

Installation

Before beginning the installation make sure the .Net Framework 4.5 has been installed. You can download it here.

After extracting the content we downloaded from Microsoft Connect there are 3 files:

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There are a few known issues with the current beta release, so I recommend reading the releases notes first to learn about them. Run the cmsupportcenter.msi with administrative permissions and walk through the installation wizard as follows:

  1. Click Next on the welcome screen.
  2. Accept the License Agreement and click Next.
  3. Choose a Setup Type, I opted for the Typical setup.
  4. Click Install to start the installation.
  5. Click Finish when the installation is complete.

Upon successful installation the following items are listed in the start menu:

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Support Center Features

This is what Support Center looks like when launching it:

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Notice that we are connected to the local host. Through the menu options there is also the possibility to connect to a remote machine. You will need to specify the hostname of the machine and optionally also any required credentials.

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Now lets walk through all the available tabs.

First tab is the data collection tab. When clicking the start collection button the tool starts gathering information from the client system. The data gathering process only takes about a minute to complete. At that point you will be prompted to save the data (in a .zip file).

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We can use the second utility Support Center Viewer to analyze the zip file. More information on this later in this post.

Second tab in the Client Details tab. The only option available here is to load or refresh the data. This tab just gives an overview of some basic client information:

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The third tab is the Client Policy tab. Here you have the options to load the local client policy, request and/or evaluate the policy and the capability to listen for policy events. If you enable the listener you can flip open the bottom pane for more details.

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The fourth tab is related to Content on the client. Similar to the policies we also have the option to load or refresh the data. This tab gives us details about what has been deployed to the client. In the example below we see detailed information on one of our lab applications.

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Next tab we can explore is the Troubleshooting tab. Upon clicking the Start Troubleshooting button a series of tests is conducted.

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Once the tests are complete you can individually select each one and click the view log button to see more detailed information about the test. The example below is taken from the step that verifies Client Registration.

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The last tab is the troubleshooting tab. Here we can open log files for further analysis. The functionality here seems similar to the CMTrace utility. There are search and filter options and also highlighting of specific entries.

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The tool also includes the capability to modify the client logging configuration and to open groups of log files related to a specific troubleshooting area.  There are 3 groups: Application Management, Client Registration and Policy.

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Support Center Viewer

Using the Support Center Viewer utility we can analyze the results from the data collection we did earlier. When launching the utility it will immediately show a dialog box to browse to the .zip file saved earlier. It shows detailed information on the Client Configuration and the System and allows further analysis of the logs files that were retrieved.

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That concludes the first test drive of this new utility in our lab. Although I only had a chance to look at all the features at a glance I am sure this will be a helpful utility during future troubleshooting.

Until next time!

Tim

Configuration Manager Support Center Released

February 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Yesterday Microsoft has released a new tool called the SC 2012 Configuration Manager Support Center. What the tool can be used for is described as follows:

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Support Center helps you to gather information about System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients so that you can more easily address issues with those clients when working with product support specialists. Configuration Manager Support Center includes a tool that gathers a bundle of log files, and also a tool that is used by product support specialists to examine log files and other client data for in-depth analysis of issues with Configuration Manager clients.

Click here to download the tool on Microsoft connect. You will need to join the Configuration Manager open beta program first before you can access the page.