System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Administrator Cookbook

Before few weeks I receive excellent book about System Center Configuration Manager 2012.

Name of the book is: Microsoft System Center 2012Configuration Manager Administrator Cookbook. It’s written by two MVPs, Brian Manson and Greg Ramsey, and reviewed by two another MVPs Torsten Meringer and Kim Oppalfens.

4941EN_Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Administration Cookbook_cov

The more I read, I more understand complexity of System Center Configuration Manager, and tips and tricks about fine tuning. One of basic things is how to deal with SQL server. If you set up your SQL in wrong way, you will face problems lately. SQL can slow your Configuration Manager performance to almost unusable. But in the book you can find advices how to avoid this to happen.

System Center Configuration Manager is probably the most complex and feature rich product in the System Center suite. For managing all features you will need knowledge about IIS, SQL, WSUS, WMI, PXE, SSRS, operating systems and networking (and much more which I forgot probably). So I found this book very usable in every day working with Configuration Manger 2012 (CM12 as called in book).

Microsoft System Center 2012Configuration Manager Administrator Cookbook also can be very good for total beginners (administrators starting with System Center 2012). In book you can find practical advices and solutions how to continue when you are stuck, or how to do something from scratch (and avoid problems).

Generally I’m very satisfy with my copy of Microsoft System Center 2012Configuration Manager Administrator Cookbook, and I’m using it every day on my job. For checking my previous configuration of my System Center 2012 and when I plan to implement new feature to see how to do it.

If you are interested for this book you can find it on Packt publishing or Amazon.com

SQL collation and System Center

What is SQL collation? SQL collation refers to a set of rules that determine how data is sorted and compared. Character data is sorted using rules that define the correct character sequence, with options for specifying case-sensitivity, accent marks, kana character types and character width.

SQL collation knows to be pretty annoying thing, especially if you chose wrong one.

I find out that on hard way. After I was install SCCM 2012 RC and I was try to „upgrade“ to RC2.

Where is the catch? Catch is when you going to install SQL server, by default it picks up collation from regional settings (in my case Croatian). You can change collation during installation but if you are not careful enough you could face with serious problem (like me). Why? Because RC will work fine but upgrade to RTM will be almost impossible.

Here are few pictures how to choose right collation

Collation 1Collation 2Collation 3Collation 4

Microsoft supports upgrade System Center 2012 products from RC to RTM. RTM (or RC2) will asks for SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS collation on your SQL. Now you have problem if you pick wrong collation before or you didn’t pick it at all (you have default created on regional settings bases).

Only way to resolve the problem is to uninstall SQL and install it again with correct collation.

But if you are using existing SQL you need to (can) change collation before installing SCCM 2012.

How can you do that? You can do that using a script: “Setup /QUIET /ACTION=REBUILDDATABASE /INSTANCENAME=
MSSQLSERVER /SQLSYSADMINACCOUNTS=demo\administrator /SAPWD= Pa$$w0rd /SQLCOLLATION=SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS“

Collation 5

You must do that before starting setup SCCM 2012, or setup will fail with error message about wrong collation. If you have right collation, setup will create CM_xxx database (where xxx is site code)

And for last thing, you can’t change collation on existing CM_xxx database. Why? CM_xxx database is really complex, and collation change will fail. Colleague of mine Luka Gros tried but he didn’t make it. He received error every time.

I show this on demo on my presentation on Windays12 and this was one of tricks which I presented for SCCM 2012

Reinstalling WSUS after SCCM installation

If you want to use SCCM 2012 as a software update point (SUP), you will have to install WSUS first.

On Windows Server 2008 R2 installation of WSUS is integrated as a server role. You don’t need to download installer separately.

Catch is that you will need to use SCCM server database. But if you install WSUS first You will probably install its own database.

Correct steps will be:

1. – Install SQL server , and create database for SCCM use

2. – Install WSUS, and point it to SCCM database

3. – Install SCCM

But if you are install your SCCM as I do, then you will have a problem.

My steps was:

1. – install WSUS

2. – Install SQL

3. – Install SCCM

After this my only option was to uninstall WSUS, and install it back again with correct parameters.

Uninstall was completed successfully. But on installation I was faced with error. Error was “the update could not be found there may be a network connection issue”.

This error is caused by setting in GPO of SCCM server. To resolve this You must point to gpedit.msc and then go to Computer Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Windows Update. Put “Automatic Updates” and “Specify Intranet Microsoft update service location” to “not configured”.

Important thing is that you have proxy settings configured in your correctly web browser .

After this I was able to continue with installation without error.

Why is this update option important?

WSUS using Dynamic Installer to download all needed content for installation from Microsoft websites. Wrong thinking is that WSUS binaries is on server or on CD.

Now my WSUS is working fine and I can go further with SCCM 2012