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Planning for Boundaries and Boundary Groups in Configuration Manager

Updated: March 1, 2013

Applies To: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

In System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, a boundary is a network location on the intranet that can contain one or more devices that you want to manage. Boundaries can be an IP subnet, Active Directory site name, IPv6 Prefix, or an IP address range, and the hierarchy can include any combination of these boundary types. To use a boundary, you must add the boundary to one or more boundary groups. Boundary groups are collections of boundaries. By using boundary groups, clients on the intranet can find an assigned site and locate content when they have to install software, such as applications, software updates, and operating system images.

When clients are on the Internet, or they are configured as Internet-only clients, they do not use boundary information. These clients cannot use automatic site assignment and always download content from any distribution point in their assigned site when the distribution point is configured to allow client connections from the Internet.

Use the following sections in this topic to help you plan how to manage boundaries in your Configuration Manager hierarchy:

noteNote
The information in this section also appears in the Getting Started with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following items are new or have changed for boundaries since Configuration Manager 2007:

  • Boundaries are no longer site specific, but defined once for the hierarchy, and they are available at all sites in the hierarchy.

  • Each boundary must be a member of a boundary group before a device on that boundary can identify an assigned site, or a content server such as a distribution point.

  • You no longer configure the network connection speed of each boundary. Instead, in a boundary group you specify the network connection speed for each site system server associated to the boundary group as a content location server.

Each boundary represents a network location in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, and it is available from every site in your hierarchy. A boundary does not enable you to manage clients at the network location. To manage a client, the boundary must be a member of a boundary group.

Configuration Manager does not support the direct entry of a supernet as a boundary. Instead, use the IP address range boundary type. When Active Directory Forest Discovery identifies a supernet that is assigned to an Active Directory site, Configuration Manager converts the supernet into an IP address range boundary. For more information about Active Directory Forest Discovery, see the About Active Directory Forest Discovery section in the Planning for Discovery in Configuration Manager topic.

Use boundary groups to manage your network locations. You must assign boundaries to boundary groups before you can use the boundary group. Boundary groups have the following functions:

  • They enable clients to find a primary site for client assignment (automatic site assignment).

  • They can provide clients with a list of available site systems that have content after you associate the distribution point and state migration point site system servers with the boundary group.

To support site assignment, you must configure the boundary group to specify an assigned site for clients to use during automatic site assignment. To support content location, you must specify one or more site systems. You can only specify site systems with the distribution point or state migration point site system role. Both the site assignment and content location configurations are optional for boundary groups.

When you plan for boundary groups, consider creating one set of boundary groups for content location and a second set of boundary groups for automatic site assignment. This separation can help you avoid overlapping boundaries for site assignment. When you have overlapping boundaries and use automatic site assignment, the site to which a client is assigned, might be unpredictable.

The following sections contain information to consider when you configure boundary groups.

You can configure each boundary group with an assigned site for clients. Clients join the assigned site of a boundary group that contains the client’s current network location. When a boundary is added to multiple boundary groups that have different assigned sites, clients will nondeterministically select one of the sites. System Center 2012 Configuration Manager does not support this overlapping boundary configuration for site assignment.

If you make a change to the site assignment configuration of a boundary group, only new site assignment actions are affected. Clients that have previously been assigned to a site, do not re-evaluate their site assignment based on changes to the configuration of a boundary group.

For more information about client site assignment, see How to Assign Clients to a Site in Configuration Manager.

You can associate one or more distribution points and one or more state migration points with each boundary group. You can also associate a distribution point or state migration point with multiple boundary groups.

During software distribution, clients request a location for deployment content. Configuration Manager sends the client a list of distribution points that are associated with each boundary group that includes the current network location of the client.

During operating system deployment, clients request a location to send or receive their state migration information. Configuration Manager sends the client a list of state migration points that are associated with each boundary group that includes the current network location of the client.

This behavior enables the client to select the nearest server from which to transfer the content or state migration information.

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager supports overlapping boundary configurations for content location.

When a client requests content, and the client network location belongs to multiple boundary groups, Configuration Manager sends the client a list of all distribution points that have the content.

When a client requests a server to send or receive its state migration information, and the client network location belongs to multiple boundary groups, Configuration Manager sends the client a list of all state migration points that are associated with a boundary group that includes the current network location of the client.

This behavior enables the client to select the nearest server from which to transfer the content or state migration information.

You can configure the network connection speed of each distribution point in a boundary group. Clients use this value when they connect to the distribution point. By default, the network connection speed is configured as Fast, but it can also be configured as Slow. The network connection speed and the deployment configuration determine whether a client can download content from a distribution point when the client is in an associated boundary group.

Use the following best practices information to help you use boundaries in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.

When designing your boundary strategy, we recommend you use boundaries that are based on Active Directory sites before using other boundary types. Where boundaries based on Active Directory sites are not an option, then use IP subnet or IPv6 boundaries. If none of these options are available to you, then leverage IP address range boundaries. This is because the site evaluates boundary members periodically, and the query required to assess members of an IP address range requires a substantially larger use of SQL Server resources than queries that assess members of other boundary types.

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for Configuration Manager.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. For instructions and examples, see Search the Configuration Manager Documentation Library.
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