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Example Scenarios for Planning a Simplified Hierarchy with Configuration Manager

Updated: January 1, 2013

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

The following scenarios provide examples of how you can implement System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to solve typical business requirements and simplify your overall hierarchy design.

The remote office optimization scenario demonstrates an implementation of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager that reduces the administrative overhead required for managing information flow across the network.

The customer has a simple Configuration Manager 2007 hierarchy of one primary site with two secondary sites that include a warehouse and a remote district office location. The customer has 5,015 clients across four locations as shown in the following table.

 

Location Site type Deployment details Connection to headquarters

Headquarters

Primary

  • 3,000 clients

  • Two standard distribution points, one management point, and one software update point

Not Applicable

Warehouse

Secondary

  • 500 clients

  • One standard distribution point

Slow Network

District Office

Secondary

  • 1,500 clients

  • One standard distribution point, one proxy management point, and one software update point

Slow Network

Sales Office

None

  • 15 clients

  • Use of Windows BranchCache

Well Connected

The System Center 2012 Configuration Manager hierarchy must support the following business requirements:

 

Business requirement Configuration Manager Information

The data transferred over the network must not use excessive bandwidth.

Slow network connections must support bandwidth control.

Minimize the number of servers used.

Install the minimum number of site system servers possible.

Produce reports that provide current information about devices.

Clients must regularly submit their hardware inventory data, status messages, and discovery information.

Deploy applications, software updates, and operating system deployments on a daily basis.

Content must be available to clients, including large packages for operating system images.

Design of the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager hierarchy includes the following planning considerations:

 

Challenges Options and considerations

The transfer of deployment content from the primary site to remote locations represents the largest effect to the network and must be managed.

Content transmission to remote locations can be managed by:

  • Distribution points enabled for bandwidth control

  • Prestage for distribution points

  • Windows BranchCache

  • A local site to manage the network bandwidth used during site-to-site transfers

The flow of client information from large numbers of clients can slow down network.

Each remote location must be evaluated for network capacity, balancing the client settings, the number of clients at the location, and the available network bandwidth. Options include the following:

  • A local primary or secondary site to manage the network bandwidth during site-to-site transfers.

  • No site at the location allowing clients to transfer their data unmanaged across the network to an assigned primary site.

After evaluation of requirements and options, client locations, and available network bandwidth, the following decisions are made:

 

Decision Details

A stand-alone primary site is deployed at the Headquarters location.

A System Center 2012 Configuration Manager primary site replaces the existing primary site as there are no administrative or content management benefits gained by the use of a central administration site for this environment.

  • A primary site can support up to 100,000 clients.

  • There is no planned expansion that could require additional primary sites to manage large numbers of clients across slow network connections.

A distribution point enabled for bandwidth control is deployed to the warehouse location.

The effect of client information flowing up from the warehouse location will not overwhelm the available network bandwidth. In place of a secondary site, the location’s needs can be met by the use of a distribution point enabled for bandwidth control deployed from the primary site to manage the downward flow of deployment content. This decision does not reduce the number of servers in use but does remove the requirement to manage an additional site.

  • The current client activity is not sufficient to require management of upward-flowing client data.

  • Only downward-flowing content requires management to avoid effect to the slow network connection.

  • In the future, the distribution point can be replaced by a secondary site that can manage network traffic in both directions if it is needed.

A secondary site is deployed to the District Office Location.

After evaluation of the effect from the local clients, it is decided that a secondary site with the same configuration previously used will be required.

  • 1,500 clients generate enough client information to exceed the available network connection to the primary site.

  • A primary site is not required as there is no administrative benefit to be provided by a primary site, and the hierarchy’s combined client total is easily handled by the primary site at the Headquarters location.

The use of Windows BranchCache is maintained at the Sales Office location.

Because this location services only 15 clients and has a fast network connection to the Headquarters location, the current use of Windows BranchCache as a content deployment solution remains the best option.

By using a single distribution point that is enabled for bandwidth control to replace a secondary site and its distribution point, the customer meets the business requirement for managing content across slow networks. Additionally, this change decreases the administrative workload and the time it takes for the site to receive client information.

The infrastructure reduction and client settings scenario demonstrates an implementation of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager that reduces infrastructure in use while continuing to manage clients with customized client settings.

In this example, a company manages 25,000 clients across two physical locations by using a single Configuration Manager 2007 hierarchy that consists of one central site and three primary child sites. The central site and one primary site are located in Chicago, and two primary sites are located in London. The primary sites at each geographic location reside on the same physical network and have well-connected network links. However, there is limited bandwidth between Chicago and London.

Current deployment details:

 

Location Type of site Deployment details

Chicago Headquarters

Primary – central site

19,200 clients that are configured for the company’s standard configuration for client agent settings.

Chicago Headquarters

Primary – child of central

300 clients on computers used by people in the Human Resources division. The site is configured for a custom remote control client agent setting.

London Offices

Primary – child of central

5,000 desktop clients that are configured for the company’s standard configuration of client agent settings.

London Offices

Primary – child of central

500 server clients that are configured for a custom hardware inventory client agent setting.

The Configuration Manager hierarchy must meet the following business requirements:

 

Business requirements Configuration Manager information

Maintain centralized management of the hierarchy in Chicago.

Central administration from Chicago requires that content and client information is sent over the network for the 5,500 clients in London.

Assign a standard client configuration to all clients unless specific business requirements dictate otherwise.

The standard configuration for client settings must be available for all clients.

Employees in the human resource division must not have the Remote Control client agent enabled on their computers.

These custom client settings must be assigned to the computers that are used by the employees in the human resource division.

Servers that are located in London must run hardware inventory no more than once a month.

These custom client settings must be assigned to the clients on servers in London.

Control the network bandwidth when transferring data between Chicago and London.

The slow network connection requires bandwidth control.

Minimize the number of servers.

Avoid installing site system servers where possible to reduce administrative tasks and infrastructure costs.

The System Center 2012 Configuration Manager hierarchy design includes the following planning considerations:

 

Challenges Options and considerations

Central administration in Chicago.

Options for this requirement include the following:

  • Deploy a stand-alone primary site in Chicago to manage clients at both network locations:

    • The amount of client information from London that must be transferred over the slow network must be carefully assessed.

  • Deploy a primary site at each location, and a central administration site in Chicago:

    • Central administration sites cannot have clients assigned to them.

    • Central administration sites are required if there are two or more primary sites in the hierarchy.

The transfer of content from Chicago to London will consume a lot of network bandwidth and this data transfer must be controlled.

The transfer of content down the hierarchy can be managed by the following methods:

  • Distribution points that are enabled for bandwidth control.

  • Windows BranchCache.

  • A London site that is configured to manage the network bandwidth for site-to-site transfers.

The requirement to manage the network bandwidth when client information is sent from London.

Assess the London location for the available network bandwidth and how this will be reduced by the data that is generated by the 5,500 clients. Options include the following:

  • Allow clients to transfer their data unmanaged across the network to an assigned primary site at Chicago.

  • Deploy a secondary site or primary site in London to manage the network bandwidth during site-to-site transfers to Chicago.

A standard set of client settings must be available at all locations.

A default set of Client Agent Settings are specified for the hierarchy.

Two groups that contain employees from Human Resources and servers in London, require client settings that are different than the standard configuration.

Collections are used to assign custom client settings.

After an evaluation of the business requirements, the network structure, and the requirements for client settings, a central administration site is deployed in Chicago with one child primary site in Chicago and one child primary site in London. The following table explains these design choices.

 

Decision Details

A central administration site is deployed in Chicago.

  • This meets the centralized administration requirement by providing a centralized location for reporting and hierarchy-wide configurations.

  • Because the central administration site has access to all client and site data in the hierarchy and is a direct parent of both primary sites, it is ideally located to host the content for all locations.

One primary site is required in Chicago.

  • A primary site is required to manage clients at the Chicago location because the central administration site cannot have clients assigned to it.

  • A local primary site is required to locally manage the 14,800 clients.

  • Sites in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager are not used to configure client settings, which allows all clients at a location to be assigned to the same site.

One primary site is deployed in London.

  • Site to site address configurations can control the network bandwidth when transferring content from the central administration site in Chicago.

  • Sites in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager are not used to configure client settings, which allows all clients at a location to be assigned to the same site.

  • A local primary site is deployed to manage the 5,500 local clients so that the clients do not send their information and client policy requests across the network to Chicago. A primary site ensures that future growth in London can be managed with the hierarchy design they implement today.

    noteNote
    The decision to deploy a primary site or secondary site can include consideration of the following:

    • Assessing the available hardware for a site server

    • The current number of clients at a location

    • Expectations for additional clients in the future

    • Political reasons

    • Local point of administrative contact

A standard configuration for client settings is applied to each client in the hierarchy.

  • Default Client Agent Settings are configured and applied to every client in the hierarchy, which results in a consistent configuration for every client.

A collection is created to contain the user accounts for the employees that work in the Human Resource division. This collection is configured to update regularly so that new accounts can be added to the collection soon after they are created.

  • This collection is configured with custom client settings that disable Remote Control. These settings modify the hierarchy-wide defaults and provide the collection members with the customized client settings that are required for Human Resource employees.

  • Because this collection is dynamically updated, new employees in Human Resources automatically receive the customized client settings.

  • Because collections are shared with all sites, these customizations are applied to Human Resource employees at any location in the hierarchy without having to consider which site their computer is assigned to.

A collection is configured to contain the servers located in London.

  • This collection is configured with custom client settings, so that the servers are configured with custom settings for hardware inventory.

By using custom client settings in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, the business requirements are met as follows:

  • The infrastructure requirements are reduced by removing sites that were used only to provide custom client settings to subsets of clients.

  • Administration is simplified because the central administration site applies a standard configuration for client settings to all clients in the hierarchy.

  • Two collections of clients are configured for the required customized client settings.

  • Network bandwidth is controlled when transferring data between Chicago and London.

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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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