Updated: May 14, 2015
Applies To: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1
You can install Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager by using many different design configurations that range from a single site to multiple sites that span diverse geographical network locations. Even single site designs often use multiple Windows servers to provide services to users and devices on your network.
When you install multiple System Center 2012 Configuration Manager sites, they form a hierarchy of sites that share information by using a distributed database. Sites communicate with each other and share information by using database replication that is based on SQL Server replication and file-based transfers. Sites in a hierarchy use parent-child relationships to define communication paths.
Because the data that is transferred between computers within a site and between different Configuration Manager sites can significantly affect the efficiency of your network, plan your site or hierarchy before you install any Configuration Manager site.
Use the following topics to help you plan for sites and hierarchies by gathering the information that you will need to plan the design of your System Center 2012 Configuration Manager deployment to best meet your business requirements and make efficient use of your network infrastructure.