Parent-Child Site Relationships and the SMS Hierarchy
After you install your first SMS primary site, you can add sites above and beneath it. When you attach a secondary or primary site to another primary site, you create a parent-child relationship. Both primary and secondary sites report to primary sites. By attaching one site to another, you create an SMS hierarchy.
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A parent site is a primary site that has at least one site attached to it in the hierarchy. Only a primary site can have child sites. A secondary site can only be a child site. A parent site contains pertinent information about its lower level sites, such as computer inventory data and SMS system status information, and controls many operations at the child sites.
A child site is a site that is attached to a site above it in the hierarchy. The site it reports to is its parent site. SMS copies all the data that is collected at a child site to its parent site. A child site is either a primary site or a secondary site.
The central site is the primary site at the top of the SMS hierarchy. It is not a child to any other site. The SMS site database at the central site acquires aggregate inventory and software metering data from the SMS hierarchy and collects details about any collections, packages, or advertisements created at the central site. At the central site, you can view and manage all sites and computers in the SMS hierarchy.
Typically, the central site is located at the logical center of IT administration for your organization.
Sites are organized into a hierarchy by setting up parent-child relationships between the sites, as illustrated in Figure 2.2. When attaching sites, you specify one site as the parent site and one site as the child site.
Figure 2.2 Parent-child site relationship in an SMS hierarchy
Hierarchy Tiers and Hierarchy Branches
After you install your first SMS site, you build your SMS hierarchy from that site. Each horizontal layer of SMS sites is a tier. Sites on the same hierarchy tier that are child sites to the same parent site are called sibling sites. Sibling sites always share the same tier.
A group of SMS sites that are interconnected vertically in the hierarchy, with all sites in the group reporting up to one primary site, is a hierarchy branch. Sibling sites are included in the same hierarchy branch.
All of the sites above a child site in the same hierarchy branch are referred to as its higher level sites. Sites beneath a parent site in the same hierarchy branch are referred to as its lower level sites. Lower level sites always report inventory information up the hierarchy, all the way to the central site. For more information, see the "Building the SMS Hierarchy" section later in this chapter.
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