Patch Management Integration with Service Manager & ConfigMgr

Back in November I presented a session on automation at MMS 2015 with Natascia Heil. The session was “Real world Automation with Service Manager and Azure Automation”.

As a part of this session Natascia Heil demo’d how to patch servers in SCCM via Service Manager! Essentially she was able to create a change request in Service Manager pulling in a software update and device collection into the change request and then Orchestrator talked to SCCM to apply the patch to the server.

This is awesome because it brings ITIL into the patching process and gives you a way to document applied patches and who applied the patch.

As a follow up to our session she has published a step by step post on the solution from the demo, the files used in the demo, and a complete video demoing the solution. This is another example of great community involvement in the System Center space as well as the kind of content you will see at MMS. Thanks Natascia for sharing this with the community.

Watch the video here:

Visit her blog post here:
https://systemcentertipps.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/orchestrator-2012-start-server-patching-from-service-manager/

Download the solution files here:
https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Patch-servers-with-SCSM-20ff1c66?tduid=%281b41a0287eb092bdef4fbcdd40d042b0%29%28256380%29%282459594%29%28TnL5HPStwNw-P.Z5y4TYC73yMs5ovpkyAA%29%28%29

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System Center 2012 R2 UR7 Highlights

Its been a while since I have posted a new blog. I have been busy working on multiple System Center projects and other behind the scene activities. Today update rollup 7 for System Center 2012 R2 was released and this is definitely worth a post. This UR includes DPM, SCSM, SPF, VMM, , SCORCH, Azure Pack, but not Operations Manager. UR7 for Operations Manager will be coming within a few weeks. More info here.  It is interesting that SCOM is not in this UR and we actually see SCORCH included. Here are some highlights from UR7:

For Orchestrator The Monitor SNMP Trap activity has an issue fixed and there is a fix for Stop Job and Stop Runbook. The SCORCH UR also includes some fixes for SMA.

For Service Manager we see a bunch of fixes. Some fixes I want to call out are MPSync Data Warehouse job stop responding and the Get-SCDWInfraLocations cmdlet introduced in update rollup 5 have been fixed. Great work from the Service Manager team. Keep it up.

Beyond just fixes we see new features in two of the System Center components VMM and DPM. As always its exciting to see new features added via UR’s.

In VMM we see support for Windows 10, the ability to provision and customize Debian 8 Linux as a Guest Operating System, support for VMWare vCenter 5.5, the ability to have Multiple External IP Addresses per Virtual Network, the ability to re-associate orphaned virtual machines to their service or VM role, and support for VMM DHCP Extension PXE/TFP Forwarding. There also is a ton of great fixes for issues in VMM. This is great work from the team and should make VMM more stable.

In DPM we see support for Windows 10 client protection, and a really cool feature being the ability to use alternate DPM servers to recover backups from Azure Backup vault. These means if you sent your backup data to Azure from one DPM server and it croaks you can connect a different DPM server to your Azure Backup subscription and recover data from Azure! I have a feeling we will continue to see greater collaboration between on premise backup/DR (DPM) and cloud backup/DR Azure Backup in the future.

To access update rollup 7 visit this link: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3069110

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System Center Futures 2016 and Beyond

UPDATE 9-4-2015:

***There is an upcoming FREE event covering the Future of System Center. This will be held on Sep 25, 2015 at the Microsoft MTC in Minnesota (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/mtc/locations/minneapolis.aspx). This is a must attend event for any company running System Center. For more info on this event visit: http://bit.ly/1JIHS48***

Last week I was able to attend the first ever Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago. There was a lot of exciting news announced at this conference around the many Microsoft products and technologies. Everything was covered from SharePoint, Exchange, Unified Communications, Office, Windows server, Windows 10, all things Azure and more. This post is focused for any System Center professional that was unable to attend the MS Ignite 2015 conference but what’s to know what’s up with System Center. If you had any concern about System Center going away or just want to know about the future of System Center in general this post is for you.

During conference there were many sessions related to the various System Center components however there were a couple of critical sessions that covered the future of System Center. These are the Platform Vision & Strategy sessions. These are titled:

Windows Server & System Center Futures—Bring Azure to your Datacenter (Platform Vision & Strategy)

And

Platform Vision & Strategy (6 of 7): What’s New in System Center for Management

These sessions are important because they featured System Centers top guy Jeremy Winter and he talked about future direction of the management solutions. In this post I will sum up key information from each of these sessions.

NOTE: This post is my perspective on the Platform Vision & Strategy sessions from Ignite and do not represent the opinions of Microsoft.

Traditionally System Center has been a complete management stack for IT Operations. This is not going to change but will continue to get better. The stack consists of: Managing endpoints (PC’s/Mobile device/servers) – *SCCM/Intune* | Monitor – *SCOM* | Automation – *Orchestrator (SMA)* | Provision – *VMM* | Service Management – *SCSM* | Protection – *Data Protection Manager* | Self-service – *Azure Pack* also represented in the following screenshot from one of the session slides.

clip_image001[4]

So we are now in the year 2015 and have not had a new major version of the entire stack since 2012. However since the release of System Center 2012 we have seen a steady progression of enhancement to the stack. We have seen it move from SP1 to R2 and now updates and new features through update rollups.

These update rollups have been released on a faster cadence at a speed we have not seen from Microsoft before. In fact we have recently seen a round of new features in update rollup 6 and more announced at Ignite. Below is a list of key features that stuck out to me along with slides from one of the Platform Vision & Strategy sessions giving insight into where the System Center components are headed next.

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Integration points for System Center SP1

Microsoft recently update the Integration points for System Center map for Service Pack 1.

The map is a diagram that illustrates the integration points between all the technologies in the System Center stack.

Here is what the map looks like:

image 

This can be downloaded here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36429

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Sponsor: Cireson

I am happy to announce my blogs first sponsor Cireson. Cireson is a solution provider and consultancy around System Center. Some of the solutions they provide are:

  • Asset Management
  • SCSM web console so that you can use SCSM from a browser
  • Outlook calendar sync so that you can automatically add SCSM work items as meeting requests in Outlook
  • Auto Close of incidents, service requests, change requests (This one is free.)

I hope to test ...

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System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Beta

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Beta was announced today. There are some exciting updates to System Center 2012. Here are some of the enhancements I have been waiting for:

Data Protection Manager

  • Improved backup performance of Hyper-V over CSV 2.0
  • Protection for Hyper-V over remote SMB share
  • Protection for Windows Server 2012 de-duplicated volumes
  • Uninterrupted protection for VM live migration
  • Cloud backup to Azure

Configuration...

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Task sequence error– How to copy smsts.log from client

Using SCCM to deploy operating systems to client machines is a cool feature of SCCM. If your operating system deployment fails you may need to get the smsts.log file from the client machine you are trying to image. This will help you troubleshoot why the OSD is failing. I am going to detail this process in this post.

– Error –

During operating system deployment WinPE loads up…formats the hard drive…. then goes to “Apply Operating System” after about a minute, the following error pops up “Task Sequence: Windows 7 Image has failed with the error code (0x80070002). For more information, contact your system administrator or helpdesk operator. The computer will automatically restart in 15 minutes.

– How to get the smsts.log –

  • When the Task Sequence: error code (0x80070002) pops up on the screen press the F8 key on your keyboard to pull up command line.

Run the following set of commands in the command prompt to copy the smsts.log to your SCCM Server.

  • Map a drive from your SCCM server:

net use M: \\SCCMSERVERNAME\C$

You will be prompted for your username and password. Enter them and continue.

  • Change directory to X:\windows\temp using the following syntax:

cd X:\windows\temp

NOTE: The smsts.log file is typically located in X:\windows\temp. If for some reason the log file is not on your system in the temp folder run this syntax to list where the log file is on your system.

dir /s smsts*.log

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