Monday, January 31, 2005

Getting Start with Microsoft SMS 2003

Here is a summary of steps involved to get started on Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003.

Watch these essential webcasts
Procedure to install SMS 2003
  • Install SQL 2000 and patched.
  • Install SMS 2003 and apply SP1.
  • Install BITS support on IIS.
  • Install WebDAV on IIS.
  • Install SSL Certificate on IIS (if you want https in reporting).
  • Configure Site Settings (Site Boundary/ Roaming Boundary, Publish to AD, etc).
  • Configure Site Systems (Management Point, Reporting Point, etc).
  • Configure Client Agents (Hardware Inventory, Software, etc, polling schedule).
  • Configure Client Installation Methods (Software Distribution Account, SMSSITECODE).
  • Configure Component Configuration (Software Distribution Account).
  • Configure Discovery Methods (Active Directory, etc).
  • Grant permissions for others to access the SMS server.
  • In Collections (after AD Discovery complete), refresh on All Systems. Install SMS clients (push installation) selectively.
  • In Software Updates, download and Install Inventory Scanning Programs.
Procedure to deploy package
  • Build Query (to select machine eligible for package deployment).
  • Define Collection based on Query.
  • Build Package.
  • Build Advertisement (Schedule, Target Collection).
  • Wait for machine's regular advertised program polling cycle, or go to client machine (Control Panel, System Management) to initial machine policy refresh. Then, the package will be deployed.
Procedure to deploy patches
  • Run report "Software updates with count of applicable and installed computers".
  • Based on the missing updates reported, go to Software Updates, Distribute Software Updates.
  • Build Package (one package contains all necessary patches).
  • Specify parameters (/z /Q or other options) for each patch included the package.
  • Specify the rest of the package option (Postpone reboot, allow users to defer, etc).
  • This process will automatically create the advertisement.
Procedure to deploy custom package
  • Create Package.
  • In Package | create Program, and define program install command there.
  • In Package | Distribution Point, associate the package with a distribution point.
  • Create Collection (optional).
  • Create Advertisement.
  • A Collection contains a set of machines. It can be generated based on the result of a Query. (Note: a Query can run based on a Collection. This is used to limit the scope on which the query command is run against.).
  • A Package can contain a software, a service pack, or multiple patches. It basically just points to the source folder that contains all the executables, config, etc required.
  • Inside a package, you can define more than one programs. A program is for you to define what the executable is and the corresponding command line options.
  • e.g. A package for Sun Java 1.4.2_07 can have two programs, one to define how to install sun java, and one for uninstalling it.
  • An Advertisement associates a Program (inside a Package) to a Collection with a deployment schedule.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

SMS 2003 Installation Experience

It took me a day just to simply install Microsoft SMS 2003.

First, it was the database cluster issue. One of the SMS 2003 webcasts said it did not support SQL DB cluster. I could not believe it. I thought how could it know... as long as it supports the database on a different server (which it does). But the webcast is right. The problem is that it cannot talk to a SQL cluster named instance. The installation only allows me to enter a 15 character remote SQL server name (obviously, it is a netbios name). There is simply no where I can specify a particular named instance. So, my choice is to install a standalone SQL 2000 server onto my SMS server.

Then it was the SQL 2000 and CA issue. It just happens that my SMS-server-to-be is also our private Root Certificate Authority server. It's our utility/ support server, of course. But SQL 2000 (before SP1) does not support installing onto such an environment (KB 302409 refers). The problem is fixed in SQL 2000 SP1, but I need to find a way to slip-stream the latest SQL service pack onto a SQL server installation package in order to proceed.