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Enterprise Software Thread, System Center: Where to start? in Technical; Spent the day, again, yesterday getting my head around MS licensing and finally got a couple of PO's fired up ...
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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    System Center: Where to start?

    Spent the day, again, yesterday getting my head around MS licensing and finally got a couple of PO's fired up the chain of command. Just saw this thread this morning: SCCM 2012, SCUP 2011 WSUS and Adobe Flash catalog - and it got me thinking. I know I want/need to get to grips with System Center, and sooner rather than later, but I'm actually completely lost at where the best place to start is?

    Here's what I want to implement:

    Replace our WDS with SCCM, and that thread made me want SCUP as well
    Replace MSI role out with APP-V
    Replace AVG with SC Endpoint
    Replace Yosemite Backup with DPM
    Introduce SCVMM to manage our network.

    We have three host servers currently in the process of being upgraded to Windows 2012 DataCenter and Hyper-V v3. Each server is barely half filed with VM's. So we have plenty of space and licensing. I have a 1 VM : 1 Service policy, so we have nigh on 30 virtual servers now. The way I see it, each of the SC components should have their own virtual server? But, I know that the components are all inter-related - and I assume work together in the SC framework?

    So where to start? How would you implement this set up?

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    How to start? Get the SCCM disks and shred them. It's a lot quicker than trying to set SCCM up and get it working. In fact, erasing the CD literally bit by single bit with a small magnetic needle would be quicker than trying to get SCCM do what it SHOULD do.

    Once you've done that get a proper system or even just install Impero on all your machines and deploy applications that way.

    In all honesty, from our experience SCCM is seriously not worth the hassle. We came from a netware solution which worked virtually flawlessly to an SCCM system which eveyr now and then throws a wobbly and borks the PXE stopping working machines from booting. It takes literally hours to install flash player to a handful of machine (and I am talking single digit number of machines here). If the server goes off, EG power cut (despite UPS) or server maintenance it very rarely starts up correctly and requires "fixing". The process of making and deploying an image is so convoluted it's not even funny anymore. It's reports page, where it tells you what machines are installing etc..., is so useless it's faster and more reliable just to walk around the school and look at the screens. I could go on...

    Seriously, if you have the time, get some demos of other stuff and try them out first.

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    free780's Avatar
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    That's funny we are testing and it seems pretty good apart from the client being a bit slow.

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    alan-d's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowx View Post
    How to start? Get the SCCM disks and shred them. It's a lot quicker than trying to set SCCM up and get it working. In fact, erasing the CD literally bit by single bit with a small magnetic needle would be quicker than trying to get SCCM do what it SHOULD do.

    Once you've done that get a proper system or even just install Impero on all your machines and deploy applications that way.

    In all honesty, from our experience SCCM is seriously not worth the hassle. We came from a netware solution which worked virtually flawlessly to an SCCM system which eveyr now and then throws a wobbly and borks the PXE stopping working machines from booting. It takes literally hours to install flash player to a handful of machine (and I am talking single digit number of machines here). If the server goes off, EG power cut (despite UPS) or server maintenance it very rarely starts up correctly and requires "fixing". The process of making and deploying an image is so convoluted it's not even funny anymore. It's reports page, where it tells you what machines are installing etc..., is so useless it's faster and more reliable just to walk around the school and look at the screens. I could go on...

    Seriously, if you have the time, get some demos of other stuff and try them out first.
    Don't you like it then?


    I started to implement it last year but haven't got around to doing much past installing it. So any positive answers to the OP question would be of interest to me too

  5. Thanks to alan-d from:

    tmcd35 (24th January 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by alan-d View Post
    Don't you like it then?


    I started to implement it last year but haven't got around to doing much past installing it. So any positive answers to the OP question would be of interest to me too
    I use DPM and SCCM 2012 here. I have just started rolling out SCCM 2012 over our existing 2007 install, and got to say that the changes are quite dramatic. Things have got a lot easier and extremely useful in 2012 which I'm sure that a lot SCCM users can back me up.

    Yes, in 2007 things were boring and very difficult to get working, but that's all changed. The only issues I see at the moment from SCCM is SP1. A few bugs being created from it, but tell me a service pack that didn't bring bugs?

    SCCM is a beast, and you.do have to devote some of your life to get it working but well worth it. In terms of comparing to third party products, client cals are free as they are covered by my desktop licensing and server licensig costs £70 a year with SQL. This was for 2007 R3 at the time, I had my renewal yet.

  7. Thanks to deano from:

    alan-d (25th January 2013)

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    When it works its the "DOGS" but when its broken its a "PITA" 3x times its broken in the last year and each time it took days if not weeks to fix. Microsoft update in december last broke it so we started again from scratch.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Start with SCCM. Get your updates working via it, then move on to SCEP. You can shift application installation to it too, and machine imaging.

    Don't know why someone would say use Impero instead - they have nearly no overlap in functionality.

    SCCM is an amazing piece of kit, if you put the effort in and set it up right.

    Note: It takes effort to set up, but once its up, it just runs. And it is a pain to fix when things go wrong, but the logs are endlessly informative.

  10. 4 Thanks to localzuk:

    alan-d (25th January 2013), Gatt (25th January 2013), Roberto (16th May 2013), tmcd35 (25th January 2013)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    How inter-related are the SC products, or is it just a product line with a common marketing name? Would it be best to have one SQL server for all SC products, or give each their own DB? What about control, is there a single System Center management interface/mmc plugin that covers all components or are they each managed separately?

    SCEP's Endpoint, right? I take it the suggestion is set up SCCM first and then use that to role out SCEP to the clients? Can I role out software to machines that have not been imaged by SCCM - I'd assume I could but just wondered if management of a machine was some how related to its imaging?

    I know I'm going to quickly find out a lot of these answers as I start installing the products, but I think a heads up and hearing others experiences is going to help big time. Our fist 2012 host was set up yesterday so I should be able to start building SC VM's by the end of the day - exciting stuff!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Most of it is just a common name. There is some inter-linking, but most of the packages work independently of each other.

    For a school sized system, often you could install the lot on a single machine, with a single install of SQL. I think that's down to your own personal choice though.

    There are individual consoles for each program.

    SCEP is endpoint, yes. As you say, you set up SCCM, get it all working, and then deploying SCEP is a couple of clicks basically. Very easy to get running once you've got the general functionality of SCCM up and running.

    You can roll out software to machines that haven't been imaged by SCCM - you just have to have the SCCM client on them. Part of setting up SCCM is choosing how you want to deploy the client. You can make it an automatic push installation (so, when a new machine appears in your AD, it auto-installs), or you can push via windows update.

    http://windows-noob.com is an excellent resource to work with.

  13. 2 Thanks to localzuk:

    deano (25th January 2013), tmcd35 (25th January 2013)

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    Tsonga's Avatar
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    I am also currently learning SCCM, following the windows noob guides, part one is here: using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager - Part 1. Installation - CAS - Configuration Manager 2012 - www.windows-noob.com
    HIGHLY rate them!

    Edit: Lolcalzuk, you beat me to it, quick question for you, is all of your setup server 2012?

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    tmcd35 (25th January 2013)

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    Thanks @localzuk, just the sort of info I need. Have to admit, since AV is a priority I'd have probably tried setting them up the other way around.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Thanks @localzuk, just the sort of info I need. Have to admit, since AV is a priority I'd have probably tried setting them up the other way around.
    You can if you want to, but I found it more beneficial to just get the infrastructure right first - SCEP definition updates are installed via the Software Update Point role anyway. So in a way, you set them up at the same time.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    I found it more beneficial to just get the infrastructure right first
    That was pretty much the reason for the OP. I want to make sure I have the infrastructure right in my head before I dive in to this.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    SCCM is the place to start, I'd say - you need it to manage SCEP properly anyway, and you can always push EP out as your first job once SCCM is installed.

    Personally we don't use the PXE stuff anyway - we already had a Fog server in place that was working wonders, so saw no point in reinventing the wheel here. SCCM is used for EP, Windows Updates & Software Deployment. We push the client out via Windows Update - GPO sets the SCCM server to be the update server, client gets pushed out as the first update, and after that the SCCM client deals with it all (not the usual WU client).

    I run SCVMM as well, I did install SCOM but never actually used it. SCOM and SCDPM can't live on one server, one thing to be aware of.

    And yes, it's an effort and a learning curve to set up - it'll take a couple of weeks of experimentation - but since ours has been set up I've not had any problems with it, except for my own ignorance. Wouldn't be without it now.

  20. Thanks to sonofsanta from:

    tmcd35 (29th January 2013)

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    Don't know why someone would say use Impero instead - they have nearly no overlap in functionality.
    Impero can deploy MSI's. SCCM can too (Well, so they say). Impero is infinitely faster and more reliable, although more suited to single deployments EG if flash breaks and needs a re-install.

    We are on SCCM 2007, perhaps 12 is better. But 2007 is not worth the bandwith to download it let alone get it working

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