Where does Goverlan fit in?
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you have most likely heard of SCCM or its previous name, SMS. While SCCM is great, it does have some areas that can be improved upon. Fortunately, with a little Goverlan kung fu, we can fill in some of these areas.
In all my years of managing SCCM Sites, there has always been a gap between the SysAdmin and the Config Manager agent that can make controlling the agent difficult. Now, with the Goverlan Remote Administration Suite we can create easy ways to control the agent, providing a front-end to the day-to-day management of Config Manager agents.
Before we delve deeper into Goverlan-SCCM/Config Manager Client integration, we first need to understand a few basic design concepts for SCCM and its client, Config Manager, as well as their inherent issues.
Push vs. Pull
Firstly, SCCM is a Pull based technology. This means the Config Manager agent is configured to poll the site server on a predetermined interval for updates and instructions. This is great for normal situations where your environment does not change very often; however, you lose the real-time aspect of managing your workstations. Imagine having to push a critical patch or application to hundreds of computers and waiting for all the agents to go through the poll cycle.
Config Manager Client Control
This brings us to our second issue, remote administration of the Config Manager Client. In order to have real-time results, we have to PUSH a command to the workstations andtheir agents. This push-based capability is still glaringly missing in SCCM 2012.
It all starts with WMIX…
Both the SCCM Site Server and the Config Manager Client are heavily dependent on WMI.
With WMIX, you can be a SCCM puppet master.
Config Manager WMI Classes
The first step in learning to control your Config manager clients is to know what WMI classes you need to query in order to find the proper methods or actions you can perform on the classes.
I have identified the main class for you. I know, I’m so nice.
If you launch WMIX and connect to any computer that has the Config Manager Client installed, you will see the following WMI Repository:
Drill into the following class and Right Click it. Got to View Methods Definition
Et Voila! Here are the methods you can use to force a policy retrieval, Repair the Client, or change the Site Code – all common tasks when working with the Config Manger Client.
Another class worth taking a look at is Root\Machine\ACTUALCONFIG\CCM_Policy\CCM_SoftwareDistribution.
This class will list all of the assigned software installation or task sequence advertisements that the workstation has received.
If you right click the class and select “Add to Browser View”, this will now be available to select as a scope action report item under WMI Objects in the Goverlan Remote Administration Suite.
This is great for troubleshooting and goes back to what I always say; there are three sides to every story: the server side, the client side, and somewhere in the middle lies the truth.
From WMIX to the Goverlan Administration Console
Now that we have located the main WMI classes and methods, we need to turn them into easy-to-use everyday objects and tasks. This is where The Goverlan Administration Console comes into play.
Converting WMI Methods to scripts.
Start by right clicking the SMS_Client Class and selecting “Add to Class to Browser View”
Goverlan will then ask if you want to go to the object, Select Yes.
Now if you right click Client (SMS) in the browser view and select any of the methods like “Request Machine Policy…”,
then, enter “0” for the u Flag argument, this will tell the script to initiate the policy retrieval.
Then, click the Export as a Script option.
This will open the auto generated script in notepad. Save the script file as whatever name you like and place it in your favorite batch and script location.
Now let’s go to the Goverlan Administration Console.
Here we can add the script to our batch and script packages.
Now we have an object that we can place in scope actions or custom actions and execute a Config Manager Machine Policy retrieval on any number of workstations.
It is worthwhile to note that WMIX auto generated scripts can be run completely independent of Goverlan. You can save your scripts in a folder and run them from the command line. You can also add individual host names or IP addresses as arguments for the actions and execute them from the command line.
With the Goverlan Remote Administration Suite, we have successfully bridged the gap between the technician and his Config Manager agents. Once this setup is complete, techs will have greater control of their SCCM installations, thus saving valuable time.
Stay tuned to learn how to query the SCCM Site Server and manage your SCCM environment through the Goverlan Remote Administration Suite. For a free, full 30-day trial, click here.
To see a full independent comparison of Goverlan and SCCM, click here.