Always apply baseline to co-managed devices

Like the last couple of weeks, this week is also about co-management. This week is all about another nice detail that can be really useful, in specific use cases. That detail is the ability to always apply a configuration baseline to co-managed devices. Even when the Device configuration workload is switched from Configuration Manager to Microsoft Intune. That can be useful for configurations that are not available yet via Microsoft Intune, or for compliance checks that need to be performed and consolidated in one location. In this post I’ll provide a short introduction about the different configuration options, followed by the steps to configure a configuration baseline to co-managed devices when the workload is switched to Microsoft Intune. I’ll end this post with the end-results.

Introduction

When looking at the evaluation of baselines, co-management provides the administrator with 3 different configuration options (of which the third options is the main subject of this post):

  1. Apply Configuration Baselines via Configuration Manager when the Device configuration workload is set to Configuration Manager:
  2. Apply Device configuration profiles via Microsoft Intune when the Device configuration workload is set to Microsoft Intune:
  3. Apply Configuration Baselines via Configuration Manager as an exception to Device configuration profiles via Microsoft Intune when the Device configuration workload is set to Microsoft Intune

Configuration

Let’s start by having a look at the configuration. I’ll do that by going through an example that will create a baseline to verify the update compliance of co-managed devices. That will provide an easy method to verify compliance and consolidate the results. Below are 4 steps that walk through the process.

1 Open the Configuration Manager administration console and navigate to Assets and Compliance > Overview > Compliance Settings > Compliance Baselines;
2 On the Home tab, click Create Configuration Baseline to open the Create Configuration Baseline dialog box;
3a

AlwaysApply-Step01On the Create Configuration Baseline dialog box, provide the following information and click OK to create the configuration baseline.

  • Name: Provide a valid name;
  • Description: (Optional) Provide a description; 
  • Configuration data: See step 3b;
  • Select Always apply this baseline even for co-managed clients;

Explanation: The check Always apply this baseline even for co-managed clients in the baseline will make sure that the baseline is always applicable to co-managed devices. Even when the Device configuration workload is set to Microsoft Intune.

3b

AlwaysApply-Step02On the Create Configuration Baseline dialog box, click Add > Software Update to open the Add Software Updates dialog box. On the Add Software Updates dialog box, find the required software update and click OK.

Explanation: This configuration will make sure that this baseline will verify the compliance of all co-managed devices for the latest cumulative update.

4

AlwaysApply-Step03Right-click the just created baseline and click Deploy to open the Deploy Configuration Baselines dialog box. Leave everything default, select the collection for this baseline deployment and click OK.

Explanation: This configuration will make sure that this baseline is deployed to the required collection and will make sure that this baseline is only used for compliance and not for remediation.

Note: The setting Always apply this baseline even for co-managed clients in the baseline, as mentioned in step 3a, can be used to make sure that the baseline is always applied on co-managed devices.

End-results

Now let’s continue by having a look at the results on a co-managed device. Below are two examples of one of a co-managed device. First an overview of the Configuration Manager Properties, followed by a look in the DCMAgent.log file. Both are client-side details, as the server-side will provide status information similar like for any other device.

1 AlwaysApply-ConfigMgrPropertiesThe first example that I would like to show, is the Configurations tab in the Configuration Manager Properties. The Configurations tab shows the deployed baseline, including the last evaluation time and the compliance state. Similar to the evaluation of a baseline when the Device configuration workload is still set to Configuration Manager;
2 The second example that I would like to show, is the DCMAgent.log file. That log file records high-level information about the evaluation, conflict reporting, and remediation of configuration items and applications. Specifically to this post, this log file provides information about the status of the Device configuration workload (first arrow below) and provides information about specifically enabled baselines (second arrow below);
AlwaysApply-DCMAgent

More information

For more information about co-managed devices and configuration baselines, please refer to this article about creating configuration baselines in System Center Configuration Manager.