Compatibility of different types of Distribution Points

I noticed that it can be handy to know which types of Distribution Points are compatible with each other. For example, if you want to setup Multicast you can NOT use a Server Share. There is documentation about this, but for me it was hard to find. This is why I posted the most important part of this article (the compatibility table) in this post.

  Server Server Share Branch Standard BITS-Enabled Protected Mobile Device Support Internet Based Clients Streaming Multicast
Server N/A No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Server Share No N/A No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Branch Yes No N/A No No Yes No No Yes No
Standard Yes No No N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
BITS-Enabled Yes Yes No Yes N/A Yes Required Required Yes Yes
Protected Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile Device Yes Yes No Yes Required Yes N/A Yes No Yes
Supporting Internet Based Clients Yes No No Yes Required Yes Yes N/A Yes No
Streaming Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes N/A Yes
Multicast Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes N/A

More information About Distribution Points: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb680614.aspx

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Distribution Point Groups in ConfigMgr 2007

This time I want to devote a post to Distribution Point Groups in ConfigMgr 2007. The most important thing to understand is that Distribution Point Groups are NOT meant to balance the load. Distribution Point Groups are meant to facilitate the processes of copying packages to Distribution Points (DP). Packages can then be sent to a Group of DP’s rather than to a single DP.

One important thing to remember is that if you add a DP to an existing Group of DP’s, the new DP does not automatically receive packages that are previously copied to that Group.

Create a Distribution Point Group by following the next steps:

  1. Open the Configuration Manager console and browse to System Center Configuration Manager > Site Database > Site Management > <YourSiteName> > Site Settings > Site Systems.
  2. Select the/ a Distribution Point and click in the Actions pane Properties to open the ConfigMgr Distribution Point Properties.
  3. Select the General tab and press with Group Membership the New Icon.
  4. On the Distribution Point Group General Tab fill in a Distribution Point Group Name, select Include this site system in the Distribution Point Group and click Ok.

More information about Distribution Point Group Membership: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb680754.aspx

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Remote Distribution Points in ConfigMgr 2007

This post will be a short follow-up on a previous post about How a client chooses a Distribution Point. In that post I tried to explain how a client picks a (Remote) Distribution Point (DP). In this post I will try to take away some more confusion about Remote DP’s.

Let’s start with when a DP is considered a Remote DP. ConfigMgr looks at this from the clients perspective. If a client is within a Fast Network Boundary, then the DP(‘s) that is in the same Boundary will be marked as a Local DP. All the other DP’s are marked as Remote DP’s. The important part here is that a client has to be within the correct Boundary and that you are the only one who can make that happen. To make sure which DP is used to download, you have to make the DP Protected with that Boundary.

So if a client is on a remote location, doesn’t mean that it connects to the DP on the remote location. As long as you don’t configure a Boundary for the client, the client will see the DP on its own location as a Remote DP.

For more information about protected DP’s: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb892788.aspx

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How to control the bandwidth of the package movements in ConfigMgr 2007

In this post I will give some information about how to control the package movement of ConfigMgr 2007. The table in this post shows the Bandwidth Control options with the different Package Movements in ConfigMgr 2007. Besides the Bandwidth Control it also show if it uses Binary Differential Replication (BDR). BDR is used by ConfigMgr 2007 to update package source files with a minimum of additional network traffic. It sends the parts of the package that have changed since the last time the package was sent. This minimizes the network traffic between sites. A file is considered to be changed if it has been renamed, moved, or its contents have changed.

Package Movement Bandwidth Control BDR
From package source directory to site server None No
From site server to standard distribution point None Yes
From parent site server to child site server Bandwidth controlled by Address settings on the sender between sites Yes
From child site server to child standard distribution point None Yes
From standard distribution point to branch distribution point BITS or manually pre-staged on the branch distribution point Yes
From standard distribution point to client BITS, if BITS-enabled distribution point is available and advertisement is configured to download and run locally. No
From branch distribution point to client None No

More information about Distribution Points:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb680614.aspx
More information about Binary Differential Replication:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb680614.aspx

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How to make ConfigMgr 2007 ready to advertise and stream Virtual Applications

In this post I will put a short version of the “guide” that I made for Windows-Noob about the settings that are needed to be able to advertise and stream Virtual Applications. A prerequisite for being able to make these settings is that ConfigMgr 2007 SP1 R2 is installed. Keep in mind that even when you have ConfigMgr configured for Virtual Applications you will still need the App-V Client to run the applications.

To be able advertise Virtual Applications the Advertised Programs Client Agent has to be enabled for running virtual application packages. To do this, follow the next steps:

  1. Open the Configuration Manager console and navigate to System Center Configuration Manager > Site Database > Site Management > <your_sitename> > Site Settings > Client Agents
  2. Right-click the Advertised Programs Client Agent and select Properties
  3. On the General tab click Allow virtual application package advertisement to enable the client for running Virtual Applications. 
  4. Click OK to close the properties.

Note: This enables the Advertised Programs Client Agent to run Virtual Application packages on ALL Configuration Manager 2007 client computers in the site.

To be able to stream Virtual Applications the Distribution Point has to be enabled for streaming virtual application packages. To do this, follow the next steps:

  1. Open the Configuration Manager console and navigate to System Center Configuration Manager > Site Database > Site Management > <your_sitename> > Site Settings > Site Systems, and select the name of the Server or the Server Share. 
  2. Right-click the ConfigMgr distribution point, in the results pane, and select Properties
  3. On the Virtual Applications tab select Enable virtual application streaming
  4. Click Ok to close the properties.

Note: To be able to select Enable virtual application streaming make sure Allow clients to transfer content from this distribution point using BITS, HTTP, and HTTPS (required for device clients and Internet-based clients). is selected on the General tab.

See for an extended version with screenshots: http://www.windows-noob.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=1123

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How a client chooses a Distribution Point

Lately I get and see a lot of situations like this…

Question: I created an extra Distribution Point (DP) on a remote location, but the clients on the remote location are still connecting to the standard DP. Why are these clients not connecting to their local DP?
Answer:
When there are more DP’s in the same site and/or boundary, by default, the client will first connect to the DP with BITS enabled and not the closest one. If you want the clients to connect to their local DP, you have to make the DP protected.

…So I thought it might be handy to write in a few short steps how this process works.

Step From Action
1 Client Sends a content location request to its Management Point (MP)
2 MP The search for Distribution Points (DP’s), with the content, starts in the client’s current site. This can be the client’s assigned site, secondary site attached to it, or a site to which the client is roamed. When the content is not available here the search goes to the assigned site.
3 MP The list of found DP’s will be sorted. When a protected DP is found, where the client’s boundary is included, only this will be returned. If there is not a protected DP found it will return a list of non-protected DP’s that host the content.
4 MP The remaining DP’s on the list will be marked as local, or remote depending on the boundary that you have connected to it.
5 MP The list with available DP’s is send back to the client.
6 Client Tries to connect to the DP’s (of the list) in the following order, first for the local DP’s and then for the remote DP’s: Same IP subnet, Same AD site, remaining. In every category the client prefers DP’s with BITS enabled.

Then where does it go wrong?? Well, often the assumption is that the client searches for the DP’s by itself. But instead you have to tell your MP which boundaries you have and connect them to your DP’s by protecting them.

For extra information: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb632366.aspx

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