Introduction to Site Administration in Configuration Manager


Updated: May 14, 2015

Applies To: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1

Site administration in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager refers to the planning, installation, management, and monitoring of a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager hierarchy of sites. A hierarchy of sites can be described by one of three basic configurations:

  • A single stand-alone primary site that has no additional sites.

  • A primary site that has one or more secondary sites.

  • A central administration site as the top-level site that has one or more primary child sites. The primary sites can each support secondary sites.

Several configurations in Configuration Manager apply to objects at every site in the hierarchy. Other configurations are site-specific and require that you configure each site separately. For example, you can configure most site system roles at a primary site, but some site system roles can only be installed at the top-level site of a hierarchy, which might be a primary site in one hierarchy and a central administration site in another hierarchy. Your available network infrastructure, the network and geographical locations of the resources that you manage, and the management features that you use can influence your hierarchy design and approach to administration.

Use the following sections for more information about planning, configuring, and managing your Configuration Manager site or hierarchy:

  • Plan and Deploy a Hierarchy of Sites

  • Deploy Site Systems at Sites

  • Configure Hierarchy-Wide and Site-Specific Options

  • Monitor and Maintain the Hierarchy

Plan and Deploy a Hierarchy of Sites

Before you deploy your first site, review the planning information for Configuration Manager. The type of site that you first deploy can define the structure for your hierarchy. The following are examples:

  • First site is a primary site: If the first site that you install is a primary site because you do not expect to manage a complex or geographically dispersed environment, your hierarchy is initially limited to a single primary site. This primary site can support secondary sites, and beginning with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 can be expanded by adding a new central administration site.

  • First site is a central administration site: If you deploy a central administration site as your first site, you have the option to add more primary sites as child sites to the central administration site in the future. This provides you with the flexibility to expand your hierarchy as your company grows and when management requirements change. However, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager does not support detaching primary site from a central administration site. Therefore, in the future if you no longer need the overhead of multiple primary sites or the central administration site, you must maintain the configurations, or consider reinstalling your hierarchy as a stand-alone primary site, from scratch. You could consider using Migration to move data from your existing hierarchy to a new stand-alone primary site hierarchy.

For more information about sites and hierarchies, see Planning for Sites and Hierarchies in Configuration Manager.

When you plan your hierarchy, consider the external dependencies of Configuration Manager, such as a public key infrastructure (PKI) if you plan to use certificates, or your Active Directory domain structure. Determine whether you manage resources in untrusted forests or resources that are on the Internet, and determine how Configuration Manager will support these scenarios. These factors and other considerations can influence your hierarchy design and site and site system role placement. For more information, see PKI Certificate Requirements for Configuration Manager and Identify Your Network and Business Requirements to Plan a Configuration Manager Hierarchy.

Deploy Site Systems at Sites

In each site that you install, you must install and configure site system roles to support management operations. If you plan to install more than a single primary site, review the site system roles and if you can deploy them at different sites. Some site system roles, which include the Endpoint Protection point, require that you install just one instance in the hierarchy to provide a service to all sites in the hierarchy. Other site system roles, which include the Application Catalog web service point, must be installed at each site where you require them to provide a service to that site. Finally, some site system roles, which include the management point and distribution point, support the installation of multiple instances at a site. Refer to the site system role requirements to help you identify the best locations to place the site system roles at each site. For example:

  • For central administration sites, you can deploy site system roles that are useful for hierarchy-wide monitoring, such as the reporting services point. You can also deploy site system roles that provide services to the whole hierarchy, such as the Endpoint Protection point. Some roles, such as the software update point, must be installed in the central administration site, but you can also install them in primary and secondary sites. In this scenario, the software update point in the central administration site provides the other software update points with a central location to synchronize software updates.

  • For primary sites, you must have site system roles for client communication, such as management points and software update points. Review your network infrastructure and the locations of computers and users on your network to ensure that you put these client-facing site systems in the best locations to optimize network connectivity.

  • For secondary sites, you can install a limited set of site system roles. Additionally, if content distribution to a remote network location is your main concern, you might decide to install distribution points from a primary site instead of installing a secondary site.

For more information about site systems, see Planning for Site Systems in Configuration Manager.

Configure Hierarchy-Wide and Site-Specific Options

After you deploy your first site, you can configure settings that apply across the hierarchy and settings that are specific to individual sites. Regardless of when you configure sites or hierarchy-wide settings, plan to periodically revisit these tasks to adjust configurations to meet changing business requirements. Hierarchy-wide and site-specific configurations affect how sites operate and how client management tasks in each site function.

Some of the hierarchy-wide configurations that you can set include the following:

  • Role-based administration, which includes the following:

    • Identify administrative users who manage your Configuration Manager infrastructure and assign them security roles, security scopes, and collections to manage their permissions to objects, and the objects that they can interact with.

    • Create custom security roles and security scopes that you require to help partition security and administrative user access to different objects.

  • Discovery to locate resources that you can manage.

  • Boundaries and boundary groups to control client site assignment, and the site system servers from which clients can obtain content such as applications or operating system deployments.

  • Client settings to specify how and when Configuration Manager clients perform various operations, which includes when to check for new applications or to submit hardware or software inventory data to their assigned site.

Some of the site-specific configurations that you can set include the following:

  • Communication settings for site system roles that control how clients communicate with the site system roles at that site.

  • Settings to specify how sites summarize status message details that are collected from clients and site system servers.

  • Site maintenance tasks and schedules to help maintain the local Configuration Manager database.

  • Site component configurations that control how site system roles operate in a site.

For more information about how to configure sites and hierarchy-wide settings, see Configure Sites and the Hierarchy in Configuration Manager, and Operations and Maintenance for Site Administration in Configuration Manager.

Monitor and Maintain the Hierarchy

You must monitor and maintain the health of the hierarchy and individual site systems. Over time, conditions in your environment can change. These changes might include network issues that decrease the replication performance between sites, the number of clients that report to a site and that might affect site system role performance, and an increase in the amount of data that is stored in the Configuration Manager database that can decrease data processing and site performance.

To keep your site systems, intersite data replication, and the database healthy, you must monitor your hierarchy for problems and take actions to maintain these systems to prevent critical problems.

You can monitor the health of your hierarchy by using the Monitoring workspace in the Configuration Manager console. Additionally, you can configure site maintenance tasks at each site to help maintain the operational efficiency of the database, and to remove aged data that you no longer require. Periodically review the configurations and operational settings for site system roles to ensure that they continue to provide a service to your clients, and review the frequency and extent of the data that you collect from clients to ensure that you collect only the data that you really require.

Configuration Manager provides built-in functionality that you can use to monitor and maintain your infrastructure. For example, you can do the following:

  • Run reports that inform you about the success or failure of typical Configuration Manager tasks and that summarize the operational status of your sites and hierarchy.

  • View status messages and receive alerts that can help you identify current or emerging problems, which include information about application deployments or site and hierarchy infrastructure problems.

  • View the status of clients, which includes clients that are inactive, and view the status of Endpoint Protection clients.

  • Configure more than 30 site maintenance tasks to help maintain the health of the Configuration Manager database.

For more information about monitoring, see Monitor Configuration Manager Sites and Hierarchy, and Reporting in Configuration Manager. For more information about site maintenance tasks, see Configure Maintenance Tasks for Configuration Manager Sites.