System Center 2012 Configuration Manager sites, hierarchy of sites, and Configuration Manager clients can each take advantage of options that maintain a high level of available service. These include the following:

Configuration Manager does not provide a real-time service and you must expect it to operate with some data latency. Therefore, it is unusual for most scenarios that involve a temporary interruption of service to become a critical problem. When you have configured your sites and hierarchies with high availability in mind, downtime can be minimized, autonomy of operations maintained, and a high level of service provided.

For example, Configuration Manager clients typically operate autonomously by using known schedules and configurations for operations, and schedules to submit data to the site for processing. When clients cannot contact the site, they cache data to be submitted until they can contact the site. Additionally, clients that cannot contact the site continue to operate by using the last known schedules and cached information, such as a previously downloaded application that they must run or install, until they can contact the site and receive new policies. The site monitors its site systems and clients for periodic status updates, and can generate alerts when these fail to register. Built-in reports provide insight to ongoing operations as well as historical operations and trends. Finally, Configuration Manager supports state-based messages that provide near real-time information for ongoing operations.

Use the information in the following sections to help you understand the options to deploy Configuration Manager in a highly available configuration.

High Availability for Configuration Manager Clients

The following table provides information about the operations of Configuration Manager clients that promote high availability.

Feature More information

Client operations are autonomous

Configuration Manager client autonomy includes the following:

  • Clients do not require continuous contact with any specific site system servers. They use known configurations to perform preconfigured actions on a schedule.

  • Clients can use any available instance of a site system role that provides services to clients, and they will attempt to contact known servers until an available server is located.

  • Clients can run inventory, software deployments, and similar scheduled actions independent of direct contact with site system servers.

  • Clients that are configured to use a fallback status point can submit details to the fallback status point when they cannot communicate with a management point.

Clients can repair themselves

Clients automatically remediate most typical issues without direct administrative intervention:

  • Periodically, clients self-evaluate their status and take action to remediate typical problems by using a local cache of remediation steps and source files for repairs.

  • When a client fails to submit status information to its site, the site can generate an alert. Administrative users that receive these alerts can take immediate action to restore the normal operation of the client.

Clients cache information to use in the future

When a client communicates with a management point, the client can obtain and cache the following information:

  • Client settings.

  • Client schedules.

  • Information about software deployments and a download of the software the client is scheduled to install, when the deployment is configured for this action.

When a client cannot contact a management point the following actions are taken:

  • Clients locally cache the status, state, and client information they report to the site, and transfer this data after they establish contact with a management point.

Client can submit status to a fallback status point

When you configure a client to use a fallback status point, you provide an additional point of contact for the client to submit important details about its operation:

  • Clients that are configured to use a fallback status point continue to send status about their operations to that site system role even when the client cannot communicate with a management point.

Central management of client data and client identity

The site database rather than the individual client retains important information about each client’s identity, and associates that data to a specific computer, or user. This has the following results:

  • The client source files on a computer can be uninstalled and reinstalled without affecting the historical records that are associated with the computer where the client is installed.

  • Failure of a client computer does not affect the integrity of the information that is stored in the database. This information can remain available for reporting.

High Availability for Configuration Manager Sites

At each site, you deploy site system roles to provide the services that you want clients to use at that site. The site database contains the configuration information for the site and for all clients. Use one or more of the available options to provide for high availability of the site database, and the recovery of the site and site database if needed.

The following table provides information about the available options for Configuration Manager sites that support high availability.

Option More information

Use a SQL Server cluster to host the site database

When you use a SQL Server cluster for the database at a central administration site or primary site, you use the fail-over support built into SQL Server.

Secondary sites cannot use a SQL Server cluster, and do not support backup or restoration of their site database. You recover a secondary site by reinstalling the secondary site from its parent primary site.

Deploy a hierarchy of sites with a central administration site, and one or more child primary sites

This configuration can provide fault tolerance when your sites manage overlapping segments of your network. In addition, this configuration offers an additional recovery option to use the information in the shared database available at another site, to rebuild the site database at the recovered site. You can use this option to replace a failed or unavailable backup of the failed sites database.

Create regular backups at central administration sites and primary sites

When you create and test a regular site backup, you can ensure that you have the data necessary to recover a site, and the experience to recover a site in the minimal amount of time.

Install multiple instances of site system roles

When you install multiple instances of critical site system roles such as the management point and distribution point, you provide redundant points of contact for clients in the event that a specific site system server is off-line.

Install multiple instances of the SMS Provider at a site

The SMS Provider provides the point of administrative contact for one or more Configuration Manager consoles. When you install multiple SMS Providers, you can provide redundancy for contact points to administer your site and hierarchy.

Details for Sites and Site System Roles that are Highly Available

Details for Sites and Site System Roles that are not Highly Available

See Also