Use the information in the following sections to help you plan for site operations.

Planning for Backup and Recovery

Enterprise solutions such as Configuration Manager must prepare for loss of critical data by planning for both backup and recovery operations. For Configuration Manager sites, this preparation ensures that sites and hierarchies are recovered with the least data loss and in the quickest possible time.

A Configuration Manager site contains a large amount of data, which is mostly stored in the site database. To ensure that you are correctly backing up your sites, schedule the Backup Site Server maintenance task for the central administration site and each primary site in your hierarchy. The Backup Site Server maintenance task creates a complete backup snapshot of your site and contains all the data necessary to perform recovery operations. You can also use your own method for backing up the site database. For example, you can create a site database backup as part of a SQL Server maintenance plan.

Depending on your Configuration Manager hierarchy, the requirement to back up a site to avoid data loss varies. For example, consider the following scenarios:

  • Central administration site with child primary sites: When you have a Configuration Manager hierarchy, the site can likely be recovered even when you do not have a site backup. Because database replication is used in the hierarchy, the data required for recovery can be retrieved from another site in the hierarchy. The benefit of restoring a site by using a backup is that only changes to the data since the last backup have to be retrieved from another site, which reduces the amount of data transferred over your network.

  • Stand-alone primary site: When you have a stand-alone primary site (no central administration site), you must have a Configuration Manager backup to avoid data loss.

  • Secondary sites: There is no backup and recovery support for secondary sites. You must reinstall the secondary site when it fails.

For more information about how to configure site backup or recover a site, see Backup and Recovery in Configuration Manager.

What’s New in Configuration Manager

What’s New in Configuration Manager SP1

Volume Shadow Copy Service

The Backup Site Server maintenance task uses the Volume Shadow copy Service (VSS) to create the backup snapshot. VSS is essentially a framework which facilitates communication between applications, storage subsystems, and storage management applications (including backup applications) to define point-in-time copies of storage data. These point-in-time copies, or shadow copies, of site server and site database information are used to back up and restore Configuration Manager sites. By using VSS shadow copies, the Backup Site Server maintenance task can minimize off-line times for site servers. VSS must be running for the Backup Site Server maintenance task to finish successfully.

What Gets Backed Up

The Backup Site Server maintenance task includes the following information in the backup set:

  • The Configuration Manager site database files

    The Backup Site Server maintenance task does not support configuring an NTFS file system junction point to store the site database files.
  • The following Configuration Manager installation folders:

    • <ConfigMgrInstallationPath>\bin

    • <ConfigMgrInstallationPath>\inboxes

    • <ConfigMgrInstallationPath>\Logs

    • <ConfigMgrInstallationPath>\Data

    • <ConfigMgrInstallationPath>\srvacct

  • The ..\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\SMS registry key.

What Does Not Get Backed Up

The Backup Site Server maintenance task creates a backup set that includes everything you need to restore your site server to a functional state. There are some Configuration Manager items not included in the site backup that you might want to back up outside of the normal process. The following sections provide information about items not backed up as part of the backup task.

For more information about supplemental backup tasks, see the Supplemental Backup Tasks section in the Backup and Recovery in Configuration Manager topic.

Configuration Manager Site Systems

Some Configuration Manager site systems contain site data that is easily recreated if the site fails and are not backed up during the site backup process. For example, you do not have to backup data from site systems such as distribution points and management points. The site server can easily reinstall these site systems if they fail.

Custom Reporting Services Reports

When you create custom Configuration Manager reports in SQL Server Reporting Services, there are several items on the Reporting Services server that you must add to your backup set to recover the reports in the event of a failure on the server running Reporting Services.

Content Files

The content library in Configuration Manager is the location where all content files are stored for software updates, applications, operating system deployment, and so on. The content library is located on the site server and each distribution point. The Backup Site Server maintenance task does not include a backup of the content library or the package source files. When a site server fails, the information about the content library files is restored to the site database, but you must restore the content library and package source files on the site server.

SQL Server Master Database

You do not have to back up the SQL Server master database. The Backup Site Server maintenance task backs up all of the required information for restoring the site database to SQL Server as part of the backup process. The original SQL Server master database is not required for restoring the site database on a new server that is hosting the SQL Server database.

Configuration Manager Log Files

The Backup Site Server maintenance task backs up logs located in the <ConfigMgrInstallationPath>\Logs folder, but some System Center 2012 Configuration Manager site systems write logs in other locations and are not backed up by the Backup Site Server maintenance task. Plan an alternative method to back up these log files, if it is required.

Configuration Manager Clients

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients are not backed up as part of the site backup process for the following reasons:

  • To correctly back up a Configuration Manager client, the client services must be stopped. However, there is no reliable way to stop and start the client services. Stopping and starting the client services can potentially corrupt the data on the hard disk of the client or in the backup snapshot.

  • Clients are too numerous. It is neither practical nor beneficial to back up and restore the clients assigned to a site.

  • The effect of losing client data is relatively small.

System Center Updates Publisher

When you use System Center Updates Publisher to create custom software updates, the updates are stored in the Updates Publisher database. Though many of these custom software updates might have been published to Windows Server Update Services, you typically want to have a backup of the Updates Publisher database that contains the source for the custom updates.

Maintenance Mode Support

When the Backup Site Server maintenance task performs a site backup, critical site services must be stopped including:

  • SMS Executive service (SMS_Executive)

  • SMS Site Component Manager service (SMS_Site_Component_Manager)

If the Configuration Manager site server or site database server is being monitored by the monitoring agent on the System Center Operations Manager client, the backup process might generate false stop service alerts when critical Configuration Manager services are stopped for backup. To avoid this problem, configure the entire backup process to be monitored as a single transaction that is managed by using Operations Manager maintenance mode state management.

Planning for Client Management

Planning for Maintenance Tasks for Configuration Manager

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager sites and hierarchies require regular maintenance and monitoring to provide services effectively and continuously. Regular maintenance ensures that the hardware, software, and the Configuration Manager database continue to function correctly and efficiently. Optimal performance greatly reduces the risk of failure.

While your Configuration Manager site and hierarchy perform the tasks that you schedule and configure, site components continually add data to the Configuration Manager database. As the amount of data grows, database performance and the free storage space in the database decline. You can configure site maintenance tasks to remove aged data that you no longer require.

Configuration Manager provides predefined maintenance tasks that you can use to maintain the health of the Configuration Manager database. Not all maintenance tasks are available at each site, by default, several are enabled while some are not, and all support a schedule that you can configure for when to run.

Most maintenance tasks periodically remove out-of-date data from the Configuration Manager database. Reducing the size of the database by removing unnecessary data improves the performance and the integrity of the database, which increases the efficiency of the site and hierarchy. Other tasks, such as Rebuild Indexes, help maintain the database efficiency, while some, such as the Backup Site Server task, help you prepare for disaster recovery.

When you plan the schedule of any task that deletes data, consider the use of that data across the hierarchy. When a task that deletes data runs at a site, the information is removed from the Configuration Manager database, and this change replicates to all sites in the hierarchy. This can affect other tasks that rely on that data. For example, at the central administration site, you might configure Discovery to run one time per month to identify non-client computers, and plan to install the Configuration Manager client to these computers within two weeks of their discovery. However, at one site in the hierarchy, an administrator configures the Delete Aged Discovery Data task to run every seven days with a result that seven days after non-client computers are discovered, they are deleted from the Configuration Manager database. Back at the central administration site, you prepare to push install the Configuration Manager client to these new computers on day 10. However, because the Delete Aged Discovery Data task has recently run and deleted data that is seven days or older, the recently discovered computers are no longer available in the database.

After you install a Configuration Manager site, review the available maintenance tasks and enable those tasks that your operations require. Review the default schedule of each task, and when necessary, modify the schedule to fine-tune the maintenance task to fit your hierarchy and environment. Although the default schedule of each task should suit most environments, monitor the performance of your sites and database and expect to fine-tune tasks to increase your deployments’ efficiency. Plan to periodically review the site and database performance and to reconfigure maintenance tasks and their schedules to maintain that efficiency.

When to Perform Common Maintenance Tasks

About the Built-In Maintenance Tasks

Planning for Alerts

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager generates alerts that you can use to monitor the status of objects as they perform a task. Alerts can indicate a completed task, an interim status of a task, or the failure of a task.

Alerts are listed in several places in the Configuration Manager console. A complete list of alerts is provided in the Monitoring workspace in the Alerts node. The most recent active alerts are displayed in the Overview of the workspace that they are associated with. For example, select Assets and Compliance to see a list of the most recent alerts listed in the Assets and Compliance Overview. The list of the most recent alerts is updated whenever a new alert is generated or the state of an alert has changed for that workspace.

For more information about managing alerts, see Configuring Alerts in Configuration Manager.

For more information about what you can do when an alert is generated, see Monitor Alerts in Configuration Manager.

See Also