ConfigMgr 2012 – Who requested an Application?

ConfigMgr 2012 – Who requested an Application?

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Hi everyone, I’m Arvind here from Microsoft Consulting Team. I wanted share my new finding where we can use other system center suite products to complete the end user and administration experience and bring some ease to work. Here we will talk about how to link your System Center with existing Exchange solution and generate emails to notify IT Admins or BU heads about any incoming Application request from end users so it can help fasten the approval time.

Background:

In System Center Configuration Manager 2012, We came with a new concept where now end users could log on to a web page called application catalog and download or request and install the applications they want from the available list, and IT Admin’s can include manager approval for some of the applications, so that end users can be restricted for some of the applications, due to any corporate reasons.

Challenge:

So now it become’ s a challenge for the IT Admin’s to keep a close eye on the requests coming in and approve them as per their IT policy due to their other roles and responsibilities. It was also very labor intensive and time consuming, as we were not sure when an end user would request for an app and how critical is that request, if it’s very critical request and IT Admin don’t approve the App request on time, it can cause business downtime. So keeping this concept in mind I have built a solution here.

Solution:

To resolve this issue, we can implement multiple solutions like Application approval workflow using SCSM (Service Manager) but setting up SCSM for such a small job will be a complex solution. So we came up with a small and accurate solution to build a runbook using SC Orchestrator which will monitor this activity and provide us the solution. So let’s see how this works.

Steps:

1) Assuming we already have System Center configuration Manager and System Center Orchestrator installed and up and running.

2) We will integrate the SCCM with SC Orch to build the solution:

3) Once the integration is done with SC Orchestrator, will create the runbook to fix this complex situation.

4) How to create a runbook in SC Orchestrator: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh403776.aspx

5) A Runbook is series of different activities linked together to automate and accomplish a task, and our runbook will somewhat look like this, though you can design it as complex as you want to almost automate everything:

image

6) So in our case here we will build this solution using three simple activities:

    • First activity is to test SQL Connection, as we are picking data from there.
    • Second activity is to read the date from the table.
    • Third activity is to email the data to the BU head or IT admin in readable format.

7) So let’s explore these activities a little more, to make it easy for all

                                                                   image

    •    You need to call this activity called ‘Query Database’ and then write the following query to achieve the desired solution where CM_SCS is the SCCM database name and CurrentState=’1’ is the requested state for an app:image
    • Then the final step is to the link an emailing solution so that the details can be emailed to IT Admin’s or BU Heads for final approval confirmation.
    • So for this we will add the ‘Send Email’ activity:

                                                             image

    • Then we will customize its properties to route emails through the internal Exchange box, so for that below are different snapshots:
    • Add the recipients:

                    image 

    • Then use the data from the previous activity to show the output through email, for this right click in between the Message screen and choose Subscribe and choose Publish data:image
    • And then choose the below selection option and click ok:

image

    • Now we will have to move to Advanced information section where we will fill the Message options and SMTP Authentication properties:

image 

    • Then we will move to Connect option and fill the properties, Email account here will be the account from where the emails will be sent and SMTP Connection will the Exchange server name and choose Port as default 25:

image 

    • So finally we are done and our Runbook is ready to run.

8) So now is the opportunity to test the Runbook, we will do this by going to runbook tester:

image

9)   So first go to the runbook you want to test and this click on the Runbook Tester on top to test it.

10)  So now it will look like this and finally you have to choose the ‘Run’ button to test it:

image

11) After this will be what we wanted, and that is the email in the inbox of the IT Amin and people responsible:

image

12) So here in this Email we have Application name;Comments;User who Requested.

So this is how we compose this entire solution and yes as we are using SC Orchestrator here, we have great scope of customizations, so please while using this tool customize the solution as per requirements of your respective organization, to get better results.

More Information:

This solution can also be customized in a lot many ways to get or meet desired results, so please the only suggestion is to learn the product well before making any changes and do the runbook testing before rolling out the solution.

The following TechNet article explains how to use SC ConfigMgr and SC Orchestrator:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682129.aspx

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh237242.aspx

Arvind Kumar Rana | Microsoft Consultant

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