Configuration Manager with Jason Lewis
SCUP Catalogs Best Practices
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Catalog Updates is a feature in Custom Updates Publishing Tool (CUPT) and System Center Updates Publisher (SCUP) that allows you to maintain a list of catalogs. This list of catalog gains you two things, first the ability to detect when a catalog is updated by the vendor and secondly the ability to bulk import all of your catalogs in one single import session.
To use this feature you will need to add catalogs to your Catalog Updates list, there are two ways to do this. The first is to manually add them (Click on “Settings -> Add” on Import List tab). This will bring up a form where you can enter the catalog information. The second option is to automatically add them with the “Discover and Add External Catalogs” feature (Click on “Settings -> Find” on the Import List tab). This option will find all the partner catalogs that are included in the Microsoft catalog (http://www.microsoft.com/smserver/partners/itcucat.mspx).
After adding the catalogs to your Catalog Updates list you can now detect when they are updated. To do this you hit the refresh button on the “Catalog Updates” control in the center pain. You can also configure CUPT/SCUP to automatically check for new catalogs every time you start the program (Click on “Settings -> Automatically check for updates to my catalogs on startup” on the Import List tab).
Lastly, now that you have catalogs in your Catalog Updates list you can bulk import them by simply clicking on the “Import” action. You will see on the first page “Bulk Catalog Import” option is now enabled.
In Custom Updates Publishing Tool (CUPT) there were two export options, now with System Center Updates Publisher (SCUP) you have three. Today I’m here to tell you what the difference is between all of them.
Export Option 1
First is the option “Export selected updates to a cabinet file that can be imported by other publishers” in SCUP. This is the exact same option as “Export a cabinet file that can be imported by other publishing tools” in CUPT. This option was designed to be used to export your selected updates to a cab file. This cab file then can be imported into any other publishing tool. This is a great option if you have more than one user who authors a single update. For example you might have a marketing team start creating the update and entering information such as title, description, vendor and product. Once the marketing team is done they can export the update and hand off to the developer of the update to import into their SCUP/CUPT and fill out the detection rules.
One thing to note here is what I mean by selected updates. There are only a few ways to select an update, below is a list.
As you see there is no way to pick and choose across different vendors or products without selecting them all, that is where option 3 comes in.
Export Option 2
The second option is called “Export selected updates to a test catalog XML file and supporting scan file for testing” in SCUP. The corresponding option in CUPT is called “Export a test catalog XML file and supporting scan files for testing”. This is the “Export for Test” option when you want to test your selected update’s Software Distribution Package (SDP) before releasing to the public or your corporate environment. This option will create SDP XML without CAB’ing. Specifically this option exports the raw SDP XML into a user specified folder along with RunScan.cmd and executable to test your updates. All you have to do at that point is double click on “RunScan.cmd” which will then run the test scan engine and report your results in the form of “TestResults.xml”. This results file along with the scan engine log can be used to verify or troubleshoot your update SDP.
Export Option 3 (SCUP only)
The third export option is called “Export all updates in the update publisher database that have the publish flag set” and can only be found in SCUP. This option was originally inside the Publish Wizard in CUPT but was moved to the Export Wizard in the new release. The primarily difference versus the first two options is that it exports only those updates which are flagged (Publish Flag set). This can span across multiple vendor and product nodes unlike the two above selecting options. The other main difference is that this option also produces a signature file (XML) that is used in conjunction with the CAB when publishing online. This signature file stores when the catalog was created and can be consumed by SCUP/CUPT subscribed catalogs feature. The subscribed catalogs feature is used to keep a list of catalogs you want to be alerted to when they are updated. Independent Software Vendors and Line of Business developers should use this option when they want to create a final catalog that is to be consumed by their customers.
I am proud and excited to announce the release of System Center Updates Publisher (SCUP). This is the updated and rebranded Custom Updates Publishing Tool (CUPT) from Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 R2. To read more about SMS 2003 R2 please read here or here. This version of the tool works with the System Center Essentials (SCE) and the future release of System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) 2007. SCUP is available to download here.
With a new version come changes, listed below are some of the bigger ones.
Just as CUPT had pre-requisites, SCUP does too but with this release there are a few more. The main one, which is not included in the installer package, is Windows Server Updates Service (WSUS) 3.0 Administration Console. SCUP uses some of the WSUS public APIs for publishing (more on that later) and update creation. This will have to be downloaded and installed onto your workstation prior to installing SCUP. You can find WSUS 3.0 here. Other than Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 (more info here), all other pre-requisites are bundled into the installation and installed automatically.
The biggest change is that SCUP publishes updates to WSUS 3.0 to be consumed by SCE and ConfigMgr. This is changed from the CUPT release where it directly published updates to Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 R2 sites servers. Therefore SCUP cannot be used in an SMS 2003 R2 environment for publishing. If you publish updates to SMS 2003 R2 you will need to continue using CUPT.
The Software Distribution Package (SDP) schema has slightly changed in SCUP. There are a couple of rules that were deprecated in the new version. SCUP no longer supports software update definitions using the Registry Binary Value rule and the Digest attribute in the File Exists rule as it did in CUPT. Also there is a new schema addition for expiring an update. This new feature will be used to expire updates in WSUS which will then stop them from being included in future deployments.
Due to the fact you now have SCUP and CUPT which can create/edit/publish updates with different schema’s there needed a way for an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) to publish one catalog which can be consumed by SMS 2003 R2, ConfigMgr 07 and SCE. To enable this scenario “Compatibility Mode” was created, which will only create valid SDP that can be consumed by both CUPT and SCUP. Meaning when “Compatibility Mode” is turned on you will produce SDP that does not contain expired updates and deprecated rules.
To enable “Compatibility Mode” open SCUP, click on Settings -> Advanced Tab -> Check “Enable compatibility mode with previous update format”.
Exporting/Publishing UI changes
The main UI change made in SCUP was to remove the creation of the published catalog to the “Export” wizard. This enabled the “Publish Update(s)” wizard to only do publishing to WSUS. Unlike when you publish in CUPT, you no longer need a catalog of updates pushed to the SMS 2003 R2 Site Server’s package source for scanning with the Inventory Tool for Custom Updates (ITCU). With SCUP you publish each individual update in to the WSUS database directly, no catalog generation is necessary. Therefore it was necessary to remove the creation of the published catalog to the Export wizard. This allowed all export catalog options to be located in the same wizard. Now when ISVs want to publish their catalogs to the web they can by choosing the “Export all updates in the updates publisher database that have the publish flag set” option in the Export Wizard. This option will create the catalog (cab file) as well as the signature (xml file) that can be posted online for use with SCUP/CUPTs subscribed catalogs.
Microsoft Update Catalog
In SCUP, you now have a link (Microsoft Catalog) on the main page to the Microsoft Update Catalog website. Imbedded into the link are required parameters needed to download and directly import your updates into your WSUS environment to be used with ConfigMgr and SCE. Microsoft Update Catalog website provides updates, including hotfixes which are generally provided by Microsoft Customer Service & Support.
Hello, my name is Jason Lewis, and I am a Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) on the System Center Configuration Management (aka Systems Management Server) eXtreme Team here at Microsoft. I’ve been with the team for 2 ½ years. I’ve worked on products such as System Management Server 2003 SP2 and R2 including the Custom Updates Publishing Tool (CUPT), Inventory Tool for Custom Updates (ITCU) and System Center Updates Publisher (SCUP). I’ve created this blog to get in touch with customers and to help educate them on the use of these new products. Most of the topics will be covering products that I’ve worked on or am working on including “FYI” and “How To” topics. If there are any topics you would like covered please email your suggestions.
Look for some blog entries in the coming days.