Michael Niehaus' Windows and Office deployment ramblings
System Center 2012 Configure Manager includes an application catalog web site, which allows end users to select the applications that they want to install. As part of this, they provide the ability to specify that approval is required before the software can be installed, a required feature in most enterprises. If you aren’t familiar with the application catalog, the blog posting at http://blogs.technet.com/b/ptsblog/archive/2011/12/20/configuration-manager-2012-rc-configure-software-catalogue-portal-and-publish-applications.aspx goes through the flow (although it’s slightly out of date, it gets the point across).
But out of the box, approvals come from exactly one source: the ConfigMgr administrator. What if you want others to do the approvals (mainly because you have better things to do)? That’s where the newest free solution accelerator comes in. The Application Approval Workflow solution accelerator was announced on the Service Manager blog at the beginning of this week:
The solution works by leveraging three different System Center 2012 products:
The beta ends soon, so download quickly. Expect to see more about this at MMS 2012 too.
I was going to do a blog posting talking about how to troubleshoot issues with the new monitoring feature available in MDT 2012 for Lite Touch deployments, but then I realized I’ve not yet done an initial post talking about the feature (although I did mention it in a previous blog posting talking about DaRT integration). So I guess I need to start with more of an overview.
Over the years, there have been requests for a way to see what deployments are presently in progress. Way back when, we had a MOM management pack that tried to do this, but there were numerous challenges with that so we ended up removing it – we needed something much simpler. So with MDT 2012, we implemented something simpler to monitor Lite Touch deployments. To enable this, just check one box in the deployment share properties:
When you do this, two things happen:
That’s all there is to it. Once you do that, you should be able to track all subsequent deployments via the “Monitoring” node in Deployment Workbench:
If you look at the properties of any of the computers being monitored, you can see the details:
You’ll notice that the display automatically updates every 10 seconds, so you can watch the computer progress. Also, there are three possible buttons (two of which are shown below):
A few other details:
That’s the quick overview.
For those of you who have already installed MDT 2012 RC1, you might notice that there is a new behavior in Deployment Workbench: It will keep the list of items (applications, drivers, OS packages, task sequences) in alphabetical order.
Now when you first install MDT 2012 RC1, you might notice that the items aren’t sorted right away – you have to change something in the folder first. As soon as you do (e.g. add an item, rename an item), the items in that folder will be sorted.
Keeping the list of folders sorted is a much bigger challenge, so at this point they will still show up in the order that they were added. That’s something we will have to look at again in a future version.