In this second blog of mine, along with my coworker Partha Chandran, we are going to talk about the Distribution Point migration from Configuration Manager 2007 using the migration feature of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. Before we dive into the steps that are involved in the actual migration process of converting Distribution Points from Configuration Manager 2007 to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, we would like to share some of the key considerations we took into account before deciding on our  approach. Also, we will share some of the benefits we found along the way with our approach to migration.  

Distribution Point Migration Planning & Considerations:

  1. Using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager migration feature, you can migrate objects (Packages, Collections, etc.) from Configuration Manager 2007 to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, thereby making content on the Distribution Points immediately available post migration. In our environment, since we were participating in the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager dogfood program (early testing of beta products) we already had created all required packages and collections required for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients, hence we didn’t have to migrate objects over again from Configuration Manager 2007.
  2. If you have a Secondary Site in your Configuration Manager 2007 environment which has only a Distribution Point role installed without any Proxy Management Point, you may want to consider replacing it with a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Distribution Point. In System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, the Distribution Point role supports throttling and scheduling capabilities similar to Configuration Manager 2007 Secondary sites.
  3. While planning the migration of Configuration Manager 2007 Secondary Sites & Distribution Points attached to the Secondary sites, ensure that you move Configuration Manager 2007 Distribution Points first and then Configuration Manager 2007 Secondary sites later. This will ensure that the Configuration Manager 2007 Distribution Points don’t get orphaned in Configuration Manager 2007 environment. While this is  a pretty obvious point, we wanted to call this out so that you take it into account during your planning phase.  
  4. During migration, Configuration Manager 2007 Distribution Points can be either attached to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Primary Site or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Secondary Sites. However, the Distribution Point cannot be moved after migration to a different site without uninstalling and reinstalling Distribution Point role.
  5. Since System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Distribution Points can have throttling and scheduling capability, configure them appropriately during migration. If you are converting the Configuration Manager 2007 secondary sites to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Distribution Points, remember to port those settings on the Distribution Point configuration.

Having considered the key points around Distribution Point migration, let’s take a look on what is actually involved in the process of migration to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. You can find complete details about System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Migration feature at the http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg712672.aspx.

 

  1. Run the migration job to migrate site objects from Configuration Manager 2007 to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Site.
  2. Since we decided not to migrate package objects from Configuration Manager 2007 to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (see point 1 above), we had to ensure that package content was available on Distribution Points immediately after migration. To asist with that, we used two key features/tools that come with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.
    1. Export Content feature in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Console
    2. ExtractContent Tool in Bin folder of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager installation
  3. Use “Export content” feature in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Console to export all important packages’ content to a pre-staging folder which will be pre-staged on upcoming System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Distribution Points using any of the common replication methods like Robocopy, Configuration Manager 2007, BITS replication, etc. Plan for enough time in advance to ensure the pre-staging folder is available before the Distribution Point is migrated. (Detailed steps mentioned below under section How to Pre-stage  content)
  4. Upgrade the Distribution Point Using Console Migration Node. (Administration Node --> migration -->Distribution Point Upgrades)
  5. In the Distribution Point Upgrade wizard, attach the Distribution Point to its System Center 2012 Configuration Manager parent site.
  6. During the Upgrade process, select Distribution Point as Pre-Stage Enabled. This will ensure that the Distribution Point is not accidentally targeted with packages that are about to be extracted from replicated pre-staging folder.
  7. During the Upgrade process, assign Distribution Point to a DUMMY boundary group to ensure clients don’t hit this Distribution Point looking for content. Please be aware that during this time, clients in that location could potentially go to any unprotected Distribution Point, if available.
  8. Verify Distribution Point installation success status in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Console and uninstall status in Configuration Manager 2007 Console.
  9. Clean up Old Packages on the drive. This should NOT be done, if you chose to migrate Configuration Manager 2007 Package objects.
  10. Extract content from pre-staged location using ExtractContent.exe utility. If you have multiple files to extract, you could automate by running the Extractcontent.exe in a script.
  11. Verify all packages are processed successfully by running the below SQL query against the Site Database. It took approximately 4 hours to extract 50-75 GB content.
  12. Validate clients are retrieving content successfully from the local DP after the upgrade is completed.

SELECT SRL.ServerName, SRL.SiteCode, PKGDS.InstallStatus, COUNT(1) AS COUNT
FROM v_SystemResourceList SRL
JOIN v_PackageStatusDistPointsSumm
PKGDS ON SRL.NALPath = PKGDS.ServerNALPath
WHERE ServerName = <Server FQDN> AND RoleName ='SMS Distribution Point'
GROUP BY SRL.ServerName, SRL.SiteCode, PKGDS.InstallStatus
ORDER BY 4 DESC

     

How to Pre-Stage Content

These steps are required only when you chose not to migrate Package objects using the Migration feature. These steps can also be followed for a few scenarios even beyond migration, for instance when a new Distribution Point is on boarded into the environment and you would like to pre-stage content on that Distribution Point. Or if an old Distribution Point fails and you are planning to replace that server with a new Distribution Point and provision the content on the Distribution Point as soon as possible.

 

  1. Open the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Console and go to Software Library Node
  2. Select one or multiple packages that need to be exported for pre-staging right click and select “Create  Pre-stage Content File”.
  3. Browse and select the Location to Save the created Pre-stage File and Click Next
  4. Verify the list of packages and click in the Next screen
  5. Select the Distribution point that holds the most of the packages. You can select one or multiple Distribution points as content source for creating the Pre-stage File. You can also select the order of the Distribution Points for prioritizing the Distribution Point locations to get the content. If content is not available in the first Distribution Point it automatically looks at next Distribution Point for the Content. Please do not select multiple Distribution Points if not required, as this process takes longer for enumerating all content across all Selected Distribution Points.
  6. Verify your selection with Distribution points, packages and Pre-stage file location and Click Next. To track progress, review the log PrestageContent.log  @ AdminUILog  Location

So far, we have seen what the key planning considerations were to migrate Distribution Points from Configuration Manager 2007 to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, steps involved in the migration process, and also how to pre-stage content on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Distribution Points if you chose not to migrate package objects from Configuration Manager 2007.

By using the out-of-box migration feature in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, we were able to get the following benefits –

  • Minimize the downtime of Distribution Point & Secondary Site during upgrades.
  • Minimize the manual efforts required to perform Distribution Point or Site installation by using inconsole migration feature.
  • Provision the Package content on the Distribution Points immediately post migration, using the pre-stage and ExtractContent utilities.

I hope you found this information on how we migrated Distribution Points & sites from Configuration Manager 2007 to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager helpful. Please post a comment if you have any questions.