ConfigMgr–Updates and Servicing - Servicing KB3122637 using the Easy Setup Channel

 

Microsoft have just released a hotfix (KB3122637) to resolve an issue around support for the Exchange Connector, that impacts both the older and new version of ConfigMgr. I’ll use this hotfix to demo the Updates and Servicing feature, also known as the Easy Setup Channel, and it really does make an administrators life easier.

This is something I’ve wanted for a very long time, to integrate updates so that we don’t have to manage them manually, and Microsoft have nailed this as far as I can see, without using SUS, which wasn’t an appropriate channel for content delivery for ConfigMgr due to interactivity and such.

 

Here is the hotfix that drives this guide along:

 

FIX: Mobile devices aren't listed in System Center Configuration Manager

 

Symptoms

In a Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager environment in which the Microsoft Exchange Server connector is configured for use with Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, mobile devices aren't listed as expected in the All Mobile Devices node of the administrator console. Additionally, errors that resemble the following are recorded in the EasDisc.log file on the Configuration Manager site server:

ERROR: [MANAGED] Invoking cmdlet Get-Recipient failed. Exception: System.Management.Automation.RemoteException: Cannot bind parameter 'Filter' to the target. Exception setting "Filter": "The value "$true" could not be converted to type System.Boolean….
STATMSG: ID=8817 SEV=W LEV=M SOURCE="SMS Server" COMP="SMS_EXCHANGE_CONNECTOR" …
ERROR: [MANAGED] Exception: Cannot bind parameter 'Filter' to the target. Exception setting "Filter": "The value "$true" could not be converted to type System.Boolean."
ERROR: Failed to check status of discovery thread of managed COM. error = Unknown error 0x80131501


Note
 This log entry is truncated for readability.

This issue applies to the following versions of System Center Configuration Manager:

  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager version 1511
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 2
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1

 

For the older versions of ConfigMgr, you’d go through the usual steps of downloading this hotfix by requesting it initially (or in some cases directly downloading from within the Bulletin):

 

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You’d then check your emails, find the offered link and click through, waiting for the download to finish, moving it onto the Site server and performing an installation, but for the latest version of ConfigMgr “System Center Configuration Manager” this can all be done in-console using the Updates and Servicing feature, and we’re going to see it in action as it delivers and installs a hotfix to a System Center Configuration Manager Build 1511 Standalone Primary Site server.

The Updates and Servicing feature operates on a 24 hour cycle, checking in with Microsoft via the Service Connection Point to see if an updated version of Manifest.CAB (becomes ConfigMgr.Update.Manifest.CAB) exists. You can shorten this cycle on the day of a release by recycling the SMS_SITE_COMPONENT_MANAGER service, which will make the Site perform this check. Once the CAB has been processed it’ll then validate that any available content is applicable to the Site server, and in the case of KB3122637 the validation check is to see if the Exchange Server Connector is configured for use.

Note for the curious, the CAB file is transitive, once processed, it is gone, you can catch the CAB if you are timely, eagle eyed and crack it open for a look, if so inclined.

Below you can see that the Site server became aware of the hotfix after processing the updated ConfigMgr.Update.Manifest.CAB file, and began to download the content for us from Microsoft using BITS over HTTPS:

 

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You can check out the DMPDownloader log for a transcript of what is going on:

 

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Once its downloaded, unpacked and made ready, a refresh in the Console will reveal its state change from Downloading to Available:

 

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We’re now ready to apply this hotfix to the Site server.

Backup your site servers Database and CD.Latest folder, there is some good guidance on doing this from Kent Agerlund here. You should really do this every single time you make significant change to the Site server, such as applying a hotfix .We know the risk is low for a hotfix, but the effort to recover without being prepared is magnified if you do not have current backups,  and is less awesome than being prepared. Remember, we’re supposed to be the most diligent and careful of administrators due to the nature of this product, we are carved out this way eventually because we’re holding the reigns to a product that can cripple or wipe out an entire organisation, so taking the role seriously by making sure you are able to revert to a recent backup shows good diligence, and makes you look as cool as a cat to other administrators and your boss.

We’re going to run the prerequisite checker ahead of installing the hotfix, although the checker is run whenever you attempt to install, so this step will cause process duplication, but will give us insight into any failure points before we’ve committed the content for installation.

Right click the entry for KB3122637 and select Run prerequisite check

 

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It’ll update the State to become Checking prerequisites:

 

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After a short while and one console refresh later, the prerequisite checker has completed, and sput out a result for us to observe:

 

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We can take a look at what messages came back for the prerequisite check, especially if it didn’t pass, you can either click Show Status, or visit Site Servicing which resides in the Monitoring Node:

 

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Right click the entry, and vigorously demand access to Show Status using the left mouse button:

 

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Here are the results:

 

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Now return back to Administration, Updates and Servicing, right click KB3122637 and Select Install Update Pack:

 

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We’re welcomed by the Configuration Manager Updates Wizard, friendly, full of brevity, and eager to service the site at a few clicks:

 

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We get a list of content and what type, in this case Configuration Manager site server updates, Select Next:

 

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Usual EULA, tick off I Accept … and Select Next:

 

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Our summary is short and details what we will be applying, Select Next:

 

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Ok that is it, the process is underway, Select Close:

 

Checking back in the Console shows us that the process has begun by invoking the prerequisite checker again:

 

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A few minutes later the prerequisite checker completes successfully (passed):

 

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Right clicking the entry above will show the context menu, and all entries are now greyed out during the servicing process, another indicator that we are underway:

 

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Now we wait a short while and things will kick off. At this point head on over to the CMUpdate log file to see the action at a log level:

 

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Once the hotfix installation is fully underway we’ll see that reflected in the Console, but this takes a bit of time to show up since the Site is taken down for the hotfix to be installed (SMS_EXECUTIVE and other services are stopped), and the status update is only changed when servicing is completed.

 

One more reference to the CMUpdate log, to show that the show is over, the hotfix is now installed:

 

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A quick refresh of the console and we see the status is updated, and in this case, the update package containing the KB3122637 hotfix has been installed successfully:

 

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And that is it, we’re done here.

Key take-away points here are:

  • We initiated the installation in-console and didn’t visit a web browser, or use email to initiate the activity
  • We did not download anything and did not have to man-handle any content whatsoever
  • We could observe activity in several logs such as DMPDownloader and CMUpdate, as well as from within the Console but observed that the log is a better way to monitor activity
  • Servicing a Site server becomes a cinch with the Updates and Servicing feature

The Updates and Servicing feature is the cornerstone for applying new builds and hotfixes.

 

And there is more, such as poking around at this Updates and Servicing mechanism such as Offline servicing, and going under the hood, in WMI, SQL, and is something maybe I’ll do in another guide.

 

For now, you’ve just witnessed how easy it is to provision “content” from the new servicing model, which came from product group developers\engineers who put it together, all the way down the chain, through the testing group, mostly dog fooded in the TP releases, then to System Center Configuration Manager Current Branch, and most likely you, unless you are running the long term service branch.

With this servicing model Microsoft is better capable of responding\reacting to issues and providing fixes than ever before, and I like it.