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System Center Configuration Manager 2007 : Available Reports and Use Cases (part 2) - Reporting on Sites, Reporting on Configuration Manager Operations

4/29/2013 4:00:01 PM

2. Reporting on Sites

ConfigMgr reporting can report on your ConfigMgr 2007 hierarchy and sites. Although the SMS Site – General and SMS Site – Server Information report categories together only contain five reports, these reports provide a high-level overview of some of the most important site attributes and site status information. Here are the reports in the SMS Site – General category:

  • Sites by hierarchy with time of last site status update— As the report description states, this report displays the list of sites in hierarchy order and shows the last time the site status was updated. The ConfigMgr status system does not automatically display a degraded site status in the ConfigMgr console tree when a site has not recently reported any status. This report is therefore a good starting point for checking the health of the hierarchy. Figure 10 shows the Sites by hierarchy with time of last site status update report.

    Figure 10. Sites by hierarchy with time of last site status update report
  • Computers in a specific site— This report displays basic information about all computers in the site.

Reports in the SMS Site – Server Information category display the site system roles and provide status information for distribution points and branch distribution points.

3. Reporting on Configuration Manager Operations

Reporting is an essential part of day-to-day operations in your ConfigMgr sites. You can utilize ConfigMgr reporting to describe the operation of ConfigMgr activities including software distribution, software updates management, device management, software metering, DCM, OSD, and NAP. The next sections discuss several of these areas.

Reporting on Software Distribution

You can use ConfigMgr reports to help you plan, manage, and assess your software distribution services. Here are the report categories Microsoft provides, related to each major step of the software distribution process:

  • Software Distribution – Packages

  • Software Distribution – Collections

  • Software Distribution – Advertisements

  • Software Distribution – Advertisement Status

The All Packages report provides summary information for all packages available at the site. One of the most challenging aspects of software distribution is ensuring packages are available and up to date at the correct distribution points. ConfigMgr reporting provides a number of reports in this area:

  • Several reports relating to packages allow you to view information such as all packages on a specific distribution point, distribution status for a particular package, and all active distribution activity.

  • Two new reports with ConfigMgr 2007 R2 support virtual application distribution, reporting on streaming store distribution status for virtual application packages on a per package and per distribution point basis.

A second challenge in software distribution is ensuring the targeted collections have the correct membership, and the collection’s maintenance window schedule does not conflict with the distribution. Here are two reports to assist with this:

  • The All resources in a specific collection report is useful for reviewing collection membership.

  • The Maintenance Windows Available to a Particular Client report is useful for planning software distribution and helping you determine whether the maintenance window feature prevented an advertisement from running.

Tip: Evaluating Collection Membership Locally

Although collection membership rules are replicated down the ConfigMgr hierarchy, each primary site evaluates collection membership based on the inventory and discovery data in its local site database. Although the All resources in a specific collection report is a useful way to look at collection membership at the site containing your reporting point, keep in mind that collection membership might be evaluated differently at the client’s assigned site.

Clients receive policy, including advertisements, from their assigned site. If you troubleshoot a software distribution issue and the client’s site does not have a reporting point, you can use the ConfigMgr console to connect directly to the assigned site and view the collection membership as it is evaluated locally.

The Advertisements category includes reports about all advertisements, advertisements based on a particular package, and advertisements to a particular client or collection. These reports help answer questions such as

  • “Who has a particular package been advertised to?”

  • “What software has been advertised to a user’s machine?”

The Advertisement Status category helps you assess the ultimate results of software distribution and troubleshoot any issues with advertised software. This set of reports provides an excellent example of ConfigMgr reporting’s drill through functionality. The All advertisements report provides an overview of your ConfigMgr advertisements. From the All advertisements report, you can drill down into the status of an individual advertisement by clicking the link in the left column. This link opens the Status of a specific advertisement report, which shows the count and percentage of clients for each acceptance status and status. Clients might have the following acceptance statuses:

  • Accepted

  • Expired

  • No Status

  • Rejected

Those clients that have accepted the advertisement also report a last status, which can have the following values:

  • Accepted – No Further Status

  • Cancelled

  • Failed

  • No Status

  • Reboot Pending

  • Retrying

  • Running

  • Succeeded

  • Waiting

For each status category, the Status of a specific advertisement report provides a link to the All system resources for a specific advertisement in a specific state report, which lists the systems in the specified state and provides some system and status details. Finally, the All system resources for a specific advertisement in a specific state report provides a link to the Advertisement status messages for a particular client and advertisement report for each system, which displays the status messages in detail. Together these reports comprise a powerful tool for tracking the progress of your advertisements.

For advertised task sequences, reports in the Task Sequences categories provide additional details on the progress and status of the task sequences. The Task Sequence – References report also gives the packages references by each task sequence.

ConfigMgr 2007 R2 adds the Virtual Applications report category, including reports on software you distribute as virtual applications using the new R2 application virtualization capabilities. These reports provide a comprehensive summary of your virtual applications and information about virtual application launch failures.

Reporting on Software Updates

ConfigMgr includes an extensive and highly organized set of reports for tracking software updates. Here are the categories used for the software updates reports:

  • The Compliance category contains nine reports that display compliance information on a per system, per product, and per update basis, and overall compliance summaries.

  • The Deployment Management category provides eight reports on the contents of your deployments and the systems they target.

  • The Deployment States category includes seven reports on the state of each deployment and on specific systems. Microsoft defines 24 possible deployment states, such as installed, not required, and various detailed pending, downloading, or failure states.

  • The Scan category consists of four reports with details of the last time your clients were scanned, and the scan results.

  • The Troubleshooting category provides four reports on scan errors and deployment errors that you can use to quickly identify problems with your software update services.

  • The Distribution Status for SMS 2003 Clients category contains two reports on the status of deployments to SMS 2003 clients in your sites.

ConfigMgr reporting is one of the major advantages for using ConfigMgr software updates over a standalone WSUS implementation in enterprise environments.

Reporting on Operating System Deployment

You can use reporting to help plan and track your OS deployment operations. Reports you can use to support OS deployment include the following:

  • Upgrade Assessment reports for Windows Vista specify the systems meeting the minimum or recommended requirements for Vista upgrades, and those that do not.

  • Driver Management reports list the drivers in your packages and boot images, match drivers to computers and collections, and display driver installation failures.

  • State Migration reports track the activity of your state migration points and the details of state migration for individual computers.

  • Some of the report categories used with software distribution also provide visibility into OS deployment operations. The Task Sequence – Progress category includes the Progress of OS deployment task sequences report. You can use additional reports in the Task Sequence and Software Distribution categories to view details and status information for advertisements and distribution operations supporting OS distribution.

Reporting on Desired Configuration Management

Reporting is an essential part of DCM. Reports in the Desired Configuration Management – Compliance category are at the heart of an effective DCM implementation:

  • You can use the compliance reports at a high level to assess regulatory compliance or compliance with internal standards.

  • You can use drill-through functionality to view details about compliance issues that you can use to guide your remediation efforts.

As you deploy configuration baselines, you want to view reports such as the Summary compliance by configuration baseline report to see an overview of how your systems measure up against the baseline. From this report, you can select a configuration item you are interested in and drill down to the Compliance details for a Configuration baseline by configuration item report. You then see the compliance for the selected configuration item by system and can use the link for an individual computer to view the Summary compliance for a configuration item by computer report. Finally, you can open the links for Non-compliance details for a configuration item on a computer report to view the details of compliance issues related to the selected item.

DCM reporting provides flexibility in viewing compliance data. An alternative to analyzing compliance with respect to specific baselines and configuration items is to begin with the Summary compliance for a collection by computer report and analyze compliance on a per system basis.

While reports in the Compliance category help manage compliance in your environment, DCM reporting provides two additional categories to assist with managing DCM itself:

  • The Desired Configuration Management – Assignment category displays the baseline assigned to a collection or an individual computer.

  • You can use reports in the Desired Configuration Management – Errors category to identify and evaluate errors for troubleshooting DCM.

Tip: Using SQL Reporting Services to Provide Historical Data

The ConfigMgr database maintains historical data for some items, such as inventory, but not for others such as DCM. One way to maintain a history for DCM baseline compliance or other items that do not maintain history is to create an SRS subscription delivering reports to a file share using incrementally named files. 

Reporting on Other Configuration Manager Operations

In addition to those reports in the preceding sections, Microsoft provides report categories to assist with implementing the following ConfigMgr features:

  • Device Management— Reports in the Device Management category provide details about devices connected to client computers via ActiveSync, device client agents, and device issues such as low battery state and low disk space.

  • Network Access Protection— An important planning step for deploying NAP includes reporting on NAP-capable and NAP-upgradable computers, then using the List of computers that would be non-compliant based on selected software updates report to assess the impact of enforcing NAP in your environment. After deploying NAP, you can use reports to list NAP policies and view remediation details.

  • Software Metering— ConfigMgr gathers usage data for any application you specified in software metering rules. Reports on software metering data allow you to verify license compliance and analyze usage trends to help you plan software purchases. Reporting on computers with a metered program installed that have not run the program since a specified date can help reclaim licenses by identifying applications that are not in use and can be removed.

  • Wake On LAN— You can report on Wake On LAN (WOL) activity in your ConfigMgr environment, including a history of WOL activity, pending activity and errors that have occurred.

Status Message Reporting

Status messages are one of the primary troubleshooting tools in ConfigMgr 2007. ConfigMgr server components and client systems generate status messages to report on errors, warnings, or important milestone activities that take place during ConfigMgr operations. You have already seen how reports such as the Advertisement status messages for a particular client and advertisement report display status message information related to particular ConfigMgr operations . Reports in the Status Message category provide a more comprehensive view of the status of your ConfigMgr sites, site components, and computer systems. Here are some reports you can use to provide an overview of how your site is functioning:

  • Count errors in the last 12 hours

  • Component messages for the last 12 hours

  • Fatal errors (by component)

  • Last 1000 messages for a specific server component

You can also use status messages reports to view status information about the computers in your hierarchy and about specific computers. Some reports that assess computer status include the following:

  • Fatal errors (by computer name)

  • Last 1000 messages for a specific computer (Errors)

  • Last 1000 messages for a specific computer (Errors and Warnings)

A particularly valuable report is All messages for a specific message ID. Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) articles and other documentation often refer to message IDs to look for when troubleshooting specific problems or confirming normal operational milestones. The All messages for a specific message ID report helps you quickly locate all occurrences of a specific message in your environment.

Reports in the Status Messages – Audit category allow you to track the usage of these sensitive operations that touch ConfigMgr clients:

  • Remote Control

  • Out of Band Management Console Activity

Both types of operations allow administrative users to interact directly with client systems. You can view reports on all audited activity or on activity by a specific user. Audit reports also include console activity such as adding, modifying, or deleting ConfigMgr objects.

Note: Effect of Status Filter Rules and Maintenance Tasks on Audit Reports

When a ConfigMgr site receives a status message, it processes the message according to settings specified in the site’s status filter rules.The Write audit messages to the site database and specify the period after which the user can delete the messages status filter rule is enabled by default and determines the handling of audit messages. Using the default settings for this rule, the ConfigMgr status message system writes all audit messages to the site database with a minimum retention period of 180 days and does not replicate audit messages to the parent site.

For reporting purposes, verify that the rules are configured so that all status messages in the audit reports are replicated to the reporting site and written to the site database at that site. The Delete Aged Status Messages site maintenance task removes status messages from the site database when the minimum retention period has expired. If you have this task enabled, you should make sure that the minimum retention period specified on the status filter rule’s Actions tab complies with your organization’s audit retention requirements. 

Viewing Status Message Details

Figure 18.14 previously showed how to use the report Properties Links tab to link a report to the Computer Details for each client machine displayed in the report. On the same tab, you can choose the Link to Status Message Details option. This option provides a link next to each row of the report, which opens the details of the status message associated with that row. On the Links tab, you must specify the column that contains the status message record ID, which uniquely identifies the specific message. An example of a report that links to status message details is the All messages for a specific message ID report displayed in Figure 11.

Figure 11. The All messages for a specific message ID report for message ID 30061

The first row of the report in Figure 11 displays summary information for the status message with record ID 118719. Clicking the link next to this row displays detailed information for that event occurrence. Figure 12 displays the details for this status message.

Figure 12. Status message details for a particular occurrence of message 30061

The description provides sufficient information to tell us that the Administrator account changed the permissions on the package with ID CEN00006, which turns out to be Adobe_Reader_Adobe_9_MNT. The message does not describe what specific permissions were changed.

Finding Reports that Link to Status Message Details

To display information about which reports contain links to status message details, perform the following steps:

Expand the ConfigMgr console tree to System Center Configuration Manager -> Site Database -> Computer Management -> Reporting.

Right-click the Reports node and choose View -> Add/Remove columns from the context menu.

In the Add/Remove columns dialog box, select Status Message Detail Source from the available columns list.

Click the Add button to move the selection to the displayed columns list, and then click OK.

You now see the Status Message Detail Source column in the list of reports with a value of True for reports that implement this feature and False for those reports that do not. You can sort on this column by double-clicking the column header, which moves all reports with Status Message Details to the bottom of the list.

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