March 29 2012

HP driver packages for SCCM

HP have finally released a tool to make it easier to obtain full driver packs for their hardware. In the past we have had to individually download each driver manually from the HP website, this was very painful and time consuming. Hopefully their new tool will eliminate a lot of this pain and time (Dell’s equivalent was released about 5 years ago!)  More info:

 

 

March 27 2012

Running multiple commands in SCCM ‘Run Command Line’ Task Sequence step

A quick post on something that’s not overly technical. I was editing a SCCM task sequence and I wanted to run multiple commands on the task sequence ‘Run Command Line’ step without using a batch file.  I remember that Command Processor allows the & character to join commands together. I tested this out in the task sequence step and it work successfully. In this example it was “cmd /c del c:windowssystem32hal.dll /Q & cmd /c del c:windowssystem32ntoskrnl.exe /Q & cmd /c del c:windowssystem32ntkrnlpa.exe /Q ”

 

 

March 24 2012

Difference between IT architect roles

Enterprise Architect vs Solutions Architect vs Infrastructure Architect vs Technical Architect.

The term Architect is thrown around very easily within IT departments these days.  While it is already hard enough to explain to someone outside of IT what your job role involves, a lot of people within IT departments including senior management don’t understand the different type of architect roles that can exist within large enterprise IT environments.

After recently studying for TOGAF certification, I realised that I couldn’t find a conclusive definition for these vastly different IT architect roles, so I thought that I would write a quick post on my understanding and summary of the different roles based on my experience within organisations and several online sources that I list below.

 

Enterprise Architect

I propose the an Enterprise Architect (EA) is a planning role that is responsible for identifying the future state of an organization’s IT environment and engage wherever and whomever necessary to help guide project teams to deliver toward it. To date I haven’t seen any other titles for this role. An EA would ensure IT investments are aligned with business strategy.  As well as a close relationship with the business and vendors, the role has high interaction with the CIO and in smaller organisations this role may not exist as the function is performed as part of the CIO’s role. Responsible for strategic thinking, roadmaps, principles and governance of the entire enterprise.

 

Solutions Architect

I propose that a Solutions Architect (SA) focuses on delivery of a particular solution. In some organisations I have seen this role be tied to developing software based solutions, however I think this is not a correct job description.  The solution architect is responsible for implementing a strategic IT program within the framework laid down by the enterprise architecture (EA) team. From the diagram below you can see that they sit somewhere between the EA and the TA in terms of technology vs strategic focus.

 

Technical Architect

The technical architect is usually a technology specialist in a particular technology or group of inter-related technologies.  I have seen job titles vary for this role and they may also include Infrastructure Architect, Domain Architect, Application Architect, Network Architect, Security Architect.

 

Cc505970.jour15_BecomingAnArchitect_Fig01(en-us,MSDN.10).jpg

 

Of course there are hybrids of these roles to suit particular organisations, a recent example that pops into my mind was a Infrastructure Solution Architect role who’s accountabilities were somewhere between a Solutions Architect and a Technical Architect.

I’m happy for people to comment and add their observations.  I’m not claiming that this a 100% accurate description of the roles as they can vary from organisation to organisation (especially in services organisations vs inhouse IT departments) however this is a good guide based on my knowledge of the industry.

My online resources for this summary include:

 

 

March 21 2012

Design changes in SCCM 2012

There are a few newly published articles on Technet that give some nice details of the major changes in SCCM 2012:

  • http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2012/03/08/the-biggest-changes-in-hierarchy-design-in-configuration-manager-2012.aspx
  • http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2012/03/06/data-replication-in-system-center-2012-configuration-manager.aspx
  • http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2012/02/22/options-for-managing-remote-offices-with-configuration-manager-2012.aspx
  • http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2012/02/29/hierarchy-design-in-system-center-2012-configuration-manager.aspx

 

March 15 2012

TOGAF 9 Certified

Just a quick post today to announce that I am now TOGAF 9 Certified. After studying on and off for the last year I knuckled down in the last few weeks and sat the double exam (OG0-093) today.

For those that are unfamiliar with Enterprise Architecture (EA), TOGAF is a well recognised framework for EA which provides a comprehensive approach for designing, planning, implementation, and governance of an enterprise information architecture (yes – straight from Wikipedia).

During my studies I came across this great quick reference guide for TOGAF topics, concepts, definitions etc – check it out here – http://chriseaton.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/togaf-1.pdf. What other material did I use?

 

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March 14 2012

SCCM BDPs needing restart after client installation

I had been distibuting packages to BDPs across a few SCCM enviornments and after monitoring report 136 I noticed that there were lots of packages still ‘Waiting to install package’ even after a few days . I checked the DataTransferService.log on the problem BDPs and noticed:

DTS::AddTransportSecurityOptionsToBITSJob – Failed to QueryInterface for IBackgroundCopyJobHttpOptions. BITS 2.5+ may not be installed properly.

These BDPs were running Windows 2003 x86 SP2. KB923845 (BITS 2.5) is installed with the SCCM client agent if it isn’t already installed. It isn’t obvious, but to utilise BITS 2.5, the client will require a restart.

I can verify that this needs a restart because within WindowsSystem32, files like Bitsprx2.dll change from version 6.6.xxx before the restart to 6.7.xxx after the restart. KB923845 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923845) indicates that these are the files that are updated in this hotfix.

Once the BDP was restarted, the error went away and the DataTransferService, PeerDPAgent and ContentTransferManager logs all show that data is being processed again.