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An Overview of Boundaries and Boundary Groups in System Center Configuration Manager 2012 | Trailing Reboot

In working with ConfigMgr 2012 I often encounter image, application, and settings deployment issues that, when investigated often lead back to improperly configured Boundary groups. While this often seems obvious at the end of a troubleshooting session, getting there can be a long and painful process wrought with generic error messages that lead nowhere.

This article serves to take one back to the design and architecture phase of implementing ConfigMgr 2012 and discusses best practices (as developed through working with the product and interacting with the SCCM community) for deploying Boundaries and Boundary Groups. I hope you find it helpful.

 

First lets go over the basics:

From Technet:

In System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, a boundary is a network location on the intranet that can contain one or more devices that you want to manage. Boundaries can be an IP subnet, Active Directory site name, IPv6 Prefix, or an IP address range, and the hierarchy can include any combination of these boundary types. To use a boundary, you must add the boundary to one or more boundary groups. Boundary groups are collections of boundaries. By using boundary groups, clients on the intranet can find an assigned site and locate content when they have to install software, such as applications, software updates, and operating system images.

Each boundary represents a network location in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, and it is available from every site in your hierarchy. A boundary does not enable you to manage clients at the network location. To manage a client, the boundary must be a member of a boundary group.

Key takeaway here is that Boundaries on their own do nothing. They must be added to one or more boundary groups in order to have effect on clients.

Boundaries encompass IP subnets, ranges, and AD sites.

When creating boundary groups you want to, for simplicity sake, create a boundary group for site assignment and a boundary group(s) for content location.

Lets define both:

Site Assignment – The process of associating a resource to a configuration manager site

Content Location – Location where the client will retrieve its deployment content (images, apps, etc)

Lets assume a hypothetical SCCM 2012 environment of 1 site where I have a head office primary site server and 5 satellite sites with distribution points. Given this scenario I would create a Boundary group called “Company Site Assignment” and add all AD site, and IP subnet/range boundaries. By doing this I am saying that no matter where the client is connecting from they should be assigned to the 1 site.

For content location I would create a Boundary group for each site including the head office and name them based on location:

 

HO Content Boundary Group

Satellite 1 Content Boundary Group

Satellite 2 Content Boundary Group

Satellite 3 Content Boundary Group

Satellite 4 Content Boundary Group

Satellite 5 Content Boundary Group

 

I would then assign the IP subnet boundary corresponding to each physical location  ONLY to each site. Microsoft documentation will tell you to use the AD site names first but I, and many others in the SCCM community have seen intermittent issues doing this. Using IP subnet boundaries ensures that the clients get content from the correct location.

 

Do not combine site assignment and content location boundary groups. Doing so results in the odd issues with deployments that I mentioned at the top of the article. Stick to these simple rules and you will have consistent performance in your ConfigMgr environment.

References:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682041.aspx

 

 

 

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