During a System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (ConfigMgr 2012) implementation, I had a need to install the client to large groups of computers based on subnet in a controlled manner. For a controlled client installation, I think one of the simplest ways is to group the systems together in a collection and then install the client from the console from the actions menu to the whole collection. However, the customer had a requirement that the client push had to be performed on a subnet by subnet basis and the newly discovered computers didn’t have subnet information yet to easily create a query collection based on subnet or IP.
Well, instead of creating a script that would add computers from a list to a collection (or manually creating collections with direct memberships) and then me doing the client install per collection, I was able to leverage a tool in System Center Configuration Manager 2012 that assists you in creating CCR records for manual deployment of clients. The Generate CCR Tool (ClientPushGenerator.exe) was exactly what I needed for a controlled deployment into the environment.
To start, I was able to create lists of computer names based on subnet and saved each list off to a separate text file. I then launched the ClientPushGenerator.exe from the <configmgr install folder>\AdminConsole\bin on a Configuration Manager site server. It launched a tool that allowed me to choose the text file of computer names (each computer on a separate line) and choose the site they would be assigned to. I also had the option to choose whether I wanted to force the installation (Always install the client). Note that this is not required for upgrading SCCM 2007 clients to 2012.
I used the tool to generate CCR files to initiate a client push deployment to the computers in the text file. After monitoring for status and having the customer satisfied with the results, we repeated the steps for each subnet over a controlled period, monitoring each deployment set for success and impact. We were able to deploy 100+ subnets quickly this way with great results. Once we reached a majority of installs we were able to enable Client Push for the site and allow the rest of the systems to automatically get installed that we didn’t have in the lists.
While there are many ways to get your client deployed, this was a quick way to process some pre-defined lists of computers to stage the client rollout. If you want to use this tool, you don’t have to do this by subnet. This is just how the customer wanted their deployment groups to be processed in my case. No need to write a custom script now to generate those CCR files.
Principle Consultant, System Management and Operations