Saturday, April 28, 2012

WSUS: Update Classifications Explained...

I'm in the process of setting up A Software Update Point (SUP) with SCCM 2012. When I was settung up the "Update Classifications" portion I have to admit I was a little bit confused about what some of the classifications actually meant. I did a little digging, found what each one dies and I thought I'd post it here for reference:

  • Critical updates:
    Broadly released fixes for specific problems addressing critical, non-security related bugs.

  • Definition Updates:
    Updates to anti-malware or other definition files.

  • Feature Packs:
    New product functionality usually included in the next full product release.

  • Security Updates:
    Broadly released fixes for specific products, addressing security issues.

  • Service Packs:
    Cumulative sets of all hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates created since the release of the product. Service packs might also contain a limited number of customer-requested design changes or features.
  • Tools:
    Utilities or features that aid in accomplishing a task or set of tasks.

  • Update Rollups:
    Cumulative sets of hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates packaged together for easy deployment. A rollup generally targets a specific area, such as security, or a specific component, such as Internet Information Services (IIS).
  • Updates:
    Broadly released fixes for specific problems addressing non-critical, non-security related bugs.

Hope this helps someone!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Books: 'The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea' by Michael Harney

I got a copy of this as a gift recently. If you'd like to learn more about the varieties of tea in the world, where they come from, how they are made, the history behind them, etc then this is the book for you. Michael Harney does a very good job breaking down each type of tea and even introduced me to a few I had never heard of. Michael also outlines the history of each type of tea he covers along with providing lots of his own personal anecdotes and experiences as he journeys to other countries in search of the perfect "cuppa". If you're a tea snob I highly recommend getting copy of this book. Be warned though. Michael has lived and amazing tea-centric life. If you're like me you'll be very jealous of his experiences and want to plan your own expeditions to foreign lands in search of tea...

The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea @ Amazon:

SCCM 2012: “*** *** Unknown SQL Error!” entries in SCCM log files

I had some major issues with this last error on our new SCCM 2012 server week. I worked on it for two solid days before I cried uncle and finally called Microsoft. Turns out the issue was caused when one of our database guys moved my SCCM database to a separate drive for "performance tuning". Since it was such a tough nut for us to crack I thought I'd post about it. According to the person I spoke with at Microsoft the SCCM database owner should *ALWAYS* be the "sa" account. Moving databases in SQL Server can cause the database ownership to change from “sa” to the user account of the person performing the move. If this happens the SCCM database owner *must* be changed back to "sa". A symptom of this issue is a constant string of “*** *** Unknown SQL Error!” entries in the SCCM log files every time it tries to write to the database.

Also when you need to make database configuration changes its a good idea to log into the SCCM server using your SCCM service account (which you should have set up prior to installing SCCM) and make all changes under that account so that if ownership does change at least the ownership will be designated to the SCCM service account and not your personal user account. This will ensure that your user-specific domain account is not accidentally given ownership of some SCCM-critical database related item. Plus (while it may not work every time) there’s a good chance that even if the SCCM service account somehow gets ownership of the item you change there’s it *could* continue to function just fine (as this account should have been set up by you as a local admin on your  SCCM Server and also as a SysAdmin on your SQL Server).

Here's a couple of useful SQL queries to help troubleshoot this issue (run from SQL Server Management Studio):

-- Check Database ownership:
EXEC sp_helpdb

-- Change a Database owner to 'SA'
USE <myDatabaseName>
EXEC sp_changedbowner 'sa'

System Center: 2012 Product Families released!

I've not posted in a while because I've been int he thick of a Configuration Manager 2012 rollout at work. I've had some interesting experiences with setting this up and I plan to blog about them in the near future. For now here's some links if you are planning to get started on this yourself:

Microsoft Server & Cloud Platform Products & Solutions Site:

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Survival Guide:

Good luck getting started! Just remember its a beast if you don't set things up properly out the gate so take your time, plan-plan-plan and test-test-test!