MEMCM Upgrades

D.I.Y MEMCM Upgrades

So, you’ve evaluated the host of new features in the latest branch and your team are ready to move- what should you look out for if you’re planning on going it alone?  Having completed numerous upgrades, and helped even more companies to resolve issues with their projects, I thought you’d appreciate a few pointers on how to avoid some major problems that aren’t always included in the Microsoft manuals.  Even if you’ve done this yourself in the past it’s worthwhile reviewing your implementation plan, as preparation, processes and configurations tend to change as new branches are released. 

Firstly, let’s understand our terminology here- When managing Configuration Manager site and hierarchy infrastructure, the terms upgrade, update, and install are used by Microsoft to describe three separate concepts: 

1. Upgrade or an in-place upgrade 

Is used when converting your Configuration Manager 2012 site or hierarchy, to one that runs Configuration Manager current branch.

2. Update 

is used for installing in-console updates for Configuration Manager and for out-of-band updates – those updates that cannot be delivered from within the Configuration Manager console.

3. Install 

Is used when creating a new Configuration Manager hierarchy from scratch, or adding additional sites to an existing hierarchy. As always, sound preparation is key for whichever route you are planning to take.  In my experience, here are the key things to look at before you begin.

#CHECK THE CHECKLIST

With every feature upgrade you should complete the Microsoft check list, before you get started.  This preparation requires you to remove specific configurations that can prevent a successful upgrade. Then follow the upgrade sequence when more than a single site is involved.

#UPGRADE YOUR ADK

As an on-premises solution, Configuration Manager makes use of your servers, clients, network configurations, and additional products like Microsoft Intune, SQL Server, and Azure. A common mistake is not ensuring that the Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) has been upgraded prior to the update. Before you run Setup, you must download and install Windows 10 ADK on the site server and on each computer that runs an instance of the SMS provider.

#REMOVE DEPLOYMENTS IN CLIENT SETTINGS

More importantly, I have come across numerous issues after upgrade where MEMCM client machines suddenly do not evaluate policy or setting changes, after completion. I’ve spoken to Microsoft Support and we identified that client settings should have the deployments removed and re-deployed, after the upgrade. 

Having done this after every upgrade I’ve completed, I’ve found it has eradicated any client issues, although I still see this on sites where customers have completed their own upgrades. 

#CHECK FOR OTHER CLIENT SETTINGS ISSUES

In previous posts we’ve covered the fact that AV exclusions can have a big impact on performance, and the same applies when you look at upgrades. Here’s a great example:- I was recently at a client and we added in additional Antimalware exclusions, as their MEMCM infrastructure and console were responding slowly. The client was surprised to see that having added these policies in and forcing a synchronisation of the servers, their exclusion list was still not updating. After a quick check, I found that the Client Settings were last deployed in 2016! Deployments for client settings were removed, client settings were re- deployed and, after a sync, the clients are now successfully updating their Antimalware exclusions.

Please note

You won’t find guidance on re-deploying client settings in the Microsoft check list, but this something you should all add to your upgrade plan. Let me know if you need further help on this process or if you’d like to see this covered in a future blog?

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