December 2014 MNSCUG Meeting

Written by Fred Bainbridge.

After a wildly successful #MMSMinnesota we will be wasting no time getting back into the swing of things.  We are going to hold a rare December MNSCUG meeting and for very good reason: MVP Mikael Nystrom offered to come speak while he's in town. If you couldn't make it to MMS, you missed out on some great OSD sessions. One of Nystrom's sessions was so popular that we had to run it twice.

Nystrom, aka the Deployment Bunny plans to show us some OSD tips. We are truly honored to be having him join us as he's a premiere speaker and industry expert in OSD. As a Senior Executive Consultant at TrueSec, Mikael is passionate about sharing his extensive experience and methods from the field, verified to work in a real environment.  This is not to be missed.

And to keep with the OSD theme, local Microsoft MVP Nash Pherson will be doing a presentation on Windows Server Builds with Configuration Manager OSD.  There will be an immense amount of expertise in the room for this meeting.  Bring your questions! 

Coretech will sponsor food and beer (good beer!) and in exchange, Brian Mason will take a couple minutes to show off the Coretech Dashboard.


Please register to help us gauge food and beer ordering.
Eventbrite - December 2014 MNSCUG Meeting


Written by Brian Mason.

Just wanted to send this out to the group about a job opportunity here at Target Corporation.

We are looking for a Orchestrator Admin for a 1 year contract position with the possibility of a permanent hire depending on performance and how you can drive the Orchestrator Platform forward over the next year. This position would also be involved with SCVMM and our internal cloud environment and would assist with implementing SMA or wherever Microsoft goes with the new automation tools.

We would prefer a local resource but are willing to look at remote access with the requirement to travel onsite periodically.

If you are interested, let me know and I can get your resume to the hiring manager.

Tony.Wolyniec at

ConfigMgr 2012 OSD Notes

Written by Fred Bainbridge.

Attached is the slide deck and the refreshMP script that I referenced during the OSD presentation at the October MNSCUG meeting.  This script should be copied the device early in the task sequence and then run after every reboot via run command line and a static path to the vbs file.  This will help avoid problems where the device can't contact the MP/DP after a reboot.  Be aware, an application/package installation that returns a 3010 will reboot the task sequence unless you define it not to in the package/application itself.  Know were your reboots are happening so you can run this script after each reboot.  

Rumor has it if the configuration manager client has the CU2 update installed this reboot issue is a non issue.  Give it a shot and let me know.

Take aways from the presentation - 

  • Know your application exit codes
  • Be prepared to break down the app model if it has reboots
  • Application Model works fine with OSD.
  • Configure appropriate task sequence variables for your environment.
  • Make sure your problems are not external to ConfigMgr.  Networking issues perhaps?
  • Get statistical significance with your builds.  1 successful build is useless.  10 in a row is a good start.

Here are good references for building your OSD Task Sequence -

I can be reached @FredBainbridge.  Thanks!

OSD Presentation Slidedeck

RefreshDefaultMP Script

CM Job Opening in Blaine

Written by Brian Mason.

PTC is a global, publicly traded software company, with over 6,000 employees worldwide, and an annual revenue of approximately $1.5 billion.

We are currently looking to hire a full time Senior Analyst/Desktop Architect in our Blaine, MN office. This role would be heavily involved with SCCM 2012 in addition to software distribution, patch management, and endpoint protection.

PTC has great benefits and work/life balance offering 20 PTO days + 2 floating holidays + your birthday off. Also, we have been growing steadily over the past few years and are poised for substantial growth over the next 3-5 years. With our recent acquisitions within the IoT (Internet of Things) space, PTC is a very exciting place to be!

Who do you know that could make an impact in this capacity? Please give me a call at 781-370-5233 when you have a moment to discuss and I would be happy to provide more detail. Thanks!


David Griggs

September 2014 MNSCUG Meeting - Notes

Written by Fred Bainbridge.

Last night was all sorts of awesome.  Thanks to Ryan Andorfer!  He showed some really amazing SMA uses.  Jaw dropping stuff.  

Also - we never got the name of the guy who won the epic rock paper scissors duel. Oops!  Please contact me to claim your prize!  

Below are notes from the meeting.  However if you missed it these notes do not do it justice.  It was absolutely astounding, eye watering, make you rethink your life type of stuff...

SMA notes -

  • PowerShell has a larger user base than Orchestration.  This appears to be a fair statement based on a user poll of attendees.
  • Orchestration was not designed to be a PowerShell engine, but it was something it could do.
  • Opalis was purchased by MS and the first release looked just like Opalis. Orchestration 2012 R2 felt the same way and was more like a hot fix.  However included in the release was SMA. 
  • SMA is a PowerShell based automation engine.  The biggest difference between SMA and Orchestator is that SMA does not have a drag and drop interface (yet). 
  • Drag and Drop looks good to management but downplays actual real world complexity.  This is not reality.  There is a reason really smart people have either not automated or have automated something (PowerShell).  Drag and Drop is not a good representation of business processes.
  • SMA is web service oriented and has runbook servers along with a database.  (similar to Orchestrator). There is no more thick client, SMA is all web based client.
  • The SMA web based UI is housed in windows Azure pack.
  • Why SMA - standard language PowerShell 4.0 (not old 32 bit PowerShell). Scalable infrastructure.

SMA lessons learned -

  • Nothing is extraordinarily simple.  Its not PowerShell, its PowerShell Workflow!  This is a significant difference.  Aka, learn PowerShell workflow!  It is essential for automation work.
  • Use checkpoints to be able to know what happens when a service or server dies during a process. 
  • Inline scripting - takes a block of code and runs it normal PowerShell.  You can change this block of code to run as a different user. 
  • Author your tools locally.  Use the ISE.  i.e.  Test the workflow from outside of SMA.  USE SOURCE CONTROL!!  I.e. Team Foundation Server.
  • Follow the normal Development process when working with SMA / PowerShell.  DEV-> QA -> Prod.
  • Orchestration made it VERY hard to promote or demote code from tier to tier. (QA to prod, etc)
  • Workflow vs. Module - repeatable code use a module.  For business specific tasks use a workflow. 
  • SMA Monitors - this is a concept from Orchestrator.  I.e. how do you tell an automation to do work?    Push and Pull methods.  (looking for information or getting handed information)
  • Track your executions - you do this to keep metrics on how much time you have saved.  This is critical to justifying an automation team.
  • SMA can load balance across runbook servers.

Getting started with SMA - (First learn PowerShell)



Written by Brian Mason.

MMS MoA Nov 10-11-12 2014

For those of you who attended our last meeting, you might recall our survey about a conference this fall.   Well it's now official:  The Midwest Management Summit.  Watch the Twitter feeds for #MMSMinnesota and #MMS.  And learn about the conference at our site:

And follow MMS on Facebook:

October 2014 MNSCUG Meeting

Written by Fred Bainbridge.

The October MNSCUG meeting is Wednesday, October 15th at 4:30 - 7:00pm at Microsoft's Edina HQ building - 6th Floor, Lake of the Woods. Sorry for the late notice, this one snuck up on us.  This month we will be having a good ole Configuration Manager meeting!  Also, we will be holding elections for MNSCUG board members. Get involved. It's well worth it.  Must be present to vote and to run.  Please register in advance so we can get a proper count for food and drink. 

Brian Mason will be presenting WSUS cleanup methods, why how and when.  Specifically with SUPs dying and/or WSUS slowing to a crawl.  He will highlight what you can do to mitigate issues and also share some valuable resources to use for help.

Fred Bainbridge will be doing going over tips and tricks for successful OSD with 2012 R2.  There are some significant changes with how 2012 R2 does it.  There are also some fun scenarios that if you are not aware of will cause you some very real pain.  

Eventbrite - October 2014 MNSCUG Meeting

Last, but not least we have something special for attendees that you won't want to miss out on!

See you there!

August 2014 MNSCUG Meeting - Notes

Written by Fred Bainbridge.

The August meeting was a great success!  Both presentation were fantastic.  A big thank you to Jonathan Almquist and Nathan Foreman!  Concurrency provided stellar food and drink as well.  Great times were had by all.  

Here are the details and examples of Nathan's presentation on integration SCOM with a CMDB.

As a reminder, elections for MNSCUG board members is going to be held at the October meeting.  Must be present to run or vote.  Get involved, it's well worth it.  

Also, MMS is coming up!  Have you registered yet?  You should!



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