Posts belonging to Category PCM



Package Conversion Manager 2.0 Beta released, earlier..

Totally missed the release of the Package Conversion Manager 2.0 Beta on the 11th of September last month. :( I think I was already in holiday mode ;) But nevertheless Chris Adams and his team developed a new version of the Package Conversion Manager that will (for now) only support the beta of Configuration Manager 2012 SP1, and since I am a fan of the Package Conversion Manager I would like to point you to the new release.

This beta of this version will not support the RTM version of Configuration Manager 2012 so it is only allowed to use in a lab environment. This release will have some bug fixes, the “only” new feature will be the support of Service Pack 1. Read more about the Package Conversion Manager 2.0 Beta here;

Read my earlier blogs about the Package Conversion Manager here:

Package Conversion Manager 2.0 Beta released, earlier..

Totally missed the release of the Package Conversion Manager 2.0 Beta on the 11th of September last month. :( I think I was already in holiday mode ;) But nevertheless Chris Adams and his team developed a new version of the Package Conversion Manager that will (for now) only support the beta of Configuration Manager 2012 SP1, and since I am a fan of the Package Conversion Manager I would like to point you to the new release.

This beta of this version will not support the RTM version of Configuration Manager 2012 so it is only allowed to use in a lab environment. This release will have some bug fixes, the “only” new feature will be the support of Service Pack 1. Read more about the Package Conversion Manager 2.0 Beta here;

Read my earlier blogs about the Package Conversion Manager here:

Changes in ConfigMgr 2012 Package Conversion Manager RC2

It has been a while since the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Package Conversion Manager RC2 was released. Never had the time yet to point out the nice changes in this release candidate 2, I first had to cover them in my migration chapter of Mastering System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. It is never too late to write about it, isn’t it? ;)

I my lab environment I installed the Package Conversion Manager at the Central Administration Site, like shown in the Package Conversion Dashboard below.  The Dash is divided in three separate sections, the upper section describes the Package Conversion Process and under what conditions a package must be converted manually.

You see in the middle section of the dashboard that the Package conversion Manager is already used to analyze a bunch of packages and it has converted 4 of them.

The PCM Dashboard

A new part is the Schedule Analyze Status section in the dashboard. In this part you are able to Schedule or run a bulk analysis of packages that are not yet converted. Also you are able to generate a report in XML format with the details of the packages, programs and the related issues.

Scheduled Analyze Status

When you hit the Run Now option,  the analyzes of the packages will start immediately.

Analysis Progress -> Running

The Analysis task ( Microsoft.ConfigurationManagement.UserCentricPackageAnalyzer.exe ) in the Task Manager

If you want to schedule the analyzing process to an early hour of the day. The process will start automatically like scheduled.

Schedule the Analysis Task

Analysis is scheduled

Also new is the reporting ability, when selecting this option the report will be generated immediately and can be found in the %TEMP% folder and is called PackageScanReport.xml of the user that has started the report generation process. The report is like mentioned earlier divided into 5 sections. The first section shows you the overall statistics.

The overall statistics

In the next section you will find all the packages that are analyzed by the Package Conversion Manager with the analysis date, readiness state and the number of programs.

The package information section

After analyzing the package information on the report, you will find the information related to the programs of the packages. You see the package name, the package Id and command line that is started when running the program.

Program information section

The next section will describe the package related issues. You will see a message if a package has for instance no program available, more than one program or if the content is not available.

Package releated issues section

In the last section you will find issues related to the programs. If a detection method or the program has no access to the MSI file it is reported here.

Program related issues section

This version which still can be downloaded here, is available in different languages like French, Simplified Chinese, German, Japanese and of course English.

Additionally, RC2 also delivers the ability to extend the Configuration Manager 2012 Package Conversion Manager so that you are able to customize the package conversion process to be able to convert the wrappers commonly used with classic software distribution. Read more about it here.

I am still a huge fan of PCM! Till next time, I think it will be late March since a nice and well deserved holiday is coming up.

Check also the earlier blogs about the Package Conversion Manager:

Package Conversion Manager part 3: PCM in action (movie)

Part three of the series of blogs about the Package Conversion Manager is a movie where you see the Package Conversion Manager in action. See the scenarios described in the last blog in action. Sit back and enjoy! ;)

Read more about the Package Conversion Manager in Mastering System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

Package Conversion Manager part 2: Converting packages

In my last blog I wrote about the Package Conversion Manager in general, in this blog I will write about the conversion process of the classic packages. Let’s see how this nice extension of Configuration Manager 2012 works and rocks!

Like mentioned earlier, after analyzing your packages there are several scenarios for converting the classic packages to the new Application Model. I will describe 3 different conversions scenarios of classic packages to the new Application Model.

Scenario 1: Converting a classic package automatically

Packages with the readiness state Automatic, can easily be converted by following the next steps;

1.      Select the classic package with the Automatic readiness state and click on Convert Package

Select a classic package with the readiness state Automatic

2.      Click on OK to start the conversion process

Click OK to start the conversion process

3.      Monitor the process, the process will take a few minutes.
4.      When the conversion process is completed, click on close.

Conversion completed

5.      Next browse to the Applications node and select the application that has been converted. Browse to the programs tab and retrieve the properties of the program. Browse to the Programs Tab and see that the Package Conversion Manager also added the uninstall string for the program.

Uninstall information is also automatically added by PCM

Scenario 2: Converting a classic package manually

When you need to convert a classic package manually, you first need to fix the program of the classic package before you are able to convert the classic package. Reasons of a manual conversion can be found in this blog.

1.      Select the classic package with the Manual readiness state and click on Fix and Convert Package

Select the classic package with the Manual readiness state

2.      The Package Conversion Wizard will start and you see the Items to fix in the screen, for this conversion we will need to provide a detection method before we are able to convert the classic package. Click on next

Review the items to fix

3.      Check if there are unconverted dependencies and click on next.
4.      Next we see that a detection method for the Deployment Type Install Client is missing, click on Edit Detection Method.

Detection Method is missing

5.      Click on Add to for this application a Windows Installer Product Code (via the MSI), click on OK twice to proceed.

Create a detection rule

Detection method is fixed

6.      Click on Next to select optional requirements detected in the collections associated with the original package and click on Next twice to start the conversion process.

Package is fixed and converted

7.      Click on close to check and test the application before deploying it in your environment.

Scenario 3: Converting a classic package with application depended automatically/manually

The third scenario is converting a classic package that is depended of another classic package. In this scenario we want to convert the classic package Flash Application which is depended of the application Flash Player.

Two manual classic packages (Flash Application and Flash Player)

1.      First we need to convert the Flash Player classic package before we are able to convert the Flash Application. Select the Flash Player and click on Fix and Convert in the home ribbon of the Configuration Manager Console. Check the items to fix and click on next in the Package selection screen in the Package Conversion wizard. Follow the same steps as mentioned earlier in this blog.

Package is depended on an unconverted program

2.      After converting the Flash Player, select the Flash Application and click on Analyze Package. The package will be reanalyzed and the readiness state will change. See the figures ;)

Flash Player is converted, Flash Application is still Manual

After reanalyzing Flash Application, the readiness changed to Automatic

3.      The readiness state is changed to automatic after reanalyzing the classic package. Click on Convert Package to convert the package automatically.

Both classic packages are now converted

4.      When browsing to the new applications you can check if the dependency is also converted to the new application model. You can do this by accessing the properties of the new deployment type and browse to the dependencies tab.

Dependency is also converted to the new Application

Converting a classic package is overall a fairly easy and valuable step to take, if you ask me a must have for every migration from Configuration Manager 2007 to Configuration Manager 2012. In next blog I will show you the Package Conversion Manager in action, in other words sit back, relax and enjoy the movie. ;)

Package Conversion Manager part 1: Overview

Migrating from Configuration Manager 2007 to Configuration Manager 2012 is, like described in earlier blogs, an easy and manageble step to take. After all your assets are migrated to your new Configuration Manager 2012 environment, you may want to be sure that the classic packages are converted to the new Application Model. For this purpose Microsoft developed the Configuration Manager Package Conversion Manager. Let’s see how it looks like!

The Configuration Manager Package Conversion Manager is an add-on to the Configuration Manager 2012 Console and needs to be installed on every workstation or server from which you want to start the Configuration Manager 2012 Console. This is done by installing the PCMSetup.exe, which you are able to download from the System Center 2012 website.

After installing you are able to start the Configuration Manager 2012 Console and you notice some changes in the Application Management Node in the Software Library Workspace. By installing the Package Conversion Manager the console is extended like shown in the figure beneath;

The Configuration Manager 2012 console extensions for PCM


  1. Package Conversion manager node: The Dashboard to monitor the state of your packages and conversions.
  2. Home ribbon extensions: Analyze, Convert or fix and convert the classic packages that are migrated from Configuration Manager 2007
  3. Add the columns “Last analyzed / Converted” and Readiness to your view and see in what readiness state your classic packages are.
  4. See the Package Conversion Manager status per package. This part shows you possible readiness issues.

The process of converting packages is a fairly easy process that consists of the following steps:

  1. Analyzing the classic packages
  2. (Fix and) Convert classic packages

After installing the console extensions you need to analyze your packages, this can be done one by one or by bulk analysis. At this time you are not able to schedule the analyzing process but possibly it may be available with the product hits RTM. After analyzing the classic packages the readiness state of the packages can be as follows:

Readiness state Description
Automatic The classic package can be converted without any user intervention.
Unknown The analyzing process hasn’t run for this classic package.
Manual A classic package with some issues, but PCM is able to fix and convert the package. Packages that are manual can have the following issues:

  • Package contains multiple programs
  • Package is not an MSI
  • Package content is not available
  • Package contains dependencies
Not Applicable The package cannot be converted since for instance no program is available.
Error When an error is reported, go to and select the package and view the summary to see the readiness issues.
Converted The classic package is converted to the new Application Model.

 

PCM Dashboard

The second step is to convert the classic packages with the readiness state Automatic and Fix and Convert the classic packages that have a readiness state of Manual. This second step will be described in the second blog about the Configuration Manager Package Conversion Manager.

Stay tuned! ;)

CEP PCM and P2V Migration Toolkit Session Summary

Today an interesting Community Evaluation Program session held by Chris Adams, Group Program Manager of the Configuration Manager 2012 team, about the package Conversion and Physical to Virtual Migration Toolkit for Configuration Manager 2012. First news was the fact that “CM CEP leader” Jeff Wettlaufer is leaving Microsoft to join RES Software. Good luck Jeff, we will see you arround at RES!

The agenda of today:

  • App Model 101
  • Migration: Getting to Configuration Manager 2012
  • Converting Application: The Options
  • Manual Migration
  • Package Conversion Manager (PCM

Application Model Diagram

 

  • Detection Method: how does the state based system determine how the app is installed
  • Requirement rules: whether or not the rules do apply for the application
  • Dependencies: chain applications on 2,3 or 4 other app
  • Content: content of the packages

2007 versus 2012 application feature mapping:

Configuration Manager 2007 Configuration Manager 2012
Package & Programs Application & Deployment Types
Advertisements Deployment
Collection Rules Global Conditions & Requirements
Run advertised programs Software Center
X User device affinity (UDI)
X Software Catalog

The Migration experience:

The migration of the legacy packages can be done in three different ways.

  • Migrating
    • Just migrate and use the legacy packages in Configuration Manager 2012
  • Manually convert
    • Convert the package by hand. Difficult process
  • Convert to applications with the Package Conversion Manager
    • Convert the packages with PCM

Migration process to Configuration Manager 2012

The migration process consists of the following phases, Plan, Deploy and Migrate. These phases have the following steps:

  • Assess your current environment
  • Test and proof your plan
  • Design your strategy for migration
  • Configure migration features
  • Enable distribution point sharing
  • Migrate objects
  • Migrate clients
  • Upgrade distribution points
  • Remove configuration Manager 2007 sites

Prepare your environment for the migration:

  • Utilize platform requirements
  • Use UNC path for source locations
  • Use only MSI’s with one unique PID

Migrate packages to applications

While migrating packages you have three options:

  • Do nothing (leave as package and program)
  • Manually convert application
  • Use Package Conversion Manager for conversion of the application

What is good for the application model?

User facing applications that are targeted to users based on the following deployment types:

  • App-v
  • MSI
  • EXE

What it not a good package to migrate to the new application model?

  • system maintenance tools (system based deployments)
  • end of life packages

Package conversion Manager:

  • Analyze & determine readiness to convert classic software packages to Configuration Manager 2012
  • Convert your packages & programs to Configuration Manager 2012 application model
    • Applications
    • Deployment types
  • Migrates machine collection queries to 2012 application model by building (in the future)
    • Global conditions
    • Requirement rules

Summarization feature is also going to be in the Package Conversion Manager.

Analyzing packages can be done in three different ways.

  1. For a single item, manually by the administrator
  2. Run in bulk, using multi select by the administrator
  3. Automatically during the conversion process.

Number 3 means you can run the analysis today and migrate the conversion weeks after the first analysis. During the conversion process another analyzing process is started.

PCM Analysis Readiness States

Before or after the analysis process the packages have a readiness state. The following states apply for the Package Conversion Manager.

  • Unknown: Analysis has not yet been run
  • Not applicable: not appropriate for the application model
  • Manual: needs user input for conversion from the admin (not enough data to perform an automatic migration)
  • Automatic: can be easily converted to the application model
  • Converted: has been converted to the application model

Analysis engine internals (understanding manual verses automatic rules in PCM)

  • Automatic:
    • Package contains only 1 MSI
    • No unconverted dependencies
    • Content is accessible
  • If one of automatic is false the package must be converted manual
  • Manual:
    • Must have content
    • Is software distribution package
    • Contains at least one program
  • If one of Manual is false than the application is not applicable

Detections methods (the main reason your package is manual)

  • Detection methods are important, if you have your detection method wrong you can experience the following:
    • Application will either always install
    • Application will never install
  • Can only be automatically derived from MSI’s
    • EXEs are manual
  • MSI’s with multiple product IDs
    • Pick the first one
  • Uninstall programs will be discorded
    • Automatically derived for MSI

Process of converting a package:

  • Go to application management
  • Go to packages
    • Select Package
    • Select analyze package
  • The Readyness will be updates
  • Select the package with automatic and click Convert Package
    • Analyzed again if the application is not changed
  • The package is migrated successfully

If not applicable check the information on the package conversion status:

For manual you can use Fix and Convert option, this will be in upcoming versions.

When a package has a dependency, the dependency needs to be converted first. The package is first manually; if the depended application is converted the other program will also be automatically converted. You can choose to use or not use the dependencies.

The conversion process: (understanding the conversion process)

Interrogates:

  • Package properties
  • Program properties
  • MSI

The conversion process moves or better translates the data to:

  • Application name
  • Deployment Type name
  • Detection method

Best practices for converting packages to the new application model:

  • Migrate the object
  • Create your applications in the lab
  • Test the applications in the lab
  • Export and import via the native CM 2012 function

If you don’t have a lab environment, you can off course use the Package Conversion Manager in your production environment.

Post migration actions:

  • Convert any dependency applications first
  • Concentrate on your user centric applications
    • Intention for application is user-based targeting
    • You want state-based enforcement
  • Keep tracking your effort (progress of the migration, reporting, charts)
  • Once converted check requirements to make sure they are sufficient

What’s coming up in the next PCM CTP2

  • Fix and convert
    • Helps converting manual packages
  • Bulk analysis
    • Run immediately after install
    • Analyzes all packages
    • Scheduling for analysis during non peak hours
  • Moving collection Query to the Application Model
    • Converting collection Queries
    • Program requirements ANDED with Global Conditions to create Deployment Type requirements
  • Reporting

P2V Migration Toolkit

One of the Configuration Manager 2012 migration goals is maximizing reusability of x64 server hardware. This goal can be accomplished by using the P2V migration toolkit.

The scenario:

  • Remote site server migration
    • Remote, branch office at which you need to persist Configuration Manager 2007 site server at the site during the migration process
    • Provides:
      • Limited local hardware inhibits side-by-side migration
      • WAN bandwidth prevents the utilization of centrally located server
  • How P2V migration Toolkit can help?
    • Eliminate
      • Eliminates the need for parallel physical servers at remote sites
        • Repurpose existing site servers into virtual instances
        • Host Configuration Manager 2007 & Configuration Manager 2012 sites on the same machine using virtualization
        • Simplify & Automate
          • Simplifies  & automates the creation of virtualization task sequence
          • Simple, intuitive user interface to create & deploy the task sequence
        • All the virtualization specified task sequence steps are built-in
        • Limited input needed by remote administrators

Requirements for virtualization

The following requirements are valid:

  • Hyper-v requirements
    • Requires a x64 processor
    • Bios must support
      • Hardware assisted virtualization (Intel VT or AMD-V)
      • Hardware Data Execution Prevention (DEP)
      • Intel XD bit or AMD NX bit
  • Virtual machines will not start unless HAV and DEP are enabled.

P2V Migration options

  • Task sequence with stand alone media
    • Creates a customized task sequence
    • The option automates the entire end-to-end process from OS rebuild to VM creation
  • Bootable media only option
    • Creates a bootable Windows PE disk (requires Windows 7 IAK )
      • Injects toolkit binaries
      • Loads networking stack
      • Launches VHD Capture Wizard
      • This is the capture only option

Task sequence workflow:

The best way to see the task sequence workflow is to view the slide.

The network stack is not migrated in the current version.

Physical to virtual components:

The best way to see the P2V components is to view the slide.

Considerations for P2V Migration Toolkit:

  • Minimum support bar for virtualization is Windows 2003 SP2 or greater (for hyper-v integration)
  • Drive encryption is not supported in the current CTP release
  • Task Sequence Designer requires the Configuration Manager Administrator Console in CTP release
  • WAIK is required for bootable media.

The P2V Migration Toolkit is not a replacement for the P2V in System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

Next session is a Question and Answer session about the Application Management in Configuration Manager 2012 with Brain and Craig and Chris.