There’s no argument that Configuration Manager has many more external dependencies than SMS 2003. That comes with the territory of being a grown up enterprise solution. Some of these dependencies can be checked for you by the product and prevent you from continuing until they are present. Others let you continue but provide helpful messages in the UI or log files. However, there are other dependencies that are much shyer about their requirements and don’t like to advertise their absence either before, or after things don’t work as required.
While it’s tempting to charge in and hope for the best, or send a question in to the communities and wait for an answer, the quickest route to finding out about dependencies in Configuration Manager is to the use the documentation. Each feature has its own dependencies topic that identifies first the external dependencies (such as the .NET Framework for desired configuration management), and then the dependencies within the product (such as at least one hardware inventory cycle for Wake On LAN).
We named these topics consistently, which means that you can reliably search for them using the string: “Prerequisites for <feature name>”. So, for example: “Prerequisites for Software Updates” and “Prerequisites for Desired Configuration Management”.
Why use the word “prerequisites” rather than dependencies? This choice goes back to the often-used reference of “prereqs” that has been used historically by the product group and our existing customer base. Of course, for formal documentation we can’t use the friendly abbreviated form. It’s a little unfortunate that many people have a hard time spelling and/or typing accurately “prerequisites”, but then the same can be said of “dependencies” when even our own results reveal the temptation to spell this incorrectly as “dependancies”. So, given the choice between two terms that didn’t have a good spelling rating, we went for existing familiarity.
And just as the formal documentation can’t use “prereqs” as a shortened form, so we cannot abbreviate the feature names. The product has a strong international reach, and the friendly acronyms you might hear and use daily often don’t work out for other languages and cultures. So when searching online, remember that the feature is officially called “desired configuration management” and not DCM; “software updates” and not SUM; “operating system deployment” and not OSD; “Wake On LAN” and not WOL– and so on.
If you’re using the SMSv4.chm help file that shipped with the product, your search is restricted to topics on Configuration Manager, which makes things much easier – click the option “Search titles only” in the bottom left in the Search tab, and just search on “Prerequisites”. Then you can pick off the relevant topic you need from the search results. It’s probably unlikely that these topics have changed substantially since the help file was released, but to be safe you can copy the exact title from the help file and paste it into “your favorite online search engine” to check for any updates or revisions.
And on the subject of abbreviations and acronyms, you won’t find any references to “SCCM” in the official documentation, because it’s not an official abbreviation for the product. So for efficient online searching for Microsoft documentation, use the full product name “Configuration Manager” or “Configuration Manager 2007”. Yes, I know it’s a pain to type out in full, but copy and paste is a wonderful invention (and Favorites are pretty handy as well).
But before you even get to the exciting features, you’ll want to get your site up and running reliably. For your dependencies information, use the following topics:
Until our November release (with the new topic “Prerequisite Component Update Checker”), supplement this topic with Jeff’s blog entry: Configuration Manager Setup Redistributable File Download Requirements. This help topic also has a link to the Setup Prerequisites Checks, all the dependencies required to get basic site communication working, and then links to all the feature prerequisites (a good page to add to Favorites).
Getting to grips with the new external dependencies for Configuration Manager requires a bit of a mind shift, and it pays to have a proactive stance and check them out before they check you out. Many of the questions and some problems we've been seeing from customers could have been resolved more quickly if they had read these topics. And if these topics don’t provide you with the information you need, let us know: SMSDocs@Microsoft.com.
- Carol Bailey
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties and confers no rights.