Upgrade to ConfigMgr 1511 in your hierarchy
With the release of System Center Configuration Manager 1511 (short ConfigMgr 1511) marks a new era for ConfigMgr admins. We can now expect frequent upgrades of ConfigMgr being delivered as a service. In this post I’ll walk through the process of upgrading to ConfigMgr 1511, including a step-by-step guide and the requirements for a successful upgrade.
Here’s a brief overview of what’s covered in this blog post regarding the necessary steps required to successfully upgrade to ConfigMgr 1511:
- What’s new
- ConfigMgr as a service
- Known issues
- Upgrade path
- Prepare environment
- Backup hierarchy
- Test upgrade databases
- Upgrade hierarchy
- Upgrade clients
ConfigMgr 1511 includes a bunch of new functionality like full support for both managing and deploying Windows 10. Below is a full list regarding the biggest features added in ConfigMgr 1511:
- Deploy, manage and provision Windows 10
- Support for up to 175 000 managed devices
- More frequent and easier to install updates
- New Software Center
- Multiple deployments for an Automatic Deployment Rule
- Support for pilot phase during Client Upgrade
- Software Update management for Office 365
- Integration with Windows Update for Business
.. and a lot more.
You can read the general availability statement here:
For more information, I suggest that you read the release notes available here:
Check out the documentation on TechNet as well for the new features and how to implement them:
ConfigMgr as a service
With ConfigMgr 1511 being delivered as a service, this means that future releases can now be aligned with updates to Microsoft Intune which really benefits the hybrid scenario by bringing Intune functionality to ConfigMgr at a much faster rate. Delivering ConfigMgr as a service also let’s you take advantage and manage the new capabilities of Windows 10 that will be released several times a year. Your can read more about the announcement here:
I’ll keep this section up to date with on issues that the community have reported for this release of ConfigMgr:
- Installation wizard complains about unsupported operating system version on Windows Server 2012 R2
- If you use a custom SQL Server backup task with the full backup model (instead of the built-in Backup task for Configuration Manager), the upgrade can change your your backup model from full to simple.
As with every Service Pack, Cumulative Update and even new releases like ConfigMgr 1511, you should always begin the upgrade on the top-level Site server in your hierarchy. If you’re running with a Central Administration Site, begin with that and move on down to your Primary Sites. Although, If your hierarchy also includes Secondary Sites, they would be next on the upgrade list. Simply put, upgrade in the following order:
- Central Administration Site
- Primary Site servers
- Secondary Site servers
Depending on which version of ConfigMgr you’re running, below is a supported upgrade path for each version of ConfigMgr:
|ConfigMgr 2012||Upgrade to ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 and then to ConfigMgr 1511|
|ConfigMgr 2012 SP1||Upgrade directly (in-place) to ConfigMgr 1511|
|ConfigMgr 2012 SP2||Upgrade directly (in-place) to ConfigMgr 1511|
|ConfigMgr 2012 R2||Upgrade directly (in-place) to ConfigMgr 1511|
|ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1||Upgrade directly (in-place) to ConfigMgr 1511|
|SCCM 2007||Perform a side-by-side migration to ConfigMgr 1511|
|SMS 2003||You’re doomed|
Before you go ahead and execute the upgrade, it’s recommended that you make sure that your environment in your hierarchy is up to date and meets the following requirements:
- Latest Windows Updates is installed on every Site server that will be upgraded
- Verify that you have Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit 10 installed
- Your hierarchy should be running at least ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 or ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 (see upgrade path section above)
- Install KB3095113 on your Software Update Point server prior to running the upgrade
As for Cumulative Updates, it doesn’t matter what version you have installed.
Review the upgrade checklist on TechNet to make sure you’re good to go:
IMPORTANT! With ConfigMgr 1511, support for running your Site server on Windows Server 2008 R2 or running the Site database on SQL Server 2008 R2 will most likely be unsupported (or deprecated) within 12 months from the release of this new version. If you’re still using any of these products in your hierarchy, I’d strongly suggest that you look into performing a side-by-side migration instead of upgrading your current hierarchy to ConfigMgr 1511. This is because it’s not supported to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 R2 when running ConfigMgr on that server.
You can read more about the deprecated features here:
I highly recommend that you have a known-good backup of every Site database in your hierarchy before you attempt to upgrade to ConfigMgr 1511. There’s a great blog post regarding how to perform a backup of your Site databases made by Steve Thompson (MVP) which I recommend:
Steve’s blog post is about setting up backup using SQL Server instead of the built in Maintenance Task in ConfigMgr. Whichever method works just fine, but I’d recommend that you look at switching to performing a backup with SQL Server from now on, if you’re currently using the built in mechanism, since the SQL Server backup can leverage compression that saves you disk space, and at times is much faster.
Test upgrade databases
When you’ve taken a backup of your Site databases that needs to be backed up, follow the instructions in the blog post below to perform a test upgrade of your databases:
When you’ve prepared your environment, backed up the database(s) and verified that everything is in order, you can now go ahead and perform the upgrade starting with the top-level Site in your hierarchy. Below is a step-by-step guide that takes you through the upgrade wizard. The process is almost the same for a CAS, Primary Sites and a bit shorter for Secondary Sites.
1. Launch splash.hta elevated as a Full Administrator user in ConfigMgr (you’d also need sysadmin permissions on your SQL Server).
2. Click on Install.
3. On the Before you begin page, click Next.
4. On the Getting Started page, make sure that Upgrade this Configuration Manager site is selected and click Next.
5. Accept the license terms and click Next.
6. Accept the prerequisite license terms and click Next.
7. Click Browse on the Prerequisite Downloads page and choose a folder where the files will be stored, e.g. E:\Installation\ConfigMgr_1511\Prereqs. Click Next.
8. Wait for the prerequisite files to be downloaded.
9. On the Server Language Selection page, your previous configuration of languages is shown and it can not be changed since this is an upgrade. Click Next.
10. As for the Client Language Selection page, simply click Next.
11. On the Usage Data page, click Next.
12. Click Next on the Settings Summary page.
13. Setup will now launch the prerequisite checker which displays any errors or warnings that you may have to remediate before you continue with the upgrade. Wait for the process to finish. As a note here, any errors during this check will cause setup not to continue. Warnings may present valuable information that could potentially bring problems in the future. I’d recommend that you remediate any errors or warnings shown in this step before you continue with the upgrade (In my lab environment I’ve not configured enough memory for my SQL Server, but that’s not something I’d recommended in a production environment).
14. Once the prerequisite checker has finished, assuming that everything was in order, click Begin Install.
15. If you’d like to see a detailed view of the actual upgrade process, click on the View Log button to open C:\ConfigMgrSetup.log.
16. After a while the upgrade process should have successfully completed and you will see the following:
At this point, the upgrade is completed but there might still be some jobs running in the back ground. In my lab environment it took an additional 1-2 minutes before everything turned green in the wizard, but that might vary under different circumstances. I’d recommend that you do not attempt to restart the server or begin working until the upgrade process has completely finished and that you’ve verified that the upgrade indeed has completed in the C:\ConfigMgrSetup.log file, looking like this:
Once the wizard has caught up, it should look like this:
Now that the top-level Site in your hiearchy is upgraded, make sure that you verify that everything is working as expected and then continue on with the next Site in line. If you’re running a stand-alone Primary Site server, you can move on to the verification part of this post.
The new version of ConfigMgr 1511 is 5.00.8325.1000. We can verify this with the following methods:
On your Site server check the value called Full Version, found under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\SMS\Setup. It should read 5.00.8325.1000. In addition to the Full Version value, the CULevel should now be set to 0.
1. Launch the ConfigMgr console.
2. Go to Administration – Site Configuration – Sites, right-click on your site and choose Properties.
3. On the General tab, verify that the Version information is correct:
When your whole hierarchy consisting of Site server are upgraded to ConfigMgr 1511, you need to upgrade your Clients as well. Ronni Pedersen has created an excellent blog post that covers the Automatic Client Upgrade (now named Client Upgrade in ConfigMgr 1511) feature, which can be found here:
To enable this feature, go to Administration – Site Configuration and select Sites. Click on Hierarchy Settings and go to the Client Upgrade tab.
I highly recommend that you make use if this feature, unless that you want to create your own custom Client Upgrade Package specifying the necessary parameters for ccmsetup.exe which are required in your environment. If you choose to use Client Upgrade feature, remember to not set the Automatically upgrade clients within days value to low, as it might cause an extra load on your Site servers when too many clients are trying to upgrade at the same time. If you for instance set the value to 2, all of your clients with a lower build number than the Site that it’s assigned to will retrieve the policy and create a local scheduled task to run within a randomized time frame between within 2 days.
A new feature with ConfigMgr 1511 is the option to select a Pre-production collection. I’d suggest that you create a collection and add some systems into that collection. Select this newly created collection by hitting Browse. Configuring the Pre-production collection at this time, will allow for piloting of the client upgrade when the next release of ConfigMgr is available. This is a really nice feature that will assist in making sure that the client upgrades are successful in the future.
Also remember that if you choose to create your own Client Upgrade package, ccmsetup.exe will automatically detect whether the Operating System architecture is 32-bit or 64-bit, so there’s no need to create collections that contains architecture specific clients.
Below is a query that you can use to create a collection containing all clients that has been upgraded to the latest version:
select SMS_R_System.ResourceId, SMS_R_System.ResourceType, SMS_R_System.Name, SMS_R_System.SMSUniqueIdentifier, SMS_R_System.ResourceDomainORWorkgroup, SMS_R_System.Client from SMS_R_System where SMS_R_System.Client is not null and SMS_R_System.ClientVersion = "5.00.8325.1000"
I hope your upgrade goes well, and let me know if you have any questions!
Chief Technical Architect and Enterprise Mobility MVP since 2016. Nickolaj has been in the IT industry for the past 10 years specializing in Enterprise Mobility and Security, Windows devices and deployments including automation. Awarded as PowerShell Hero in 2015 by the community for his script and tools contributions. Creator of ConfigMgr Prerequisites Tool, ConfigMgr OSD FrontEnd, ConfigMgr WebService to name a few. Frequent speaker at conferences and user groups.