Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 Pull Distribution Points

One of the great features of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 is the ‘Pull distribution point’. This allows you to specify certain distribution points (DP’s) in your Configuration Manager environment to pull content from others. You can specify multiple source DP’s for your pull DP which will give you a little more control over your traffic and where it goes.

There are lots of uses for this facility but probably the most typical use may be if you have slow links to your primary site DP but a better link to an alternative DP.

This example shows that…

PullDP Visio1

In this situation the link between DP1 and DP1 is better than the link between SCCM1 (Primary Site Server & DP) and DP2. Therefore with pull DP’s you can daisy chain off another DP like so…

PullDP Visio2

So DP2 will only get content distributed from DP1 therefore easing the load on the 4Mb link between SCCM1 and DP1.

It might sound a little obvious but you need to have multiple DP’s in your environment before you can do this and you can’t do it on a Primary site server DP, the required tab simply doesn’t show.

How do I do it?

Don’t forget this is for Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 only, it won’t work in 2012 RTM. The version numbers are as follows:

  • Configuration Manager 2012 RTM – Version 5.7711.0000
  • Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 – Version 5.00.7804.1000

If you want find out how to get your build number, see this technet link.

So, in your Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 console browse to

Administration>Overview>Distribution Points.

Go to properties of the DP you would like to become a Pull DP and you will see a tab named “Pull Distribution Point” as below.

PullDP 

Now you can simply tick the box to “Enable pulling content from other distribution points” and click the Add button to select the source DP(s) of your choice. Simple really.

In my lab setup SCCMLAB is my primary site server and DP and will become my source DP, SCCMDMZ is just a DP and is going to be my PullDP.

You can also see this in the distmgr.log on the primary site server

DP settings have been updated to SCCMDMZ.lab.com.  $$<SMS_DISTRIBUTION_MANAGER><04-18-2013 10:47:24.938-60><thread=1448 (0x5A8)>

Upgrading PullDP with ID 16777218. Thread 0xd9c. Used 1 threads out of 5.  $$<SMS_DISTRIBUTION_MANAGER><04-18-2013 10:47:43.304-60><thread=352 (0x160)>

~DPID 16777218 – NAL Path [“Display=\\SCCMDMZ.lab.com\”]MSWNET:[“SMS_SITE=LAB”]\\SCCMDMZ.lab.com\ , ServerName = SCCMDMZ.LAB.COM, DPDrive = , IsMulticast = 0, PXE = 0, RemoveWDS = 0  $$<SMS_DISTRIBUTION_MANAGER><04-18-2013 10:47:43.307-60><thread=3484 (0xD9C)>

ConfigurePullDP  $$<SMS_DISTRIBUTION_MANAGER><04-18-2013 10:47:43.308-60><thread=3484 (0xD9C)>

~NAL Path [“Display=\\SCCMDMZ.lab.com\”]MSWNET:[“SMS_SITE=LAB”]\\SCCMDMZ.lab.com\ is a Pull DP  $$<SMS_DISTRIBUTION_MANAGER><04-18-2013 10:47:43.328-60><thread=3484 (0xD9C)>

How does this work?

I’m not going to go into the fine detail but you should know what to expect and how to handle pull DP’s so you might wonder how this actually works.

  • Will it automatically pull content?
  • Can you schedule it?
  • What’s to stop you distributing content to your Pull DP from your console?

Firstly, nothing changes in the way you do anything in the console. Going back to my example, if you distribute content to DP1 it won’t automatically pull and it won’t make it’s way over on a schedule to DP2. You still need to distribute the content to DP2 as you would prior to having a pull DP. You just need to remember that if the content isn’t on DP1 (source DP) then it will never get to DP2 (pull DP).

In the console you’ll see it like this:

PullDP Content1

The content will still show as “In Progress” as it hasn’t been deployed to my source DP. The full message shown in the description field is as follows:

PullDP Content Message

So you can see that it is looking for the content on it’s source DP, but I haven’t yet deployed it there. Now once I deploy the content to my source DP we should see the “In Progress” change to “Success”. You can either wait for the retry to kick in or redistribute the content to your pull DP.

The content begins to deploy…

Distribution Content Message

and completes…

PullDP Content2

That just about covers everything you should need to know to get started with Pull Distribution Points in Microsoft Configuration Manager 2012 SP1.

Let me know if you have any thoughts questions etc.

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