Welcome to ConfigMgr 101. This series will be focusing on ConfigMgr 2012, and helping you get the best out of the product using features you may have not looked at in ConfigMgr 2007 or features which are new in ConfigMgr 2012. Our first post looks at the maintenance windows concept, how to use them, what they are and why you should use them.
In a nutshell, maintenance windows do exactly what they say on the tin. The maintenance window helps you define a set period of time when configuration changes can be made to systems while not impacting the productivity of your business. The following features support the use of maintenance windows.
- Software deployment
- Software update deployment
- Compliance setting evaluation and deployment
- Operating system deployments
- Task sequence deployments
Maintenance windows are configured on a per collection basis and consist of a start time, end time and recurrence pattern. The only real rule for maintenance windows is that you must define the maintenance window of less the 24 hours. Since ConfigMgr 2012 restarts caused by deployments are not allowed outside of maintenance window hours however you can override these settings on a per deployment basis. Maintenance windows affect only the time when the deployment program runs, applications configured to download and run locally can download content outside of the maintenance window.
Multiple Maintenance Windows
So now we know what a maintenance window is, what features support them and how they work. The next step is to look at instances when we have multiple maintenance windows. Imagine the following scenario which is common in a live environment, we have a machine LAB1 which is a member of two collections which both have maintenance windows, which one takes priority or how does that work?
Well, these simple rules apply for when this situation arrises:
- If maintenance windows do not overlap then they are treated as separate maintenance windows
- If the maintenance windows do overlap, it will be treated as a single maintenance window including all the time covered by both maintenance windows. For example, if you have two maintenance windows both an hour-long which overlap by 30 minutes, then the duration will be 90 minutes
When a user initiates an application installation from Software Center, the application is installed immediately, regardless of any configured maintenance windows.
If an application deployment with an intent of required reaches its installation deadline during the non-business hours configured by a user in Software Center, it is installed regardless of the configured non-business hours.
Configuring Maintenance Windows
Setting up maintenance windows could not be easier. Simply right-click a collection and then go to Properties. Click the Maintenance Windows tab where you will be presented with the place where the magic happens. Click the starburst button to create a new maintenance window.
Configure your maintenance window as required, in this example we are setting the window between 01:00 and 04:00, we are also running the window on a monthly schedule on the last Friday of the month. We also leave the box for UTC un-ticked, this is so we can apply the maintenance window in the local time in the country where the machine is located.
We now have a maintenance window. If you want another one then go ahead and create them. This is basically all you need to do. From here schedule your deployments and you will see in the Software Center that it is now ready and waiting.