SCCM Design and Architecture – Part # 3

This Post is in Continuation with Part # 2 , where we explained about a simple SCCM Architecture . In this Example , we will take a closer and more granular look at Primary Site :

One of the important point in SCCM 2012 is that it supports a Maximum of 25 Primary sites Per Hierarchy . Now , the reason for this restriction is that Microsoft has tried a lot to make sure that we do not use Primary Site for most common reasons listed below :

1. Support for Multiple Language : There is no need to have Different Primary Sites to support Multiple Langues . SCCM 2012 supports Multiple Language .

2. Client settings are now applied at the collection level and not at the primary site

3. With RBAC , Role Based Access Control , you can now delegate Roles Easily . Like you can have a Admin for Managing Servers and one for Clients .

Some of the reasons where you Might Need SCCM Primary Site are :

 Political reasons , Load Balancing , Reducing the Impact of Primary Site Failure , 



SCCM Design Steps – Explained in Detail – Part # 1

Part 2 of this Series :


Today,  in this post we will see how to design a SCCM Environment . Using this post you may design your  SCCM design document . To create a SCCM Environment , it is very important that we have some detailed information . For the sake of simplicity , we will use a simple example here .

SCCM Design

Let us Assume that we are being asked to design , architect and implement  a sccm ( System Center Configuration Manager 2012) environment with following specifications :

1. The Client has presence in 5 states of India .

2. Total user base is : 5000

3. Head office is in Mumbai : with a user base of : 4000

4. at the head office the number of servers to be maintained using sccm is : 100

4. Four Other offices are in : Bangalore , Kolkata , Delhi and Himachal .

5. User base at all these four locations is : 250 each .

6. There is a 4 Mbps connectivity between branches ( all of them ) .

7. The link utilization is below 50 % on an average during office hours and is 30 % off hours

8. Client wants to use all the features of SCCM ( OSD , Patch management , Software deployment etc ).

9. There is just one forest and one domain Ex :

10 . Internet clients are not a part of this project

11. There are no cloud DP’s .

The above information is handy enough to kick start our designing :

SCCM design Document

Now , To start with , we have to make a decision as to how many sites we require : or you may ask the following questions to yourself :

1. How Many SCCM Primary Sites do I need :  In this case since the total Client base is just 5000 .  Since with SCCM 2012 we can clearly divide work between engineers who manage Servers and clients .

2. Do we need a CAS :  NO . CAS in SCCM 2012 is only used for Centralized repository and reporting .

3. How Many Secondary sites do I need : This is a very Tricky Question and this is where a lot has changed between SCCM 2007 and SCCM 2012 . SCCM 2012 DP can be used for PXE i.e OSD , Throttling and Scheduling . So , We would only need DP’s in our case as the bandwidth available is also good .

See the below blog posts for more clarity :

Now , that we are sure that we need just One Primary and Distribution Points only , Am done with my first part .

So , so far our design looks like : 1 Primary stand Alone site and 4 Distribution Points at 4 different locations .

I close this post here and will take things in more details in the Part 2 of this series .


Part 2 of this Series :


SCCM Distribution Point Design – A Designer’s Delight

Ask any SCCM Designer / Architect !! How Many Distribution Points you need in this Environment and he would bend his head and do zillion odd Calculations 🙂


With this Post I intend to share a Table which shows how much time is required over a specific WAN link for a  set of PC’s :

The Below Table Shows the Approximate results for 1  Single Machine over WAN and LAN . From the results it is very clear that for Distribution Point  the results are better 



* Note : The figures mentioned above are approximate . Actual s may vary a little .

Now , Let us see the results for 50 Machines at a Local Branch with Different Bandwidth Options . Clearly you would see that if we are not going to use a Local Distribution Point then deployments like Operating system would choke the network and would a lot of time . 


As you can see from the above Image , if we have a 2 MBPS line between the Primary server and the Local branch and there is No distribution Point ( Local ) , them for a set of 50 machines at such a location would take 200 hours for getting the OSD files . However , if we have a  Local Distribution Point at the Branch Location , Machines would pick the Image over a LAN and it would just take 3 Hours of time . That’s the power of a Local Distribution Point .

** The Calculations above are based on the assumption that all the bandwidth is available to SCCM .


It is also important to understand that the Traffic between Primary and Distribution Point can be scheduled and Throttled .

SCCM Design – Understanding your Network and Important Fact Points

While Designing your SCCM , it is very important that you should have a very solid Understanding on the Network !!


Some of the Main point to be considered with regards Network While Designing SCCM are :

1. Network Usage : Get in touch with the Network Team and try and find the Network Usage across Branches . This will give you a very solid idea about DP Design .

2. Try and restrict a DP to 50 Machines for a 2 Mbps Line with average utilization o about 50 %

3. Gather All the relevant Network Diagrams from the Network Team.

4. What is the count of Local DC’s in the Organization .

5. Gather the Data with regards the Number of Systems , OS across locations

Primary Site vs Secondary Site vs Distribution Point ( SCCM 2012 ) !! Which one to choose and when to Choose ?



Normally You would find SCCM Architects / Designers / Administrators in a Dilemma when it comes to Which one to choose : A Primary Site vs Secondary Site vs a Distribution Point :-

OK I will try to make life easy for you here : Choose a Primary When you want to manage Clients Directly . Choose Distribution point at almost most of the occasions except for :

  • Scenarios where : You want to manage the Upwards flow of Data , You want to have a local SUP ( Software Update Point ) , You want to have a local Management Point so that Clients Pick up policies and report to this Local MP , and your low bandwidth site has more than 500 Client Machines ( When i Say 500 , its a ball parking figure ) .

I hope I have made life Easy for you here . So next time you design a SCCM 2012 Environment for a Client Do consider the above mentioned points .