SCEing on WSUS
Windows Update Agent shines like a gem in the rough, its brilliance even more evident when set next to SCE.
- By Greg Shields
Last time, I concluded my four-part series on Systems Center Essentials, lovingly pronounced "ski" in certain circles. In ending that series, I remembered that there was one major component of SCE that I felt didn't get hammered home well enough. That component is SCE's reliance on WSUS for much of its deployment and management components.
WSUS, and specifically the Windows Update Agent that is its client component, is a remarkable piece of software. WUA is to software and patch deployment what Windows Installer was to the world of software installation. WUA represents a wholesale integration of all the previously segregated installation toolsets into a single, unified mechanism. That WUA mechanism, in the case of WSUS, can be used to install patches through the WSUS console.
Or, in the case of SCE, WUA can also be used to install software and handle some components of agent management. From the perspective of your administration, the Group Policy you use to manage your WSUS configuration will impact how SCE deploys its software as well. If you've dialed down the amount of time WUA clients wait to check their WSUS server, doing that will impact the speed that SCE software is installed as well. If you've configured WSUS to not reboot clients after an installation, that lack of reboot happens with software installs too.
On the client side, if you're having problems getting SCE to talk with its agents, you can use the same command-line tools to speed up the process here as well. The twin commands "gpupdate /force" will refresh any Group Policies, combined with the WUA command line "wuauclt /resetauthorization /detectnow" will instruct the client to refresh its configuration with the server. Another command "wuauclt /reportnow" will instruct the client to report its status immediately.
If you're having problems getting SCE clients to register with the server, you can troubleshoot the problem by checking the WUA log at C:\Windows\WindowsUpdate.log.
Greg Shields is Author Evangelist with PluralSight, and is a globally-recognized expert on systems management, virtualization, and cloud technologies. A multiple-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert, and Citrix CTP awards, Greg is a contributing editor for Redmond Magazine and Virtualization Review Magazine, and is a frequent speaker at IT conferences worldwide. Reach him on Twitter at @concentratedgreg.