Configuration Manager 2012 Detection Methods
Another day, another new ConfigMgr feature. Today I’ve been playing around with Detection Methods. This is a great new feature which gets us out of a variety of app deployment problem scenarios we have currently. In brief, consider the following scenario:
I wish to deploy a new application “Tobermory” to my clients. Tobermory depends on dotnet 3.5 and another application “Bulgaria”. These apps may already be installed on my machines, the installation may have been carried out manually or via Configuration Manager. Under the current Configuration Manager release we can set a program to depend on the installation of another program thus:
The problem with this stems from ConfigMgr’s ability to determine if the required application is already installed. Essentially it has no skills unless the app was installed by ConfigMgr in the first instance.
So, how does ConfigMgr 2012 improve this? With Detection Methods of course! Detection Methods enable a system to determine whether or not an application is already present on the system (think WSUS IsInstalled type functionality). The method for identifying if an app is installed (in Beta 1) covers MSI interrogation and script based detection. I’m hoping that Beta 2 will allow for basic registry and file scanning.
So, as you can doubtless see, this is a major improvement over the current detection mentod outlined above.
As a brief aside, once we have a detection method defined we can “upgrade” these to “Global Conditions” which we can then re-use for any deployments. Out of the box we get a few (if you’re familiar with Group Policy Preferences you may recognise some of this):
•Machine AD Site
•Mobile device type
•Free disk space
•Total Physical Memory
•Mobile input type
•Machine AD Organizational Unit
•Number of processors
•Machine Operating System and Architecture
•Machine Operating System Language
•ConfigMgr Assigned Site
These conditions can be leveraged for all deployment jobs allowing us as administrators to exploit these out of the box properties and define our own as we see fit.