Overview of advertisements in Systems Management Server 2003

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SUMMARY

Advertisements in Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 are objects that make programs available to clients. You must advertise a program before clients can run the program. Programs can be advertised to systems, user accounts, and user groups. This article describes how SMS 2003 uses advertisements and status messages.

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Before you can distribute a program to SMS 2003 clients, you must create a software distribution package and a program, and then you must advertise the program to the SMS 2003 clients. You generally apply advertisements to a specific collection that contains SMS 2003 clients. You define and populate collections by setting membership rules for each collection. Membership rules are the criteria that SMS 2003 uses to decide whether a resource is a member of a particular collection. A membership rule can be query-based or resource-based. A query-based rule includes the results that are returned by a query. A resource-based rule can include a list of systems, of users, or of user groups.

SMS 2003 advertisements contain the following information:
  • The program to run on the client.
  • The target collection of systems, users, or user groups that will receive the program.
  • The schedule that specifies when the program is available to the collection.
You can use SMS 2003 Windows User Account Discovery or Active Directory User Discovery to locate user accounts.

Note There are important differences between Windows User Group Discovery and Active Directory User Discovery.

The General tab on the All User Groups Collection Properties page contains the following comment:
All User Groups - Contains data only from Windows User Group Discovery, not AD System Group Discovery or AD User Discovery.

If you enable only the Active Directory User Discovery method and want to target a specific user group or a specific systems group, you must create a new collection and use membership rules to add users and systems to that collection.

SMS 2003 clients will not be able to receive advertised programs until you enable the Advertised Programs Client Agent for the site. The Available Programs Manager on Legacy Clients and the SMS Software Distribution Client Agent on Advanced Clients perform most of the software distribution-related tasks on the client computers. These components permit client computers to receive and run programs that are advertised. When you enable the Advertised Programs Client Agent, SMS 2003 installs the appropriate agent on the clients.

When you create a package and advertise a program, SMS 2003 stores information about the package, the program, and the advertisement on client access points (CAPs) for the Legacy Client and on management points for the Advanced Client.

Status messages

As SMS 2003 components perform their tasks, the components use status messages to report their status. The status messages that are contained in the SMS Administrator console tree provide a snapshot of the health of your SMS site, components, packages, and advertisements. Advertisement status messages are generated when the following actions occur:
  • Advertisements succeed or fail.
  • Programs start.
  • Programs succeed or fail.
When you detect a problem, you can start the Status Message viewer to help identify and troubleshoot the problem.

To obtain a complete list of all status messages that are generated by SMS 2003, see the Systems Management Server 2003 Status Message Documentation. To download this documentation, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9f009942-b4d8-4a70-8f74-e81ccc7b2309&DisplayLang=en

The SMS 2003 Legacy Client Advertised Programs Client Agent

The Offer Data Providers (ODP) on Legacy Clients periodically check the CAP to determine if any advertisements apply to the client. The Available Programs Manager runs assigned programs automatically and maintains a list of the programs that are not assigned. A user can run individual programs by using the Advertised Programs Wizard and Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel. The Advertised Programs Manager can monitor the program on the client.

SMS 2003 Legacy Clients use one of the following Offer Data Providers (ODPs) to look for advertisements for the client:
  • ODPSys32.exe

    This ODP checks for advertisements for the system and writes the results to the ODPSys32 .log file.
  • ODPUsr32.exe

    This ODP checks for advertisements for the user or user group and writes the results to the ODPUsr32.log file or the ODPWNt32.log file. The ODPUsr32.log file receives user results; the ODPWNt32.log file receives group results.
The ODPs are located in the %windir%\ms\sms\clicomp\SWDist32\bin folder. The log files are located in the %windir%\ms\sms\logs folder. On Microsoft Windows 98 clients, the ODP is the Odpwin9x.exe file. This ODP writes to the ODPWin9x.log file. These Windows 98 files are located in the same folders.

During advertisement processing, the ODP reads the appropriate lookup files from the CAP, in the CAP_sitecode\offerinf.box folder. The lookup files are:
  • sitecodeSystm.lkp
  • sitecodeUser.lkp
  • sitecodeUsrGP.lkp
The ODP determines the appropriate instruction file (sitecodexxxxx.ins), based upon the system GUID, the user name, or the group membership. The instruction file contains the Advertisement (offer) IDs and the targeted Collection ID. The ODP then loads the advertisements from the appropriate offer file (sitecode2xxxx.ofr) and sends the advertisements to the Available Programs Manager for processing.

Note Consider this scenario: An advertisement is targeted to a user account or a user group, and the same user account is logged on at multiple computers at the same time. When the Odpusr32.exe file runs at its scheduled interval, the advertisement runs at each location. (By default, Odpusr.32.exe file runs every 60 minutes.) Because advertisement information is stored locally on the computer, each computer runs the program for a particular user account, even if the program was run on a different computer for the same account. Therefore, it may be better to target systems instead of users or groups, or to create a query that looks for both the user and the computer designation. With this configuration, advertisements can be presented only when that user is at a specific computer.

The SMS 2003 Advanced Client Software Distribution Client Agent

The SMS 2003 Advanced Client Software Distribution Agent periodically checks a management point to determine if any advertisements apply to the client. Advanced Clients receive advertisements as policies from a management point and do not query a CAP as Legacy Clients do.

The Software Distribution Agent runs assigned programs automatically and maintains a list of the programs that are not assigned. This behavior permits you to run the programs at your convenience by using either the Run Advertised Programs applet or Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel.

You can configure Advanced Clients to download package source files to the local computer before you run a program that requires those files. When the program runs, it obtains the files from the local computer instead of from a distribution point. When Advanced Clients download package source files in advance, these package source files are stored in the download cache on the Advanced Client. Only an administrator can modify the location and the size of the Advanced Client's download cache. SMS 2003 uses these settings with its cache management logistics to try to allocate sufficient space when new requests to download packages arrive.

You can enable Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) on Distribution Points. BITS permits SMS 2003 to download package files from the distribution point to the client incrementally. If a file transfer is stopped unexpectedly, BITS can resume the file transfer from the point that it was stopped. BITS throttles file downloads so they do not interfere with the other local applications that are using the network. BITS uses HTTP. Therefore, the Advanced Client can send and receive files in any situation where an HTTP link can be established. If a roaming Advanced Client requires files for programs that are advertised to it, and those files are available from any local distribution point, the Advanced Client can use a local distribution point to access those files, without changing the client’s site assignment. This scenario reduces the Advanced Client’s use of the wide area network (WAN).

You can use the following log files to troubleshoot Software Distribution for an Advanced Client:
  • LocationServices.log

    This file shows how to locate Management Points and Distribution Points.
  • CAS.log

    This file shows the status of the local package cache.
  • ContentTransferManager.log

    This file shows when BITS or Server Message Blocks (SMBs) download or access packages.
  • ExecMgr.log

    This file shows the execution of all advertisements.
  • FileBits.log

    This file shows download and content retrieval activity.
  • DataTransferService.log

    This file shows the policies that are downloaded from the management point.

For more information about software distribution and advertisement data flow see the Systems Management Server 2003 Troubleshooting Flowcharts. To download the flowcharts, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=4FEFC083-D789-40DB-9B06-3E0D5916EF51&displaylang=en

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Article ID: 826844 - Last Review: October 27, 2006 - Revision: 1.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003
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