Understanding and Troubleshooting Content Distribution in Configuration Manager

Applies to: System Center Configuration Manager

This guide is intended to help administrators understand the content distribution process and serves to build a foundation for diagnosing and resolving general content distribution related problems in the following products:

  • Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr 2012)
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr 2012 R2)
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager current branch

This guide is divided up into the following sections:

Understanding Components and Threads


In this section we’ll take a look at the following:

Distribution Points Installation, Upgrade and Configuration


In this section we’ll take a look at DP installation, upgrade, configuration changes, removal and how these operations work. It's important to understand these flows to properly identify and diagnose the issue.

When troubleshooting DP installation and upgrade Issues, it is important to remember that DP Install/Upgrade is performed by a thread from the DP Upgrade Processing thread pool. Review the DP Installation/Upgrade process flow to understand how to identify the thread performing the DP Install/Upgrade and filter the DistMgr.log for the identified thread. Review the filtered DistMgr.log to identify whether the DP Installation/Upgrade failed/succeeded and proceed accordingly.
 
When troubleshooting DP removal Issues, it is important to remember that the DP Removal is performed by the DP Manager thread, which is single-threaded. This means that if multiple DPs are removed at the same time, the DP removal will be performed one by one and can take a long time if a large number of DPs are removed. Review the DP Removal process to understand how to identify the DP Manager thread and filter the DistMgr.log for the identified thread.

DP Installation

The DP installation involves the steps listed below. These steps cover a typical DP installation initiated from the Configuration Manager console after the administrator has finished the DP installation wizard. Each step is described, followed by an example of how the step can be monitored by examination of the associated log file. If you have a problem with DP installation, the log files should show you exactly where in the process the problem is occurring and provide vital clues to why the process is failing.

DP Upgrade

Distribution Point upgrade involves the steps listed below. These steps cover a typical DP upgrade that is initiated after upgrading a ConfigMgr 1511 site to ConfigMgr 1602. Note that the process is similar when installing a service pack or cumulative update on various Configuration Manager 2012 versions.

DP Change

The following steps explain what happens when you change properties of a DP in the console. These steps cover a scenario where DP description was modified in the DP Properties > General tab from "PS1 Standard DP" to "PS1 Standard DP - TestPropertyChange1".

DP Removal

The following steps explain what happens after you remove the Distribution Point role for a Site System from the console:

Content Library


In this section we’ll take a look at the following:

Understanding Package Actions


Distribute

The first major action pertaining to content distribution is the Distribute action. This refers to the initial distribution of a package to a distribution point. This is triggered by the Distribute Content wizard in the Configuration Manager console. This will transfer all files in a package to the target distribution points, excluding those which are already present in the Content Library of the DP as part of another package. If the package contains any files that are already in the Content Library on the Distribution Point, those files are shared between multiple packages.

Update

The second major action is the Update action. This is typically used when a package has been changed and all distribution points to which it is distributed need the updated content. This is triggered with Update Distribution Points action in the console. This will transfer the changed files to all distribution points. Unchanged files will not be transferred. If a file is removed from the package in the updated version, it will be deleted from the package on the distribution point (as long as no other packages that share the file are on the DP).

Redistribute

The third major action is the Redistribute action, triggered with Redistribute in the Configuration Manager console. This will transfer the entire content to a specific distribution point. Files will be transferred and overwritten even if they are already present in the Content Library on the distribution point. The primary purpose of the Redistribute action is to correct any inconsistencies that may exist in the content library.

Package Creation

The following steps explain the flow of events when you create a new package from the administrator console which hasn't been distributed to any DPs yet:

Distribute a Package to DP across sites

The following steps outline the flow of events when a package is distributed to a DP in the primary site but the primary site server in question does not contain a copy of this package in the content library. This package was created on the CAS site and as a result, CAS is the package source site:

On the Package Source Site:

On the Destination Site:

Distribute a package to Standard DP

The following steps outline the flow of events when a package is distributed to a DP in the Primary Site, and this Primary Site Server in question already has a copy of the Package in the Content Library:

Distribute a package to Pull DP

The following steps outline the flow of events when a Package is distributed to a Pull DP in the Primary Site and this Primary Site Server in question already has a copy of the Package in the Content Library.

Update a Package

When you update a package, the package content is resent to all of the distribution points that the package was distributed to. This is done by incrementing Package Source Version, and only the content changes are sent to the DPs instead of sending all of the content again.

The following steps outline the flow of events that occur when a package is updated. In this example, we will look at the package update operation for a package that was created at a primary site and focus on process changes specific to the package update operation. 

Redistribute a Package

When you redistribute a package to a DP, all of the package content files are re-copied to the DP even if the content already exists in the content library on the DP.

The following steps outline the flow of events that occur when a package is redistributed to a DP. In this example, the primary site server already has a compressed copy of the package. This process is identical to the process outlined in Distribute a package to Standard DP or Distribute a package to Pull DP, so here we only look at detailed log snippets for relevant changes.

Step 1: Administrator redistributes the package to the DP.

Step 2: If Administrator redistributed the package from a different Primary Site or CAS, DRS replicates changes to the Site in question.

Step 3: SMSDBMON notifies DistMgr to process the package.

Step 5: SMSDBMON notifies PkgXferMgr to process the job.

Step 7: SMS DP Provider adds the content to the content library.

Step 8: DistMgr processes the status messages sent by PkgXferMgr.

Step 9: Package status changes are replicated to other sites via DRS.

Troubleshooting


What we’ll discuss here is a general example of how to troubleshoot a content distribution problem, then we’ll take a look at some of the more common problems you might run into.

Reference


Useful SQL Queries


This section is mainly just for reference purposes, but below are some SQL queries that may prove to be helpful when troubleshooting various content distribution related issues.

More Information


For additional information regarding content distribution in Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, please see the following:

You can also post a question in our Configuration Manager support forum.

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