sccm2012-logoThis time not really a technical blog but a short story about what happens if IT people don’t talk to each other. A month or so ago a customer of mine emailed me describing an issue that OS Deployment was suddenly not working anymore. In the morning it was still working and during the afternoon it was not. For some reason WindowsPE could not be found on any distribution point.

After some digging around by the client, apparently the Active Directory Team renamed the Active Directory sites in their environment without telling the rest of their colleagues. So this behavior is indeed very logical because the actual AD site in which the client computer is in, is not known by Configuration Manager. Let’s see how this process works.

Boundary background

When looking at the Configuration Manager 2012 Technet Documentation for a definition of a boundary you will find the following explanation: “A boundary is a network location on the intranet t that can contain one or more devices that you want to manage.”

And that’s basically it, but they are very important when it comes to content location and site assignment. A boundary can be one of the following; IP Subnet, Active Directory Site, IPv6 prefix and an IP address range. The boundaries are available throughout the Configuration Manager 2012 hierarchy and must be member of one or more Boundary Groups.

Boundary Groups are used to group the boundaries in a logical way but more important is that they are used for content location and if you have a hierarchy for site assignment.


In in this case an Active Directory Site was used as a boundary and added to a boundary group for content location. So after the Active Directory Site was renamed the Location services will report that the client is located in a new Active Directory Site. When this Active Directory Site Name is used for content location for a package or something else the client is not able to find content for the requested package and the deployment will fail.

Talk to your colleagues

In this example it was the Active Directory site boundary, but you will also run into the same issues when you are using IP ranges or subnets and you are in the process in changing your IP addresses and subnets.

I think the lesson learned it that you as a Configuration Manager Administrator needs to communicate with the network guys and the guys managing Active Directory and vice versa. Create awareness that Configuration Manager is a complex product that is depended of many components in your network. It is not just a deployment tool 😉

Till next time.

Also posted on Windows IT Pro’s IdeaXchange