How Does an SCCM Server Work? | Managing Macs with SCCM


The Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager is an administration tool that enables organizations to manage and safeguard devices and software within its environment. SCCM takes care of the hardware inventory, distributing software and patches, and more. So when admins speak of an SCCM server they usually mean an environment comprising software modules and server hardware and together making up the SCCM architecture.

SCCM is a server application, the architecture of which can be more or less complex depending on the organization. How does such an SCCM server work? The appearance of the SCCM environment’s architecture can vary with the number of locations the organization has. But one thing never changes: There must be an SCCM Primary Site Server located right on top of the hierarchy. This also means that this primary SCCM-Server is deployed on premise, that is, within the corporate network. As an application, SCCM runs under Windows Server 2012 and consists of several modules. Apart from the Primary Site Server in charge of everything else, SCCM needs a data base server to operate the system’s SQL data base. The SMS Provider Server is responsible for distributing Windows images to clients using the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kits (ADK). Software and setups are distributed to clients out of the corporate application pool via Distribution Points.

These separate SCCM modules do not lead to SCCM always needing multiple physical servers to operate. It is quite feasible to set up SCCM as a single server solution. The console used to administrate the SCCM environment and visualize it for admins can be executed either on the server directly or on a client. Microsoft SCCM is purpose built to manage Windows clients but with the help of the Parallels Mac Management plug-in, it can also handle Mac clients conveniently – and straight from the SCCM console as well.

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