Tuesday, May 27, 2014

GroupCalcPollingIntervalMilliseconds in SCSM 2012 Causes Queue Membership Issues

This TechNet article recommends changing the GroupCalcPollingIntervalMilliseconds registry entry to 1000000 to improve performance of System Center Service Manager. It is supposed to reduce the frequency with which Service Manager calculated group membership used within user roles to 10 minute intervals, which improves performance in large environments. There are three issues with this recommendation:

  1. 1000000 milliseconds is not 10 minutes, it's ~17 minutes. Minutes are not in base ten. If you want to set this key after reading the following bullet points, make sure you do your math correctly.
  2. This registry key impacts the application of SLOs to work items, as the GroupCalcPolling process is responsible for this.
  3. This registry key also impacts the process that relates a work item to a queue. If you're scoping what work items users can see by queue criteria, work items will only be added to queues within the specified interval.

This means that a user will not see work items scoped to them until the GroupCalcPolling process runs at the specified interval. By the same token, SLOs will not be applied until this interval elapses as well.

Obviously numbers 2 and 3 are an issue in all but the smallest environments, so use extreme caution when setting this key. It will improve performance, but it will impact other, potentially critical, areas within Service Manager that the SCSM team has apparently not documented.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Managing Scheduled Tasks from Group Policy

There were two different questions on the front page of Server Fault today, both needing a way to deploy scheduled tasks to a large number of servers. The preferred method for this type of thing is to use System Center Orchestrator, but if you don't have System Center licensing, you can deploy scheduled tasks using GPO.


First, open the Group Policy Management Console. You can find the policy preferences that we care about in Computer Configuration > Control Panel Settings > Scheduled Tasks.


Right click on Scheduled Tasks and select "Scheduled Task (At Least Windows 7)" if you're targeting this at Window 7 or 2008 R2 or later.


You're now presented with the familiar Task Scheduler dialog. Here you can configure the task like you would on any individual computer.


You should now have a Scheduled Task item. The default action is "Update" but "Create" or "Replace" will have similar results. For a quick rundown of what the actions do, read this TechNet article.


If we hop over to one of the servers that this policy applies to and run a gpupdate /force, we can then go into Task Scheduler on the local computer and see the job that we defined in GPO.


Hopefully, this makes the deployment and management of scheduled tasks a bit easier if you don't have a proper workflow management system like System Center Orchestrator. Happy scheduling!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

LOPSA East 2014

As some of you may know, I will be speaking at LOPSA East in May.

I'll be doing a three hour session on Active Directory Domain Services during the Saturday morning block. You should all register and come hang out!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

On Asking for Help

I've noticed a disturbing trend on Server Fault lately. People are asking for help with things that they have not tried to find the answer to themselves. Some of the regulars on the site have speculated that it's concentrated within certain cultures. Others have said that it's from a younger inexperienced generation that want quick answers. I'm not sure if either of those are accurate, but it's got to stop for the long-term success of our profession.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Review: Microsoft System Center 2012 Orchestrator Cookbook

A few months ago, I was contacted by the publisher of Microsoft System Center 2012 Orchestrator Cookbook and was asked if I'd live to review a copy on my blog. Since I spend most of my professional life deploying Service Manager and Orchestrator, I thought it was a great opportunity. It's currently on sale for $5 in eBook format for the holiday season and can be purchased at the Packt Publishing site.