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How can you manage Linux based clients in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager ?

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System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager supports a wide variety of operating systems including alternative operating systems such as the following:-


Mac Client:

  • Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
  • Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)
  • Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)

UNIX/Linux Client:

  • AIX Version 7.1, 6.1, 5.3
  • Solaris Version 11, 10, 9
  • HP-UX Version 11iv2 , 11iv3
  • RHEL Version 6 , 5, 4
  • SLES Version 11, 10, 9
  • CentOS Version 6, 5
  • Debian Version 6, 5
  • Ubuntu Version 12.4 LTS, 10.4 LTS
  • Oracle Linux 6, 5


Note: A list of supported clients is available on Technet here.


In this post I will show you how to install the Linux client on a popular Linux operating system (Centos 6.4) and do some basic actions like hardware and software inventory in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. This guide assumes you have already installed your Linux server and are ready for the next step. If you have not installed it yet just download the Live CD from here and boot from it, choose the option to Install to hard drive once the os has booted to the desktop.


Step 1. Download the Alternative Client files

Note: The download required will be different depending on which version of Configuration Manager you are using. Download the correct version matching the version you are running, so if for example you are running the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 CU1 use these updated clients.


When you started the System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager installation you probably didn't notice that there was a link to download alternative clients on the splash screen highlighted in the screenshot below


Download clients for additional operating systems.png


If you did click on the link it would bring you here so go ahead and download those client files.


Update: check the following link for updated supported clients and click here for R2 SP1 or Current Branch clients.


Step 2. Extract the Linux client files on a Windows computer

On the computer you downloaded the alternative client files, locate the Linux client exe file and extract the contents somewhere local by double clicking on the ConfigMgr Clients for Linux.exe file.


downloaded client files.png


extract the files to somewhere useful.


ConfigMgr Clients for Linux.png


the files are extracted..


extracted files.png


Step 3. Copy the linux client files to your linux server
Logon as a testuser on the Centos server, click on the Computer icon, and click on File, then Connect to server


connect to Server.png


enter the details required to connect to a server that has the client files downloaded from Step 1 above and click on connect (notice I chose windows shares in the service type drop down menu) then click on Connect




you may be prompted for a password, enter it


enter password.png


Locate the extracted files and copy them to your desktop


linux clients copied to the desktop.png



Step 4. Install the Linux client


To install the client we need the right permission, and the permission needed is that of root. We will install the Linux client using the command line. Start a terminal by clicking on Applications, System tools and choosing Terminal.




become root (the Linux equivalent of Administrator) by typing

su -

This will prompt you for a password, enter the password for root.


become root.png


change directory (cd) to the directory that holds the client installation files. Linux is case sensitive so keep that in mind.


cd to the client install files.png


make the installer executable by typing the following

chmod +x install

chmod plus x.png


and then install the client using the following command (for an X64 server os, use the corresponding X86 file if it's 32 bit). Change the management point FQDN and sitecode to match your infrastructure.

./install -mp sccm.server2008r2.lab.local -sitecode P01 ccm-Universalx64.

After some moments you'll see Installation Complete, if you get a "Pre-Install validator failed. Please check the version of OpenSSL with CM installation requirements" try the -ignoreSHA256validation switch as specified here.


installation complete.png


You can review what's happening realtime via the log file using the following command

tail -F /var/opt/microsoft/scxcm.log

linux log file.png


Tip: to uninstall the client use /opt/microsoft/configmgr/bin/uninstall



Step 5. Change logging options


Logging for the Linux based client is pretty much all done in one log file called scxcm.log contained in /var/opt/microsoft/. How that log file gets written to is governed by the following configuration file /opt/microsoft/configmgr/etc/scxcm.conf.


Below is what the conf file looks like by default:-


PATH: /var/opt/microsoft/scxcm.log
MODULE: scx.client WARNING


using vi or your favorite text editor in Linux, change it so that it now reads as follows


PATH: /var/opt/microsoft/scxcm.log
MODULE: scx.client TRACE

scxcm.conf in vi.png


save the changes and stop and then start (or simply restart) the Linux client



To start the client:

/etc/init.d/ccmexecd start

To stop the client:

/etc/init.d/ccmexecd stop

start linux client.png


Tip: The default logging mode for the scxcm.log file is WARNING which Indicates possible problems for the client operations. TRACE mode logs verbosely. As the log file is not trimmed in any way, when you are finished doing your diagnosis it is recommended to change it back to WARNING mode and restart the client daemon.


Step 6. Approve the Linux client



In the Configuration Manager console, locate the new linux client in Devices, and right click choose Approve.




answer yes when prompted


answer yes when prompted.png


the client is now listed as Approved in the console


client is approved.png



Step 7. Request a machine Policy


as root issue the following command

/opt/microsoft/configmgr/bin/ccmexec -rs policy

policy requested.png


in the log file above you can see the word TRACE repeated over and over, this confirms that our change to the logging options were indeed processed and it's now in Trace mode.


Step 8. Perform a hardware inventory


Hardware inventory on a Linux or UNIX server runs according to the schedule you configure in client settings. By default, this is every seven days. The client for Linux and UNIX supports both full inventory cycles and delta inventory cycles.


You can also force the client on a Linux or UNIX server to immediately run hardware inventory. To run hardware inventory, on a client use root credentials to run the following command to start a hardware inventory cycle: /opt/microsoft/configmgr/bin/ccmexec -rs hinv


as root issue the following command

/opt/microsoft/configmgr/bin/ccmexec -rs hinv

perform a hinv.png


on your Configuration Manager server, you can check the MP_HINV.log and look for the HINV details from our Centos computer coming in...


mp_hinv log file.png


now's a good time to start Resource Explorer in the console to see what info it has got


start resource explorer.png


and here is what the installed applications look like


resource explorer details of installed applications.png


and that's it, you've installed the Alternative client on our Centos server and performed a Hardware Inventory and got the information uploaded to your Primary server. You can even install RPM packages using Packages (and programs). I'll deal with that in a separate post.


until then, adios





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