Where’d my Advertisements Go?
Advertisements aren’t quite what you think they are. At least, that’s probably the case if you’re talking in context of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr). At first glance you might see “deleting advertisements” and exclaim: “YES! Please do!” The difference here is that advertisements in SCCM are not product or service advertisements, but rather proclamations of the availability of software to a computer system. If you’re reading this, you most likely already knew that, but if not, then … now you do.
Back in the days of the SCCM 2007 console, there was a single Software Distribution –> Advertisements node which contained advertisements for both standard software distribution and operating system deployment (OSD) task sequences. This worked pretty well, but it was a little confusing since the operating system deployment node was entirely separate from software distribution. Hierarchically, it just didn’t make sense.
Now in SCCM 2012, things have gotten rearranged a little … wait no, not just a little … a lot! If you’re coming from SMS 2003 and SCCM 2007, you’re probably going to be poking around the SCCM 2012 console looking for an “Advertisements” node somewhere, just like I was! Fortunately, Microsoft has switched things around to be a bit more logical, and they appear to have eliminated the terminology of “advertisements” which I’m actually a fan of – what once were known as advertisements are now known as “Deployments.”
Rather than consolidating these deployments under a single deployments node, the deployment objects have been directly associated with the application, package, or task sequence that they’re correlated with. At first, after deploying a program, I was tempted to try to delete the deployment under the Monitoring –> Deployments node. After all, this is where all deployments (task sequences, applications, and packages) are consolidated!
I finally found out where they had put them though, which was right underneath whichever item they’re associated with, as we just discussed! This is much easier to remember and avoids the need to sort through a huge list of deployment objects to find the one you’re looking for.
SMS Provider Objects
This discussion couldn’t be complete without talking about the SCCM provider / Software Development Kit (SDK) at least a little bit now, could it?
In SCCM 2012 Beta 2, the SMS_Advertisement WMI class has survived, however upon closer examination, it only enumerated two instances. The question was … where was my third deployment per the screenshot above? The two instances of SMS_Advertisement represented my Build & Capture task sequence, and my “Test Scripts” deployment, but the 7-Zip deployment was nowhere to be found.
As it turns out, SCCM 2012 Beta 2 has a new concept called “Applications” which are similar to packages, but have more management controls around them to ensure proper application management (install and uninstall commands bound together, native MSI support, etc.). My 7-Zip package was not just a legacy SCCM package, but an Application. If we scroll just a bit to the right in our WMI Explorer, we’ll come across another WMI class called SMS_Application – instances of this class define the actual root application objects.
Right underneath that class is another one called SMS_ApplicationAssignment – aha! Did I ever mention how much I love Microsoft’s logical naming of SCCM WMI provider objects (classes, methods, and properties)? If we enumerate instances of this class, we’ll see the 7-Zip deployment that was listed in the Monitoring node.
Hopefully that helps explain a little bit about deployment objects in ConfigMgr 2012 Beta 2. Until next time – take care!