Project – Creation of a Systems Center Configuration Manager 2012 Lab environment

TechNet Recommended Reading :

Configuration Manager Team Blog 

Getting Started with System Center 2012 – Configuration Manager

What’s New in Configuration Manager 2012

Documentation Library for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

Supported Configurations for Configuration Manager

Deployment Guide for Configuration  Manager

Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Support

Hardware Requirements

The hardware requirements for this type of setup are very high. Microsoft’s recommendation on TechNet describes the recommended hardware requirements for the Management Server(s) along with other features. Use this information to help plan for hardware requirements for your Management Server(s).

Main Management Server 

  • Needs to have at least 4 GB of ram to run
  • Needs to have at least 140 GB of Diskspace to run
  • Operating system used will be Server 2012 Standard Edition 64 bit
  • Processor architecture will be 64bit
  • Windows Powershell Version 3.0
  • .NET Framework 4.0 is required


There are 2 different deployment scenarios that you can use: Single-Server, and Distributed. Microsoft has created 2 diagrams to show the different deployments. In our example, we are going to use the distributed type.

Part1-multiserver configmgr diagram

This will make one server the Central Administration Server and another server a Primary Site server. Both of these servers will run SQL serverr. This will allow for expansion of the site after the initial creation, and is recommended for enterprise environments. The supported configuration should support up to 100,000 clients, even if my hardware can’t.


I will be using VMWare ESXi 5.5 in my LAB  to host the virtual machines in the LAB.

The virtual machines will be running Windows Server 2012 Datacenter as well as Windows Server 2012. The client machines will be Windows XP and Windows 7.

My hardware will consist of the following:

Server 1:

  • AMD FX8350
  • BioStar A960D+
  • 16 GB DDR3 ram
  • 1 2TB Hitachi HD
  • 250 GB Samsung SSD 840 Evo for caching)

Server 2:

  • AMD FX8350
  • BioStar A960D+
  • 16 GB DDR3 ram
  • 1 2TB Hitachi HD
  • 250 GB Samsung SSD 840 Evo (for caching)


  • Asus RT-N56U
  • Pfsense 2.1 Firewall

Host PC:

  • Intel Core i5
  • Gigabyte
  • 16 GB DDR3 ram
  • 1 2TB Hitachi HD



High Level Plan

Here is a high level plan of what will be completed in the following posts:

1.       Create the Lab Environment

2.       Install the Operating System

3.       Install Active Directory Domain Services

4.       Install SQL Server

5.       Install System Center Configuration Manager

After the initial creation of the System Center Environment, later posts will detail how to get parts of System Center working correctly and why they are used.


So now let’s start with the first part, creating the lab environment.


Part 1 Creation of Lab Environment using Vmware ESXi 5.5

Part 2 Installation of Operating Systems on VMs

Part 3 Installation of Active Directory Domain Services

Part 4 Active Directory Preparation Work

Part 5 Installation of SQL Server

Part 6 – Installation of Config Mgr PreReqs

Part 7 – Installing Configuration Manager

Part 8 – How to set boundaries and enable discovery methods

Part 9 – Deploying Client and managing client settings

Part 10 – Collecting Inventory and Creating Simple Collections

Part 11 – Creation of queries and building query based collections

Part 12 – Creating and Managing Reports

Part 13 – Packaging Software for Local Installation and Application Virtualization

Part 14 – Software Distribution, the Older way: Packages and Programs

Part 15 – Software Distribution, the new way by applications

Part 16 – Deployment of Operating Systems

Part 17 – Deploying Software Updates

Part 18 – Deploying and Managing Compliance Baselines

Part 19 – Metering Software Usage

Part 20 – Managing Forefront EndPoint Protection Settings

Part 21 – Managing Mobile Devices and Securing Client Communication

Part 22 – Monitoring and Managing Site and Client Status

Part  23 – Implementing ConfigMgr Role-based Security

Part 24 – Planning and Implementing a ConfigMgr Site Hierarchy

Part  25 – Post ConfigMgr