SCCM 64 bit considerations [updated]

System Center Configuration Manager 2007 does not ship with any server roles based on x64. So what is the consideration on running that software on x64 architecture?

Sccm2007 runs basically the same (performance wise) on 32 bit OS or 64 bit OS, and even you could see slight worse performance because of so-called “thunking” when running 32 bit SCCM on x64 OS (in WOW mode).  

However, on x64 remote SQL we do see some performance improvement (assuming you have a DEDICATED, high bandwidth direct net connection between your central site server and the DB server) so the most performant configuration you will see will be with remote SQL on x64 and x86 for the rest of the site roles. Such design is usually only recommended for larger deployments, over 5000 clients.

Currently there are no plans to develop the server side infrastructure for x64, but this might change.

Regarding agents, ConfigMgr manages x64 computers fully.

Comparing SCCM vs SMS 2003 performance considerations

For performing the same functions (meaning you do not use new SCCM 2007 functionality) there is no significant difference in CPU load.  The memory footprint of the client is however a bit bigger because of the new capabilities added.  Software Update installation generates a bit more load over the network because we produce more accurate and up-to-date status of the process.  The SCCM agent has new capabilities, such as for task sequencing or Desired Configuration Management (DCM). If you use that there could be additional load larger then for your SMS 2003 clients.

The goal of SCCM sizing is that no upgrade to the server-side infrastructure is required when going from SMS 2003 to ConfigMgr 2007 (privded you are using the same areas of functionality).  If you use new areas of functionality (especially OSD for large images like Vista), then you will probably need better (or ramped up) servers.

For sizing tools currently you can utilize what’s existing for SMS 2003 plus this link:http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb680869.aspx. More documentation on that will come later probably.

Single box + WSUS considerations

When you install every component of SCCM in central site on one box (good for small/medium scale deployments) and you are buying new hardware, you can get a beefy box. So how to make sure SCCM uses all it’s power? If you have a really good server with over 4 GB of RAM, I suggest to install x64 OS and SQL. And let SCCM run in WOW mode. This will improve memory utilization of SQL. If additionally you want to run WSUS on the same server we recommend putting it in a separate named SQL instance. But I would suggest this only if you have x64 OS and SQL and have over 4GB RAM, otherwise the overhead of another SQL instance might not really benefit the control you get for memory allocation on separate instances.

If you have a smaller deployment (server is up to 4GB RAM) I suggest staying with 32 bit and if possible separating WSUS to another server, or if necessary to run on the same server, using the same SQL instance – for simplicity of management and minimum SQL instance overhead.

Disk considerations

When your run SQL + SCCM (and maybe even WSUS) on one server make sure you separate the disks for at least these:

  • OS
  • SQL DBs
  • SQL transaction logs
  • SCCM distribution point share and package source files
  • (you may also want to put in some more disks if available: 1 for WSUS SQL instance DB and 1 for its SQL logs, and 1 )

ConfigMgr Console tip

Another tip for using the ConfigMgr console is the debugview switch that lets you see more details, might come in useful especially when extending the console.

See: Command Line Options for Running the Configuration Manager Console http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb693533.aspx

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~ by alipka on November 13, 2007.

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