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Minor Active Directory tweaks in Configuration Manager R3

As you may have heard, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 R3 was officially released this week. While most of the attention has been geared toward the software’s new power management features, it’s worth noting that R3 ships with some other enhancements as well.

One such feature is a new Active Directory discovery capability for finding new or recently modified objects in AD. The feature, called Delta Discovery, is an add-on to the discovery capabilities already present in SCCM.

Basically, admins use discovery features to find Active Directory information for clients to be managed with SCCM. When turned on (it’s turned off by default), Delta Discovery is designed to work in conjunction with these features to quickly find only new or recently changed resources that are then added to the Configuration Manager database. These resources include computer, user, security group and system group objects.

Microsoft’s Justin Goa blogged that Delta Discovery only collects AD attribute changes that are replicated, writing, “non-replicated attributes which are changed, such as the memberof attribute, are not collected by delta discovery unless a change to a replicated attribute is made at the same time.” Another limitation of the feature is that while it does support forest trusts, this doesn’t apply if the trust type is set to external, according to Microsoft TechNet.

So a minor update, but one worth noting if you plan to move up to R3. And if you’re not excited, Microsoft senior technical product manager Jeff Wettlaufer is. “By tightening our key relationship to Active Directory with finer, more granular polling and delta monitoring, and marrying this with a new ability to rapidly populate those changes into collections; organizations will find a more responsive platform that meets their business needs, not just those of IT,” Wettlaufer wrote in a company blog post.

So there you go. Configuration Manager 2007 R3 can be evaluated via the Microsoft website, though folks should note that SCCM 2007 SP2 is required to deploy R3, as it is not a complete version of the product.

For more information on System Center and Microsoft Active Directory, visit

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