SCCM Orchestration Group Setup Step by Step Guide for Server Patching

Microsoft recently released the SCCM 1909 version of the technical preview. Let’s check what the SCCM Orchestration Group (controlled patching) setup guide is. This feature is part of a specialized preview version of SCCM and is subject to change.

NOTE! – I feel SCCM orchestration groups for server patching are made up of some logic from Phased Deployments and Automatic Deployment Rules. But I could be wrong.

SCCM Technical Preview LAB

If you don’t have a technical preview lab, I strongly recommend creating one. The baseline version of the SCCM technical preview is 1907. You can download this from the Microsoft eval center.

Patch My PC

Latest SCCM Preview Baseline version download and install the latest preview baseline version SCCM 1907.

What is SCCM Orchestration Groups

SCCM Orchestration Groups are the evolution of SCCM Server groups. The orchestration groups are for more controlled patching of servers.

Update: What is the difference between SCCM Orchestration groups and Server Groups? As per David James, director of the SCCM engineering team in Microsoft. There are changes on the client-side and as well as server-side. Also, the admin UI is changed. More details ⏬⏬

I Quote ▶▶ “The server-side backend is different. The server-side front end is a much better UI. The client-side is the same in the tp, but will be changed in the next tp to be different, more real-time controlled from the primary.”

SCCM orchestration groups are the advanced version of server groups in SCCM. I don’t know how many of you are using server groups to Patch the cluster servers and exchange servers, domain controllers, etc.. if you are using server groups, you know there are some issues with those server groups.

Orchestration Group
Orchestration Group

With the release of orchestration, groups are the SCCM trying to eliminate those pain points while doing the server patching. So as I mentioned above, today, install SCCM 1906 technical preview version and play around with orchestration groups for SCCM server patching.

NOTE! – When you enable Orchestration Groups, the site disables the Server Groups feature. This behavior avoids any conflicts between the two features.

Step by Step Orchestration Group Setup

In the SCCM console, go to the Assets and Compliance workspace, and select the Orchestration Group node.

Select Create Orchestration Group to open the Create Orchestration Group Wizard. On the General page, give your orchestration group a Name and optionally a Description.

New Server Patching Orchestration

NOTE! – Create an Orchestration group to coordinate operations to optimize downtime for your group.

SCCM Orchestration Group
New Server Patching SCCM Orchestration Group

The latest updates about Orchestration Groups are available with the SCCM|ConfigMgr 2002 version here.

On the Member Selection page, first, specify the current Site code. Then select Browse to add device resources as members of this SCCM orchestration group. 

SCCM Orchestration Group Setup Step by Step Guide for Server Patching 1
Site Code – Adding Members – SCCM Orchestration Group
  • Search for devices by name, or you can search by
  • Search with Resource Type
  • Search in Collection use can use the BROWSE button to check the collections (exciting!)
  • Advanced search options to select Orchestration Members/resources
Resource Select  SCCM Orchestration Group
Resource Select SCCM Orchestration Group

Once you select the resource, click Add them to SCCM Orchestration Group to perform server patching. Select OK when you finish adding devices to the Selected resources list.

Add Members - SCCM Orchestration Group - OK
Add Members – SCCM Orchestration Group – OK
  • Click Next to continue once you selected the resources

NOTE! – It seems the REMOVE button is not able to remove the resources.

Resource selection - SCCM Orchestration Group
Resource selection – SCCM Orchestration Group

SCCM Orchestration Group Rules Selection Page gives you an option to set the logic for the orchestration for patching cluster or domain controllers.

  • Allow a Percentage of the machines to be updated at the same time
    • (Default option) Allow a number of the machines to be updated at the same time (Maximum Supported number is 2000000)
    • Specify the maintenance sequence

The above granularity to select the logic of orchestration is amazing to cater to complex environments and requirements of server patching.

 Rule Selection - SCCM Orchestration Group
Rule Selection – SCCM Orchestration Group

SCCM Orchestration Group PreScript Page – Specify the PowerShell script before running the orchestration on the selected devices.

Script timeout (in seconds) – Maximum Timeout in the second possibility is 2000000, and minimum timeout is 1.

NOTE! – The script should return a value of 0 for success or 3010 for success with a restart. You can also specify a Script timeout value, which fails the script if it doesn’t complete in the specified time.

PreScript Page - SCCM Orchestration Group
PreScript Page – SCCM Orchestration Group

SCCM Orchestration Group PostScript Page – Specify the PowerShell script After running the orchestration on the selected devices.

Script timeout (in seconds) – Maximum Timeout in the second possibility is 2000000, and minimum timeout is 1.

NOTE! – The script should return a value of 0 for success or 3010 for success with a restart. You can also specify a Script timeout value, which fails the script if it doesn’t complete in the specified time.

PostScript Page - SCCM Orchestration Group
PostScript Page – SCCM Orchestration Group

Click Next, Next, and Finish to complete the creation of the SCCM Orchestration Group for server patching.

Complete the process - SCCM Orchestration Group
Complete the process – SCCM Orchestration Group

How to Test Orchestration Group

Now you have to the behavior of the SCCM orchestration group for server patching. This testing of orchestration groups can be performed by Software Update deployment or standard SCCM patching methods.

More detailsSCCM Patching Software Update Process Guide

Once you create a software update group, deploy the same to a collection containing the orchestration group members.

SCCM Orchestration Group Logs

Use the following log files on the SCCM site server to help monitor and troubleshoot the SCCM Orchestration Group:

  • Policypv.log: shows that the site targets the orchestration group to the clients
PolicyPV.log - SCCM Orchestration Group
PolicyPV.log – SCCM Orchestration Group
~Begin processing MachineOrchestrationGroup policy  $$<09-28-2019 18:16:27.374-330>
Notifying policy provider about changes in policy content/targeting~ $$<09-28-2019 18:16:27.425-330>
~Policy or Policy Target Change Event triggered. $$<09-28-2019 18:16:27.426-330>
~CPolicyProvider::HandleMachineOrchestrationGroupPolicy: Successfully created Policy for F891D320-AAA6-47DD-A43E-D873368F1382 $$<09-28-2019 18:16:27.426-330>
CPolicyProvider::HandleMachineOrchestrationGroupMembersPolicy:nSuccessfully updated Policy Targeting for Machine (ID:2097152004)
Completed processing HandleMachineOrchestrationGroupMembers Policy Assignments policy
  • SMS_OrchestrationGroup.log: shows the behaviors of the orchestration group
SCCM Orchestration Group - SMS_OrchestrationGroup.log
SCCM Orchestration Group – SMS_OrchestrationGroup.log

Results

Navigate \Assets and Compliance\Overview\Orchestration Group\ to check the members of Orchestration Group and Start Orchestration and verify the log files. Also, verify the end-to-end Server patching orchestration process.

Start Orchestration - SCCM  Orchestration Group
Start OrchestrationSCCM Orchestration Group

Author

Anoop is Microsoft MVP! He is a Device Management Admin with more than 20 years of experience (calculation done in 2021) in IT. He is Blogger, Speaker, and Local User Group HTMD Community leader. His main focus is on Device Management technologies like SCCM 2012, Current Branch, and Intune. He writes about ConfigMgr, Windows 11, Windows 10, Azure AD, Microsoft Intune, Windows 365, AVD, etc.

2 thoughts on “SCCM Orchestration Group Setup Step by Step Guide for Server Patching”

  1. Did they totally remove the node drain and node resume script functionality in Orchestration Groups? I need this to be able to patch SQL clusters effectively…since a pre/post only run at the start and end of the orch group as a whole. This results in 1 failover happening and 1 node patching…then it just sits since it doesn’t run the failover scripts PER node….like it used to with server groups.

    Reply

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