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The ConfigMgr Primary site is one of the most important pieces of the ConfigMgr Infrastructure, since you will always find at least one primary site in any ConfigMgr Architecture.

Clients can only be assigned to a primary site. The Primary site also stores the client related data that is gathered through the Hardware & software inventory processes.

Very often, a primary site is the only site that you might ever need to install. The one good reason to go and add another Primary site is when you plan to have more then 100 000 clients to manage. The second (contraversal) point resides in if you have political reasons to need to implement primary site.

Key Infos

Feature Value
Number of clients (Max) 100 000
NLB True
Cluster True
Can have Parent  CAS
 Can have Child  Secondary Suite / Distribution point

When do I need a Primary Site?

When Do I want to install a Primary Site ?

  1. If you don’t have any configmgr at all yet, and you need to do client management, reporting, Operating System Deployment, Application Deployment, Software update managment etc.. (All the core things of ConfigMgr actually).
  2. If you have less then 100 000 clients to manage.
  3. If you need to provide a local point of connectivity for administration / Need to manage clients directly.

You can simply go ahead and use one single Primary site.

Addind a primary site to your existing ConfigMgr Hierarchy

When should you start thinking of adding an extra primary site to you hierarchy?

Many reasons could make you think: “Hmm, do I need another primary site?”

Sometimes, it is really worth thinking it through, because adding another primary site has the following downsides / consequences:

  1. If you have only a single Primary site, adding a second primary site, will oblige you to add a CAS first, and then attach your existing your Primary site to it.  then, once that is implemented, you can go ahead and add your secondary primary site.
  2. Unlike a simple Distribution point, a primary site needs to run in conjunction with a SQL server. It adds up into the complexity of your implmementation tasks.
  3. Although this doens’t seem like much, adding a primary site, will extend your existing infrastructure and will defenitley complicate this for your. Say hello to potential replication issues between your primary site and your CAS.
  4. And last but not least, adding a primary site, resides in adding a Server with ConfigMgr on it. A sql Server is also needed. (Clustered instance higly recommended). If no CAS is already present, you need to add a CAS, which also requires a SQL server (Cluster instance recommended). All of this has one impact that should not be overseen: Costs. Ineed, there are licenses here in play, and this is something that should defenitly be taken into consideration.

When to add a Primary site to an existing Infrastructure?

With ConfiMgr 2007, it was verry normal to have a big hierarchy, with a lot of components involved in it. ConfiMgr 2012 really changed on that matter, and it is possible to have the same amount of control with a hierarchy way less complicated to manage.

Adding a primary site, is one of these operations that could really make your hierarchy way more complicated that it actually has to. (Addind a primary site often resides in adding a CAS, and adding SQL servers as well).

All of that hierarchy needs to work well together, and you are not 100% protected from any CAS / primary site replication issues, and troubleshooting these things can be pretty annoying..

It also costs way more. Not directly, but adding SQL servers, Windows Servers etc… will defenitly costs in terms of licesenses.

And one crucial thing to know, is that very very very often, where you considered installing a primary site, it is actually possible to add a distribution point instead.

Ask yourself the right questions!

In order to decided whether or not adding a new primary site to your existing ConfigMgr infrastrucutre, ask your self the following questions:

  1. What are the services you need to offer on that site?
    1. Application deployment
    2. OSD
    3. etc….
  2. Have you considered a local distribution point?
  3. Have you considered a Management point?
  4. Do you need a local point of administration?

Allowed site systems on a primary server:

The following table lists which Site systems you can install on a primary site:

Site system role Primary site (Stand alone) Primary site (Child)
Application Catalog Web Service point true true
Application Catalog website point true true
Asset Intelligence synchronization point true true
 Certificate registration point  true true
 Distribution point  true  true
 Fall back status point  true  true
 Management point  true  true
 End point Protection point  true  true
 Enrollment point  true  true
 Enrollment proxy point  true  true
 Out of band service point  true  true
 Reporting services point  true  true
 Software update point  true  true
 system Health validator point  true  true
 Microsoft Intune connector  true  false

Key take aways