SCCM: Configuring and Using Discovery Attributes

In this article I will show you how to configure additional attributes and use them to create better and more accurate query based collections in SCCM.

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Introduction

System Center Configuration Manager 2012, as SCCM 2007, has the ability to configure additional discovery attributes that will be populated on resource objects (Users, Computers and Groups) during the discovery process. In this article I will show you how to configure these additional attributes and use them to create better and more accurate query based collections.

 

What are discovery attributes?

When it comes to discovering resources using Active Directory, SCCM uses two types of attributes: System required attributes that cannot be removed and are required by SCCM and Custom Created attributes that we as the system administrators can create and use for our own needs. These attributes must be mapped to an existing Active Directory attribute and use the same name (The Attribute Name field is case sensitive and uses camelCasing). They can be configured for all types of resources that can be discovered by any Active Directory discovery method.

Once SCCM runs its Active Directory discovery methods it tries to populate all corresponding attributes with their matching data in active directory. The data is updated or added to the resource object in SCCM’s database and is now available for our convenience.

SCCM Additional Attributes, figure 1

 

How to use our new discovery data?

Once the new data from our custom attributes has been updated to our SCCM database we can use it like we normally would for queries and query-based collections. An attribute I always create and use is the department attribute from Active Directory for user objects. Using this attribute I can create user collections based on department memberships and use these collections to distribute software installations.

SCCM Additional Attributes, figure 2

 

Conclusion

Custom discovery attributes are a great and valuable addition to SCCM. They have always been an easy to use and provide great extensibility to our collection creation process.

Elad Hayun

About the Author

Elad Hayun - Co-founder, Corporate Partner and R&D Manager at U-BTech Solutions

Elad is co-founder, partner and R&D manager at U-BTech Solutions. Elad is a senior consultant and integrator, with years of experience in the centralized systems management and Information Worker field. Elad is also a certified Microsoft trainer and a senior instructor at John Bryce Hi-Tech College.

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