MDT 2012 New Features – Monitoring

A big complaint of mine and many colleagues was the lack of monitoring in MDT 2010.  You never really knew what the status of a job was if it failed halfway thru. 

MDT 2012 now comes with a moniting section to view the progress of your task sequences. 

You can find monitoring in the bottom of your Deployment Workbench.  By default, this is turned off.  But very easy to turn on.

 mdt monitoring

mdt monitoring2


When you enable MDT 2012 monitoring, two things happen:

From Michael Neihuas Blog at Microsoft

  1. A new service, the “Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Monitor Service” (short name MDT_Monitor), is installed on the computer.  This service receives events from the computers being monitored, tracking each computer and how far it is in the deployment process.  It also provides this tracking data to Deployment Workbench for you, the administrator, to see.
  2. The CustomSettings.ini file is modified to add a new entry specifying the URL (a combination of the host name and port specified in the deployment share settings) to be used for monitoring.  This is how clients know where to send information.  The MDT scripts (through their use of ZTIUtility.vbs) will automatically send events to this URL.

A few other details:

  • The computers will be automatically removed after three days, to keep the database from getting too big.
  • If the monitoring service doesn’t hear from a computer for more than four hours, it considers the machine “unresponsive” – so if you see that status in the Workbench list, that’s why.
  • Every time a deployment task sequence starts, completes, or fails, an event log message will be written by the service.  So if you want to trigger some activity based on these events, you can easily do so.
  • You might think that IIS would be required for the MDT_Monitor service, but it’s not.  It’s leveraging features of the .NET Framework to run a “mini web server” as part of the service itself.
  • You might also think that a SQL database would be required to store the details.  Well, there is one, but you don’t need to install SQL Server to use it.  MDT uses a SQL Compact database; all the files needed are installed as part of MDT (and only used if monitoring is enabled).

Fairly easy to turn this one.  Also don’t need to worry about SQL either.  Just a compact SQL install included in the MDT install files. 


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