Patching Windows Server 2012 Clusters with SCCM

I am sure everybody has faced the challenge with patching clusters. In Windows Server 2012 we have the feature Cluster-Aware Updating to help us with applying software updates. Unfortunately if you use SCCM for patching you will probably continue using it even for 2012 clusters because you’ve already have some process in place and this new feature is no use, at least at first look. When you want to consolidate the work of two or more tools SC 2012 Orchestrator comes to the rescue. That is what Neil Peterson from MSFT have done and provided Cluster patching runbooks that leverage Windows Server 2012 Cluster and System Center 2012 Components. I haven’t tested them but feel free to test them and drop some comment here or in this page where you can download them..

Disaster Recovery Solution with Orchestrator

Windows Server 2012 has out of the box a disaster recovery solution for virtual machines named Hyper-V Replica. Unfortunately this solution is not automated but luckily you can automate this solution whatever you like with System Center 2012 Orchestrator. Charles Joy from MSFT even offers free runbooks to the community to make that disaster recovery automated. He made two scenarios – one without using the other System Center components and other where he uses SCSM to initiate the failover. Actually the solution is documented with documents and video. You can directly implement the runbooks in your environment or you can change them to fit your needs. It is up to you to make the logic. The solution is pretty fast and most important free if you have Windows Server 2012 and Orchestrator 2012. I’ve seen a solutions for Disaster Recovery that cost a significant amount of money and in the end they are hard to configure, 1 of 3 cases failed during failover and have certain limitations. So I suggest grab this solution from here and make your Disaster Recovery.

Orchestrator Integration Pack for PowerShell Script Execution 1.1

This Integration Pack provides extended PowerShell Script Execution capabilities for the Orchestrator (executed from and against both x86 and x64 OSs). And again this IP is also developed by Charles Joy. The IP adds two activities:

  • Execute PS Script
  • Execute PS Script – Global


Download the IP with user guide here.

Orchestrator Integration Pack for Standard Logging 1.2

Once again thank you Charles for these great Integration Packs. This IP provides extended Runbook Logging functions for Orchestrator and MSSQL with the following features:

  • Start
  • Success
  • Warning
  • Failure
  • End
  • Restart
  • Get Log Data


Once again it comes with a guide. Free download from here.

Orchestrator Extensibility Kit for SC Operations Manager

Another download provided by Charles Joy which will help you in better integration System Center 2012 components. Let’s see the description of this download:

The Orchestrator Extensibility Kit for SC Operations Manager includes examples of how to extend SC Operations Manager using both the Operations Manager and Orchestrator SDKs. The C# code and compiled DLL included here offer four activities to be used within Orchestrator against Operations Manager. Two of these activities can be used to automatically create and/or delete notification subscriptions based on an existing Notification Channel. The other two activities work against the Operations Manager database tracking existing Pending Agent Installs for Approval and the provide the ability to Approve them.


The download comes into a zip file that contains implementation and usage guide. Download it here.