In this article, I will show you how to set up or install SCCM distribution point. We will look at ConfigMgr DP Installation and Configuration from scratch.
What is a distribution point in SCCM? Distribution points in Configuration Manager hosts the content files that you deploy to devices and users.
SCCM Distribution points play a key role in the delivery of packages, programs, endpoint protection updates, applications, software updates, and operating system deployment (OSD).
When you distribute the content to a ConfigMgr DP, clients connect to DPs for installation source files. They can either run from the DP, or downloaded to cache, and then run.
Distribution Points are also known as DPs or DP. We often call it as SCCM DP instead of SCCM distribution point.
When you want to install a new SCCM distribution point in your setup, there are many steps involved. You have to complete these steps for the DP role installation to be successful.
Table of Contents
What is a Distribution Point in SCCM?
A SCCM distribution point (DP) is a Configuration Manager server role where packages are stored for later distribution. SCCM Distribution points play a key role in the delivery of packages, programs, endpoint protection updates, applications, software updates, and operating system deployment (OSD).
SCCM Distribution Point Prerequisites
Before we install a new Configuration Manager Distribution Point, the following prerequisites are required.
- Windows Server Roles and Features
- Remote Differential Compression
- IIS Configuration
- Application Development
- ISAPI Extensions
- Security: Windows Authentication
- IIS 6 Management Compatibility: IIS 6 Metabase and IIS 6 WMI Compatibility.
- Visual C++ Redistributable
- To support PXE or multicast on ConfigMgr DP:
- Enable a PXE responder on a distribution point without Windows Deployment Service.
- Install and configure the Windows Deployment Services (WDS) Windows Server role.
- For a multicast-enabled distribution point, make sure the SQL Server Native Client is installed and up to date.
- You can use a cloud service in Microsoft Azure to host a distribution point.
In addition to that PowerShell 3.0 is required on Windows Server before you install the SCCM distribution point. You must ensure all the SCCM distribution point requirements are met before installing DP role.
SCCM DP Firewall and Port Requirements
The distribution point must have the following inbound rules configured in the Windows firewall:
- Windows Management Instrumentation (DCOM-In)
- Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI-In)
Ways to Install Distribution Point in SCCM
There are different methods to install a distribution point in SCCM:
- Install Distribution Point using SCCM Console
- Install ConfigMgr DP using PowerShell script
- Cloud distribution point in Configuration Manager
SCCM Distribution Point OS Requirements
When you want to set up a SCCM distribution point, you must know the supported operating system requirements.
The list of supported Windows Server operating systems for Distribution Point Role include:
- Windows Server 2022 – Datacenter and Standard
- Windows Server 2016 – Datacenter and Standard
- Windows Server 2012 R2 – Datacenter and Standard
- Windows Server 2012 – Datacenter and Standard
The list of supported Windows Client operating systems for Distribution Point Role include:
- Windows 11: Pro and Enterprise
- Windows 10: Professional and Enterprise
- Windows 8.1 (x86, x64): Professional and Enterprise
Distribution points support several configurations that each have different requirements. In some cases, these configurations support installation not only on servers, but on client operating systems.
Distribution points on this OS don’t support PXE or multicast with the default Windows Deployment Services. You can PXE-enable a distribution point on this OS with the option to Enable a PXE responder without Windows Deployment Service.
You can refer to the following guides to install Distribution Point role on Windows 11 and Windows 10.
Add SCCM Site Server Computer Account for DP Installation
You must add the SCCM site server computer account to the Local Administrators group on the server where you want to install ConfigMgr DP role.
This step must be done before you install SCCM DP role else the DP installation fails. You must perform this step for every new SCCM DP installation in your hierarchy.
Let’s see how to add the SCCM site server computer account to local administrators group on server.
- Login to Windows Server.
- Go to Local Users and Groups console using lusrmgr.msc shortcut.
- Select Groups and right-click Administrators group.
- In the Administrators properties, click Add button and add the SCCM Site Server Computer account.
In the below example, SCCM is the name of the site server computer account and SCCMDP01 is my DP server where SCCM distribution point role will be installed.
You can see that we have added the SCCM site server computer account to the Local Administrators group on SCCMDP01 computer.
After you add the site server account to server local administrators group, restart the server once.
Install SCCM Distribution Point Role | Add ConfigMgr DP
Let us see how to install SCCM distribution point role. To add a new ConfigMgr DP role using SCCM console:
- Launch the SCCM console.
- Click Administration > Site Configuration. Right click Servers and Site System Roles.
- Select Create Site System Server.
- The Creation Site System Server Wizard opens and should help you to install distribution point role.
In the Create Site System Server Wizard, click Browse. Select the Windows Server name from Active Directory connected to the primary server.
This is important – if there is no trust between the Windows server and primary site server, then you can directly enter the FQDN of the Windows Server where you want to install the remote DP role.
Click the dropdown for site code and select the SCCM Site Code.
On the System Role Selection page, check the box “Distribution Point”. Click Next.
Configure SCCM Distribution Point Settings
While installing distribution point role on a server, you will see several options to configure. Let us look at each of these options.
The first option that we see is configure SCCM Distribution Point Settings.
- Install and configure IIS if required by Configuration Manager: Enable this setting to install Windows components required for a distribution point automatically. You can manually install IIS Base Components on SCCM Distribution Point.
- Enable and configure BranchCache for this distribution point: Enable this setting to enable and configure BranchCache.
- Adjust the download speed to use the unused network bandwidth (Windows LEDBAT): Enable distribution points to use network congestion control. Learn how to enable LEDBAT on SCCM SUP and SCCM DP.
- Enable this distribution point for prestaged content: This setting enables you to add content to the server before you distribute software. Because the content files are already in the content library, they don’t transfer over the network when you distribute the software.
- Enable this distribution point to be used as Microsoft Connected Cache server: Use this option to install a Microsoft Connected Cache server on your distribution point. By caching this content on-premises, your clients can benefit from the Delivery Optimization feature, but you can help to protect WAN links.
Click Next to continue.
Configure Communication Settings for SCCM DP
In this section, you’ll learn how to configure the communications settings for a distribution point.
- Configure how client devices communicate with the distribution point: There are advantages and disadvantages to using HTTP or HTTPS. For more information, see Security guidance for content management.
- Allow clients to connect anonymously: This setting specifies whether the distribution point allows anonymous connections from Configuration Manager clients to the content library.
- Create a self-signed certificate or import a PKI client certificate: Specify a certificate which authenticates the distribution point to a management point before the distribution point sends status messages.
Refer to the guide on how to deploy PKI certificates for SCCM.
Configure Distribution Point Drive Settings
The next setting involves configuring the drive settings for distribution point server.
- Specify the drive settings for the distribution point – You can configure up to two disk drives for the content library and two disk drives for the package share.
- Drive space reserve (MB) – This value here determines the amount of free space on a drive before SCCM chooses a different drive and continues the copy process to that drive. By default, the Drive space reserve is 50 MB. In this example, I will set it to 1024 MB.
- Content Locations – Specify the content locations for the content library and package share. By default, the content locations are set to Automatic. The primary content location will be set to the disk drive that has the most disk space at installation and the secondary location assigned the disk drive that has the second most free disk space.
Click Next to continue.
Configure Pull Distribution Point Settings
A pull-distribution point determines how the computer obtains the content that you distribute to the distribution point.
You can enable the distribution point to pull content from other distribution points using Pull DP. Take a look at the following guide on SCCM Pull Distribution Point settings.
We will not be enabling the pull DP settings here, click Next to continue.
Configure SCCM DP PXE Settings
On the ConfigMgr DP PXE Settings page, you can enable PXE support for clients. When you enable PXE on the distribution point, you can use PXE to start OS deployments on clients.
When you enable PXE on ConfigMgr DP, Configuration Manager installs Windows Deployment Services (WDS) on the server, if necessary. WDS is the service that supports PXE boot to install operating systems.
Let’s look at the PXE settings available for SCCM distribution point.
- Allow this distribution point to respond to incoming PXE requests: Enable this option for WDS to respond to PXE service requests.
- Enable unknown computer support: Specify whether to enable support for computers that Configuration Manager doesn’t manage.
- Enable a PXE responder without Windows Deployment Service: This option enables a PXE responder on the distribution point, which doesn’t require WDS. Learn how to enable PXE responder without WDS.
- Require a password when computers use PXE: You can set a complex password to secure PXE deployments on client computers.
- User device affinity: Specify how you want the distribution point to associate users with the destination computer for PXE deployments. Choose one of the following options:
- Allow user device affinity with auto-approval: Choose this setting to automatically associate users with the destination computer without waiting for approval.
- Allow user device affinity pending administrator approval: Choose this setting to wait for approval from an administrative user before users are associated with the destination computer.
- Do not allow user device affinity: Choose this setting to specify that users aren’t associated with the destination computer. This setting is the default.
- Network interfaces: Specify that the distribution point responds to PXE requests from all network interfaces or from specific network interfaces.
- Specify the PXE server response delay (seconds): When you use multiple PXE servers, specify how long this PXE-enabled distribution point should wait before it responds to computer requests.
Click Next to continue.
Configure Multicast Options for ConfigMgr DP
Multicast deployments conserve network bandwidth by simultaneously sending data to multiple Configuration Manager clients.
When you enable a multicast, Configuration Manager installs Windows Deployment Services (WDS) on the server, if necessary.
To enable Multicast feature on ConfigMgr DP, select the option to Enable multicast to simultaneously send data to multiple clients, and then configure the following settings:
- Multicast Connection Account: Specify the account to use when you configure Configuration Manager database connections for multicast.
- Multicast address settings: Specify the IP addresses for sending data to the destination computers. By default, it obtains the IP address from a DHCP server that’s enabled to distribute multicast addresses. Depending on the network environment, you can specify a range of IP addresses from 220.127.116.11 through 18.104.22.168.
- UDP port range for multicast: Specify the range of UDP ports that are used to send data to the destination computers.
- Maximum clients: Specify the maximum number of destination computers that can download the OS image from this distribution point.
- Enable scheduled multicast: Specify how Configuration Manager controls when to start deploying operating systems to destination computers. Configure the following options:
- Session start delay (minutes): Specify the number of minutes that Configuration Manager waits before it responds to the first deployment request.
- Minimum session size (clients): Specify how many requests must be received before Configuration Manager starts to deploy the operating system.
Click Next to continue.
Specify whether to validate the integrity of content files on the distribution point. When you enable content validation on a schedule, Configuration Manager will verify all the content on distribution point.
Refer to SCCM content validation guide to understand how to enable content validation on a distribution point. We will configure the content validation later. Click Next.
You can associate a distribution point with a boundary group. You can also configure boundary group relationships that define when and to which boundary groups a client can fall back to find content.
To associate the DP with a boundary group, click Add button and select the boundary group. You can do this after installing the ConfigMgr DP. Click Next to continue.
On the Summary page, review the SCCM DP role settings and click Next. On the completion page, click Close.
This completes the steps to install SCCM distribution point role. Next, we will find how to monitor the DP installation progress using different methods.
Monitor SCCM DP Role Installation
When you install SCCM distribution point role, you can monitor the installation status. A DP role installation could fail due to multiple reasons. For example, error 0x800706BA Failed to install Distribution Point.
There are different ways to confirm if the DP role has been installed or failed. Let’s look at some of these methods.
Verify DP role Installation from SCCM console
To monitor the SCCM distribution point role installation:
- In the ConfigMgr console, go to Monitoring workspace.
- Click Distribution Point Configuration Status.
- From the list of distribution point servers, select the server with newly installed DP role.
- A green circle with tick means the DP role installation is successful whereas a red icon means the DP role installation failed.
Verify DP Role Installation using Folders
Another way to verify the successful DP role installation is by checking the folders. Log in to the distribution point server and check for the following folders:
If all the above folders listed above are created on the drive, it means the DP role has been created successfully.
ConfigMgr Distribution Point Troubleshooting Log Files
When you install Configuration Manager, it comes with numerous log files. It is important to know the location of log files for troubleshooting SCCM issues. All the ConfigMgr log files are listed in the following guide – SCCM Log Files.
There are two log files that you can use for troubleshooting SCCM DP issues:
- Distmgr.log – Records details about the configuration of enabling a distribution point for Preboot Execution Environment (PXE).
- SMSdpmon.log – Records details about the distribution point health monitoring scheduled task configured on a distribution point.
After you install a new Configuration Manager distribution point, some of these guides should help you.
- Windows Server Core as SCCM Distribution Point
- How to Enable SCCM Distribution Point Maintenance Mode
- Remove SCCM Distribution Point Using PowerShell Script
- Configure HTTPS Distribution Point as a Source DP for Pull DP
- How to Remove Distribution Point In SCCM
- SCCM Content Library Cleanup Tool
- Move DP Content using Content Library Transfer Tool