When To Use A Secondary Site in SCCM

When To Use A Secondary Site in SCCM

A lot of SCCM administrators often ask the question, should I create a secondary site for my SCCM environment? The answer to that question can depend on many factors however, a good general rule of thumb is to use a secondary site if the site is on a slow WAN link and there are many clients in the remote site. Think more than 1000.

I should mention that in many cases a Distribution Point would be preferred and should suffice. Adding a secondary site increases the complexity of the infrastructure and from my testing I found that it is actually not worth it. Many clients had problems communicating with the site server and the effort just wasn’t worth the hassle. As such, I would highly recommend adding an extra DP before adding the unnecessary complexity of a secondary site.

Why To Use A Secondary Site in SCCM

As noted above, it might be best to consider a secondary site if the remote site is going over a slow WAN link. Exactly what is a slow WAN link you ask? Well, a slow Wide Area Network link would be something much slower than T1 connection (1.544 Mbps). If you have less than 500 clients on the remote site, I would recommend just setting up an extra DP.

If you do decide to setup a secondary site, be sure to setup the proper boundaries and boundary groups. Be sure that the clients are successfully talking to the correct Management Point (MP). Finally, be sure to test in an environment that is not production.

When you install a secondary site, SCCM will automatically create a SQL express database to host the data needed for the new site. It will also create a Management Point and a Distribution Point on the site server you added. However, like I said earlier, this setup creates some added complexities and it might be worth it to just setup another DP.

Conclusion or TLDR

The Too Long Didn’t Read portion of this article is if you have slow WAN links that have over 1000 end points in a distant site, it might be worth considering adding a secondary site. Otherwise, you would be better off just adding a Distribution Point and save yourself the hassle and headache of a unnecessary more complex environment.

Finally, don’t forget to check out our Youtube Channel for more awesome sysadmin content and fun learning and if you want to further your SCCM knowledge, be sure to check out our recommended SCCM books:
System Center Configuration Manager Current Branch Unleashed
Learn SCCM in a Month of Lunches Book

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Paul Contreras

Hi, my name is Paul and I am a Sysadmin who enjoys working on various technologies from Microsoft, VMWare, Cisco and many others. Join me as I document my trials and tribulations of the daily grind of System Administration.

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