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Components and Communications

ConfigMgr’s code design is based on a componentized architecture, where sets of related tasks are carried out by logically distinct units of executable code, that work together to implement higher-level functionality. Most ConfigMgr code resides in dynamic link libraries (DLLs) in the bin\<processor architecture> folder under the ConfigMgr installation folder. Although most components run as threads of the SMS Executive service, some run as separate services. You can install all the components on the site server, or you can alternatively distribute many components to other servers.

Many of the thread components use folders known as inboxes to receive files from other components within the site. Inboxes may consist of a single folder or a folder subtree. Components maintain open file system change notification handles on their inboxes. A component can notify another component that is has work to do by dropping a file in its inbox. The operating system then returns a file change notification event to the component owning the inbox. In ConfigMgr 2012, many components no longer write directly to other components’ inbox folders. Instead, these components apply changes directly to the database. The Database Notification Monitor component detects the change and creates a zero byte file in the appropriate inbox to serve as a wake up call. Some components also use in-memory queues for faster communications with other components on the local machine. Some components also maintain outbox folders in which they place files to be processed by other components. Many components additionally operate a watchdog cycle, in which they wake up at regular intervals to perform specific work. Unlike early SMS versions in which watchdog cycles introduced latency into various operations, time-sensitive processing does not depend on watchdog cycles.

Table 3.3 displays many of the ConfigMgr components with a description of their principal functions, the folders they use to communicate with other components, and the log files they maintain. To view the actual components installed on each server expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SMS\Components registry key. The actual inboxes installed and their folder locations are found under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SMS\Inbox Source\Inbox Instances. Most components log details of their activities. Appendix A, “Configuration Manager Log Files,” discusses logging options and log file locations for specific components. The Component Type column indicates whether the component runs as its own process or as a thread of the Executive service, and if it is monitored by the Site Component Manager. The components installed on a ConfigMgr site system will vary depending on the site roles assigned to the server and the code revision you are running.

Table 3.3. Component Names and Descriptions

Component Name

Display Name


Directory Used

Log File


Site Component Manager (Component not installed by Site Component Manager)

Installs and manages components on site systems

INBOX: sitecomp.box


Monitored Service Components


Executive Service

Host process for thread components



SMS Site SQL Backup Service

Backup process for site database



SMS Writer Service

Manages volume snapshots for backups


Monitored Thread Components


Asset Intelligence Knowledge Base Manager

Maintains Asset Intelligence data in the site database

INBOX: aikbmgr.box



Alert Notification Manager

Processes instruction files for alerts, sends e-mail, maintains database triggers

INBOX: notictrl.box



Advanced Management Technology (AMT) Proxy

Handles provisioning, maintenance, and requests for Intel AMT clients

INBOX: amtproxymgr.box



Application Catalog Web Service

Maintains Application Catalog web service



Certificate Manager

Maintains certificates

INBOX: certmgr.box



Client Configuration Manager

Carries out client push installation and maintains the Client Push Installation account

INBOX: ccr.box



Client Health

Processes client health (.POL) files



Collection Evaluator

Updates collection membership

INBOX: colleval.box OUTBOX: coll_out.box (used for sending to child sites)



Component Monitor

Maintains registry setting for discovery components



Component Status Summarizer

Processes component status summarization rules

INBOX: Compsumm.box



Database Notification Monitor

Watches the database for changes to certain tables and creates files in the inboxes of components responsible for processing those changes

This component writes to many inbox folders




Processes incoming files from parent or child sites

INBOX: despoolr.box



Discovery Data Manager

Processes discovery data and enters it into the site database

INBOXES: ddm.box; Auth\ddm.box



Distribution Manager

Copies packages to distribution points

INBOX: distmgr.box



Endpoint Protection Manager

Manages endpoint protection configuration

INBOX: epmgr.box



Site Hierarchy Manager

Processes and replicates changes to the site hierarchy

INBOX: hman.box



Inbox Manager

Maintains inbox files



Inbox Monitor

Monitors the file count in various inboxes



Inventory Data Loader

Loads hardware inventory data from clients into the site database

INBOXES: dataldr.box; Auth\dataldr.box



Inventory Processor

Converts hardware inventory to a binary format used by the data loader

INBOX: Inventry.box



Standard Sender

Initiates intersite communications across TCP/IP networks

INBOX: schedule.box\outboxes\LAN



Migration Manager

Schedules migration tasks

INBOX: mmctrl.box



Management Point Control Manager

Manages certificate usage for the management point and monitors management point availability



Management Point File Dispatcher

Transfers files from management point outboxes to site server inboxes




Object Replication Manager

Creates CIXML representations for the ConfigMgr object for replication to primary child sites

INBOX: objmgr.box



Offer Manager

Manages advertisements

INBOX: offermgr.box



Offer Status Summarizer

Populates advertisement status summary information in the site database

INBOX: OfferSum.box




Package Transfer Manager

Transfers packages to distribution points

INBOX: PkgTransferMgr.box; OUTBOXES: PkgTransferMgr.box\outboxes



Policy Provider

Generates policies for ConfigMgr components

INBOX: policypv.box



Application Catalog Web Portal Manager

Configures web portal service



Replication Configuration Monitor

INBOX: rcm.box



Replication Manager

Processes inbound and outbound files for intersite communications

INBOX: Replmgr.box



Rule Engine

Processes automatic deployment rules for software updates

INBOX: RuleEngine.box




Converts replication manager jobs to sender jobs

INBOX: Schedule.box



Site Control Manager

Maintains site control data

INBOX: sitectrl.box



Site System Status Summarizer

Processes status messages for the local site and applies summarization rules

INBOX: SiteStat.Box\repl



Software Inventory Processor

Loads software inventory data from clients into the site database

INBOXES: sinv.box; Auth\sinv.box



Software Metering Processor

Processes software metering information from clients and updates metering data in the site database

INBOX: swmproc.box



Reporting Services Point

Configures SQL Server Reporting Services



State Migration Point

Maintains user state data



State System

Processes and summarizes state messages

INBOX: Auth\statesys.box



Status Manager

Processes status messages and writes status information to the site database

INBOX: Statmgr.box; SMS_EXECUTIVE to SMS_STATUS_MANAGER in-memory status message queue



WSUS Configuration Manager

Maintains WSUS settings and checks connectivity to upstream server




WSUS Control Manager

Verifies WSUS component health, configuration, and database connectivity



WSUS Synchronization Manager

Synchronizes updates with upstream server

INBOX: wsyncmgr.box


Unmonitored Service Component


Site Backup Agent

Performs the site backup task

Smsbkup.log (in site backup folder)

Unmonitored Thread Components


Offline Servicing for Operating System Images

Manages Software Updates for offline OS images

OfflineServicingMgr. log


Network Discovery Agent

Performs network discovery

Drops DDRs in DDR.box



Server Discovery Agent

Performs discovery on ConfigMgr site systems

Drops DDRs in DDR.box


Here is additional information regarding some of the components described in Table 3.3:

  • The Site Component Manager monitors the Site Control inbox (sitectrl.box) for changes to site properties that require adding, removing, or altering a component on a site system. This is in addition to monitoring its own inbox.
  • The Discovery Data Manager, Inventory Data Loader, Software Inventory Processor, and State System components maintain trusted inboxes under the inboxes\auth folder for signed files.
  • The Management Point File Dispatcher transfers files from its inboxes (MP outbox folders) to the inboxes of other components. To accomplish this, it uses the inboxes of the following components as its outboxes: Client Configuration Manager, Discovery Data Manager, Distribution Manager, Inventory Processor, Software Metering Processor, State System, and Status Manager.

The core components that maintain a ConfigMgr site are the Executive Service, Site Component Manager, Site Control Manager, and Site Hierarchy Manager:

  • The Executive Service is the host process in which most other components run. The Executive Service exists on every ConfigMgr site system other than the site database server.
  • The Site Component Manager is a separate service that configures and manages other components.
  • The Site Hierarchy Manager and Site Control Manager work together to maintain the site settings. Each ConfigMgr site maintains site control information in the ConfigMgr database for that site.

Site control information includes the parent site, sender addresses, client and server components, and various other site properties. Site control data is stored in the site database and replicated as global data to all sites in the hierarchy.

Here is an example where an administrator makes a change to a site property using the ConfigMgr console, showing how ConfigMgr components interact:

  1. The console application reads the current site control file and calculates a delta based on the settings applied by the administrator. The console code then invokes the CommitSCF method of the SMS_SiteControlFile WMI object to apply the changes in the database.
  2. The SMS Provider executes the method against the database. The CommitSCF method inserts the changes into the SiteControl table. Inserting data into the SiteControl table fires the SMSDBMON_SiteControl_SiteControl_AddUpd_HMAN_ins trigger. This creates a new entry in the TableChangeNotifications table.
  3. The Database Monitor reads the TableChangeNotifications and processes the change notification.
  4. The Database Monitor drops an empty site control file in the Hierarchy Manager inbox to notify Hierarchy Manager of the site changes.
  5. Hierarchy Manager updates related tables in the site database.

Figure 3.34 illustrates these steps.

Figure 3.34

Figure 3.34. Illustrating changes made to a site property.

After the site control information in the database is updated, ConfigMgr uses SQL replication to replicate this data as global data.

Most of the remaining components work together, implementing specific feature sets. An important example of this is file-based replication between sites. Here is what will occur when a ConfigMgr component has file data to replicate to another site:

  1. The component with data to replicate to another site copies the file(s) to one of the subfolders of the Outbound folder in the Replication Manager’s inbox. The subfolders are named high, normal, or low to indicate the priority of the replication job. The file names begin with the destination site code for routing purposes.
  2. The Replication Manager compresses the file(s) to its process folder and moves them to its ready folder. Replication Manager then creates a job file under the Scheduler inbox.
  3. The Scheduler processes the instruction file and creates instruction and package files in the tosend folder (inboxes\schedule.box\tosend). It then transfers the files to the appropriate sender.
  4. The Sender copies the files to the SMS_SITE share on the destination site server. This share is the despooler\receive inbox.
  5. At the destination site, the Despooler validates the signature from of the source site server, decompresses the files, and moves them to the Replication Manager inbox.
  6. The Replication Manager moves the file to the appropriate inbox of the component for which the file is intended. The Replication Manager also initiates any replication to additional sites that may be required.

The “Viewing Detailed Process Activity” section looks into the inner workings of these processes.

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