Include/Exclude Collections Rule

My last post on ConfigMgr 2012 Collections (I promise!). I wanted to go over Include and Exclude Collection Rules.

Include and Exclude collection rules are a new feature in ConfigMgr 2012 and I think you’ll find them most useful. They basically allow us to add or remove resources from a collection without having to write a complex membership rule.

Let’s say we have five collections: Finance Accountants, Finance Banking, Finance Bookkeeping, Finance Insurance and Finance Interns. Each of these collections will have their own Deployments targeted at the users in the collections. If we wanted to target an application at all of these collections, we would need to have 5 deployments.

Or we could create a collection with an Include Collection setting

Now we can just target the application at the Finance – All collection and we’ll get all three members.

Exclude collections are even cooler. Let’s say we have a collection for all computers who need Office 2010. Normally we would just deploy our application to the collection and hope for the best. We can use an Exclude Collections rule to be a little smarter in our deployments and remove all clients who are in an ‘unhealthy’ state.

First, we’ll create our Unhealthy Clients Collection. Our membership rule will be any looking for any client who’s client status is NULL or the client activity is NULL. This should get any computer that hasn’t got the client installed, or any computer with the client installed that isn’t active. (this is a *really* basic query for unhealthy clients. You can write a more complex one to find those clients who are truly unhealthy)

I’ve got 4 systems in my lab hierarchy – only one of which is healthy (oh, and the two Unknown Computer objects – but they don’t count)

So when I update the membership of my Office 2010 membership, I will only get the healthy client.

Using this exclusion method has a few benefits – firstly, you have a collection full of systems in which you have to repair the ConfigMgr client. Secondly, you’re software deployment statistics should be a lot cleaner as you’re not getting failures on the unhealthy clients. Finally, as the collection is dynamic, as soon as you remediate the unhealthy clients, they will receive the Office 2012 deployment!

Matt Shadbolt