Installing a secondary site in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager


Reasons for installing a secondary site server in ConfigMgr 2012 have been somewhat limited to very few scenarios. I recommend installing secondary sites when you have:

  • More than 500 clients in a remote location
  • Need a local Management Point
  • Need a local Software Update Point
  • Need a local State Migration Point

Run the Prerequisites Checker

You should always run the prerequisite checker before starting any secondary site installation. The benefit of doing that is the ability to catch errors upfront. Below I’m running the prerequisites checker to verify that my future secondary site server CM05 is ok.

  • Log on to the primary site server and open the command prompt as Administrator.
  • Navigate to the ConfigMgr 2012 installation media.
  • Run this command from the .\SMSSETUP\BIN\X64 folder:

prereqchk.exe /SEC /INSTALLSQLEXPRESS /Ssbport 4022 /Sqlport 1433



  • You can also verify the process by reading the C:\prereq.log file on the site server
    Now you might be wondering what the prerequisites are. The answer to that is simple, run the prerequisites checker and fix all the issues. There will be an explanation for each missing prerequisite.

Install the Secondary Site Server

  • Navigate to the Administration workspace, Site Configuration, Sites.
  • Click Create Secondary site on the ribbon.
  • On the Before You Begin page, click Next.
  • On the General page, configure these settings and click Next:
    Site Code: PS2
    Site Server Name: CM05.SC2012.Local
    Site Name: Secondary site, Copenhagen
    Installation folder: D:\Program files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\
  • On the Installation Source Files page, select Copy installation source files over the network from the parent site server and click Next.
  • On the SQL Server Settings page, keep the default settings and click Next.


  • On the Distribution Point page, enable Install and configure IIS if required by Configuration Manager and click Next.
  • On the Drive Settings page, configure these settings and click Next.
    Drive space reserve (MB): 1024
    Primary content library location: D
  • Primary package share location: D


    Notice: You can still use the NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file if you want to exclude specific drives from being used as Contentlibrary.

  • On the Content Validation page, enable Validate content on a schedule and click Next.
  • On the Boundary Groups page, Add the local boundary group, remove the checkmark in Allow fallback source location for content and click Next.


  • On the Summary page, read the summary and click Next.
  • On the Completion page, click Close.

Verify the installation

  • You can monitor the installation by reading the Hman.log file on the primary site server.


  • You can also monitor the bootstrap.log, configmgrsetup.log on the new secondary site server.


Post SQL Server Express Configurations

ConfigMgr automatically installs SQL Express 2008 R2 SP1 on the secondary site server. This version should be upgraded to SQL Server Express 2008 R2 SP1 CU6.

  • On the secondary site server, stop these three services:
    SMS Agent host (the Management Point service)
    SMS Executive
    SMS Site Component Manager


  • Open a command prompt with administrative permissions and run this command from a folder where you have SQL 2008 R2 SP1 CU6 SQLServer2008R2-KB2679367-x64.exe /Action=Patch /IAcceptSQLServerLicenseTerms /AllInstances /Quiet
    Notice that this is a quiet installation, if you want to monitor the installation process use the Task Manager or remove the /quiet command line.

  • After the upgrade is finished, restart the three ConfigMgr services and the SQL Server (CONFIGMGRSEC) service.

Verify the Secondary Site Installation

You can monitor and verify the status of the secondary site in the ConfigMgr console.

  • In the Administration workspace, select Site Configuration, Sites.
  • The secondary site server State is listed as Active.


  • Open the Monitoring workspace and select Site Hierarchy. Here you see a Hierarchy diagram and the overall status of the sites. You can also select a geographical view – nice.


  • In the Monitoring workspace, select Database replication.


By | 2012-06-02T12:31:33+00:00 June 2nd, 2012|Configuration Manager (SCCM)|21 Comments

About the Author:

Kent Agerlund
Microsoft Regional Director, Enterprise Mobility MVP. Microsoft Certified Trainer and Principal consultant. I have been working with Enterprise client management since 1992. Co-founder of System Center User Group Denmark in 2009. Certified MCITP: Enterprise Administrator, MCSA+Messaing, and much more. Member of: Microsoft Denmark System Center Partner Expert Team The Danish Technet Influencers program System Center Influencers Program.


  1. andy July 17, 2012 at 22:02 - Reply

    Hi Kent
    Thanks for sharing this with us. Got a question in regards to your point, recommendation on when to use a Secondary Site in SCCM 2012. You mentioned:

    •More than 500 clients in a remote location
    •Need a local Management Point
    •Need a local Software Update Point
    •Need a local State Migration Point

    Why do you need a secondary site when all you need is a local mp, distribution point and / or sup on a site Server. In SCCM 2012 I can install a site server in a site with less then 500 Clients and install only the three server roles mp, Distribution point and sup on it. No need to complicate the architecture and bothering about SQL replication in that case. Or is there a real good reason why you Need to install this two roles in a branch Office on secondary site server? In my eyes I Need a secondary site in SCCM 2012 only, when I need to manage the transfer of deployment content and client data across low-bandwidth Networks.

  2. Jim July 30, 2012 at 0:45 - Reply

    I completely forgot about updating to CU6 when using the wizard to push down sql express. Nice tutorial

  3. Kent Agerlund July 30, 2012 at 0:54 - Reply

    I agree with you that reasons for having a secondary site is limited. But if you have a remote office with like 5000 users you might want to have a local MP and be able to control the traffic slighty better than you can witt a single site.

  4. […] Kent Agerlund – Installing a secondary site in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager […]

  5. Johan November 15, 2012 at 17:17 - Reply

    Great article!

    Another reason for having a secondary site that we discovered is if you got MP’s behind a firewall and want to make sure that some clients connect to that specific MP and no other (that it can’t reach). Since the default MP is gone in SCCM 2012 this is the only way to do that now.

    • Peter April 3, 2014 at 16:13 - Reply


      My environment will be needing secondary sites based on your same scenario (need clients to connect to specific MP’s due to firewall topology). Did you utilize auto site discovery? If so, how did you achieve that with some clients being unable to all MP’s (for initial site assignment).

      • Link October 21, 2014 at 23:13 - Reply

        Peter or Johan,
        I am researching this exact scenario. Was a solution found for this instance? I am searching myself and this is one of my first stops that has mentioned my exact scenario. Thanks in advance.

  6. Sachin December 22, 2012 at 5:26 - Reply


    I prefer to have Secondary Site in each location across the WAN, simply because Microsoft licensing requires you to purchase a full license incase of a Distribution point or Management point or any other role.

  7. Adam February 20, 2013 at 16:25 - Reply

    Kent, this is a great article. I know with 2012 you can now limit data transfer to a DP but can you limit data between a Secondary Site and a Primary Site as I can’t seem to find that anywhere anymore.

  8. […] Kent Agerlund: Installing a Secondary Site Server in System Center Configuration Manager 2012 […]

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  10. […] Installing a secondary site in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager + SUP July 17, 2013 robertrieglerwien Leave a comment Go to comments […]

  11. […] Kent Agerlund — Installing a secondary site in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager […]

  12. Craig Chang July 24, 2014 at 19:36 - Reply

    I am new to SCCM. We had a consultant come in and setup our stand alone primary server. I have a office in another state with only a T1 connection. I would all a secondary site with SUP. I have configured a windows server 2012 standard server and set it up as a secondary server. Everything seems to look good so I proceeded to add site roles and added software update point. Everything I have read says that I need to install WSUS on the secondary site before I add the SUP. When I try to add WSUS I keep getting a add/remove role failed on the secondary site server. Any thoughts?

  13. Umesh July 30, 2014 at 21:08 - Reply


    Can you please tell me wht wud be the database size on secondary site server, If we go with SQL express , it supports only 4 GB.


  14. Mark September 24, 2014 at 16:22 - Reply

    Hi I am deploying about 10 new secondary servers and making a standard image. What I want to know is if I can seed the image somehow before I send them out? Some of the WAN connections are not so great.

  15. Balasundar November 4, 2014 at 17:08 - Reply

    Secondary server need to configure WSUS role or not. please let me knows if any one.

  16. Willie Reyes December 12, 2014 at 15:39 - Reply

    Hi Kent
    Thanks for sharing this with us
    I have a question because I am running the Prerequisites Checker and it’s all fine but when i try to configure the secondary site appears the next errors in the console

    ERROR: Connection strings not initialized Configuration Manager Setup 11/12/2014 19:54:35 9104 (0x2390)
    CSql Error: Cannot find data for connection type: , cannot get a connection. Configuration Manager Setup 11/12/2014 19:54:35 9104 (0x2390)
    ERROR: Failed to connect to SQL Server ‘master’ db. Configuration Manager Setup 11/12/2014 19:54:35 9104 (0x2390)
    CWmiRegistry::WmiOpen: Failed to read key SOFTWAREMicrosoftMicrosoft SQL ServerInstance NamesSQL on Configuration Manager Setup 11/12/2014 19:54:44 9104 (0x2390)
    CWmiRegistry::GetValues: Failed to connect to registry on machine Error code: 2 Configuration Manager Setup 11/12/2014 19:54:44 9104 (0x2390)

    I hope you can help me

  17. Jason January 15, 2015 at 21:22 - Reply

    Hi Kent,

    Went through all the setup and ran into some issues with replication link. i believe i got the replication issues sorted but what i am wondering is can the admins who utilize this secondary site manage the clients directly from the secondary site server? Does the console have to connect into the primary or what is the best way to manage from this site?

    Reasons why this was setup is we have about 6000 clients in a remote location, internet speeds are 10 GB but because they are in the mountains weather conditions can take down the connection between HQ and this site. ideally i would like to connect the console in this site directly to the secondary but cant seem to do this.

    I have read through a few articles but not found the best practice.



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