Plan for the cloud management gateway in Configuration Manager

Applies to: Configuration Manager (current branch)

This article provides information about the cloud management gateway (CMG) to design how it fits in your environment and plan your implementation.

For more foundational knowledge of CMG scenarios and use cases, see Overview of CMG.

Note

Some sections that were previously in this article have moved:

Topology design

CMG components

Deployment and operation of the CMG includes the following components:

  • The CMG cloud service in Azure authenticates and forwards Configuration Manager client requests over the internet to the on-premises CMG connection point.

  • The CMG connection point site system role enables a consistent and high-performance connection from the on-premises network to the CMG service in Azure. It also publishes settings to the CMG including connection information and security settings. The CMG connection point forwards client requests from the CMG to on-premises roles according to URL mappings. For example, the management point and software update point.

  • The service connection point site system role runs the cloud service manager component, which handles all CMG deployment tasks. Additionally, it monitors and reports service health and logging information from Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). Make sure your service connection point is in online mode.

  • The management point and software update point site system roles service client requests per normal.

  • The CMG uses a certificate-based HTTPS web service to help secure network communication with clients.

  • Internet-based clients connect to the CMG to access on-premises Configuration Manager components. Clients have multiple options for identity and authentication:

    • Azure AD
    • PKI certificates
    • Configuration Manager site-issued tokens
  • A content-enabled CMG or a cloud distribution point provides content to internet-based clients, as needed. Using a content-enabled CMG reduces the required certificates and Azure costs.

Azure Resource Manager

You create the CMG using an Azure Resource Manager deployment. Azure Resource Manager is a modern platform for managing all solution resources as a single entity, called a resource group. When you deploy CMG with Azure Resource Manager, the site uses Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to authenticate and create the necessary cloud resources.

Note

This capability doesn't enable support for Azure Cloud Service Providers (CSP). The CMG deployment with Azure Resource Manager continues to use the classic cloud service, which the CSP doesn't support. For more information, see available Azure services in Azure CSP.

Hierarchy design

Create the CMG at the top-tier site of your hierarchy. If that's a central administration site (CAS), then create CMG connection points at child primary sites. The cloud service manager component is on the service connection point, which is also on the CAS. This design can share the service across different primary sites if needed.

You can create multiple CMG services in Azure, and you can create multiple CMG connection points. Multiple CMG connection points provide load balancing of client traffic from the CMG to the on-premises roles.

You can associate a CMG with a boundary group. This configuration allows clients to default or fall back to the CMG for client communication according to boundary group relationships. This behavior is especially useful in branch office and VPN scenarios. You can direct client traffic away from expensive and slow WAN links to instead use faster services in Microsoft Azure.

Starting in version 2006, intranet clients can access a CMG-enabled software update point when it's assigned to a boundary group. For more information, see Configure boundary groups.

Note

Internet-based clients don't fall into any boundary group.

Other factors, such as the number of clients to manage, also impact your CMG design. For more information, see Performance and scale.

Example 1: Standalone primary site

Contoso has a standalone primary site in an on-premises datacenter at their headquarters in New York City.

  • They create a CMG in the East US Azure region to reduce network latency.
  • They create two CMG connection points, both linked to the single CMG service.

As clients roam onto the internet, they communicate with the CMG in the East US Azure region. The CMG forwards this communication through both of the CMG connection points.

Example 2: Hierarchy

Fourth Coffee has a CAS in an on-premises datacenter at their headquarters in Seattle. One primary site is in the same datacenter, and the other primary site is in their main European office in Paris.

  • On the CAS, they create a CMG service in the West US Azure region. They scale the number of VMs for the expected load of roaming clients in the entire hierarchy.
  • On the Seattle-based primary site, they create a CMG connection point linked to the single CMG.
  • On the Paris-based primary site, they create a CMG connection point linked to the single CMG.

As clients roam onto the internet, they communicate with the CMG in the West US Azure region. The CMG forwards this communication to the CMG connection point in the client's assigned primary site.

Tip

You don't need to deploy more than one CMG for the purposes of geolocation. The Configuration Manager client is mostly unaffected by the slight latency that can occur with the cloud service, even when geographically distant.

Test environments

Many organizations have separate environments for production, test, development, or quality assurance. When you plan your CMG deployment, consider the following questions:

  • How many Azure AD tenants does your organization have?

    • Is there a separate tenant for testing?
    • Are user and device identities in the same tenant?
  • How many subscriptions are in each tenant?

    • Are there subscriptions that are specific for testing?

Configuration Manager's Azure service for Cloud management supports multiple tenants. Multiple Configuration Manager sites can connect to the same tenant. A single site can deploy multiple CMG services into different subscriptions. Multiple sites can deploy CMG services into the same subscription. Configuration Manager provides flexibility depending upon your environment and business requirements.

For more information, see the following FAQ: Do the user accounts have to be in the same Azure AD tenant as the tenant associated with the subscription that hosts the CMG cloud service?

Requirements

Tip

To clarify some Azure terminology:

  • The tenant is the directory of user accounts and app registrations. One tenant can have multiple subscriptions.
  • A subscription separates billing, resources, and services. It's associated with a single tenant.
  • An Azure subscription to host the CMG.

    Important

    CMG doesn't support subscriptions with an Azure Cloud Service Provider (CSP).

  • Your user account needs to be a Full administrator or Infrastructure administrator in Configuration Manager.

  • An Azure administrator needs to participate in the initial creation of certain components. This persona can be the same as the Configuration Manager administrator, or separate. If separate, they don't require permissions in Configuration Manager.

    • When you integrate the site with Azure AD for deploying the CMG using Azure Resource Manager, you need a Global Administrator.

    • When you create the CMG, you need a Subscription Owner.

  • At least one on-premises Windows server to host the CMG connection point. You can colocate this role with other Configuration Manager site system roles.

  • The service connection point must be in online mode.

  • A server authentication certificate for the CMG.

  • Integrate the site with Azure AD to deploy the service with Azure Resource Manager. For more information, see Configure Azure AD for CMG.

  • Other certificates may be required, depending upon your client OS version and authentication model. For more information, see Configure client authentication.

  • Clients must use IPv4.

  • Configuration Manager doesn't enable this optional feature by default. You must enable this feature before using it. For more information, see Enable optional features from updates.

Performance and scale

Note

Sizing guidance for management points and software update points doesn't change whether they service on-premises or internet-based clients. For more information, see Size and scale numbers.

Size and scale for cloud management gateway

  • You can install multiple instances of the cloud management gateway (CMG) at primary sites, or the central administration site.

    Tip

    In a hierarchy, create the CMG at the central administration site.

  • One CMG supports one to 16 virtual machine (VM) instances in the Azure cloud service.

  • Each CMG VM instance supports 6,000 simultaneous client connections. When the CMG is under high load with more than the supported number of clients, it still handles requests but there may be delay.

Size and scale for cloud management gateway connection point

  • You can install multiple instances of the CMG connection point at primary sites.

  • One CMG connection point can support a CMG with up to four VM instances. If the CMG has more than four VM instances, add a second CMG connection point for load balancing. A CMG with 16 VM instances should be linked with four CMG connection points.

Note

When considering hardware requirements for the CMG connection point, see Recommended hardware for remote site system servers.

Improve CMG performance

The following recommendations can help you improve CMG performance:

  • The connection between the Configuration Manager client and the CMG isn't region-aware. Client communication is largely unaffected by latency and geographic separation. It's not necessary to deploy multiple CMG for the purposes of geo-proximity. Deploy the CMG at the top-level site in your hierarchy. To increase scale, add VM instances.

  • For high availability of the service, create a CMG with at least two VM instances and two CMG connection points per site.

  • Scale the CMG to support more clients by adding more VM instances. The Azure load balancer controls client connections to the service.

  • Create more CMG connection points to distribute the load among them. The CMG distributes the traffic to its connecting CMG connection points in a round-robin fashion.

Note

While Configuration Manager has no hard limit on the number of clients for a CMG connection point, Windows Server has a default maximum TCP dynamic port range of 16,384. If a Configuration Manager site manages more than 16,384 clients with a single CMG connection point, increase the Windows Server limit. All clients maintain a channel for client notifications, which holds a port open on the CMG connection point. For more information on how to increase this limit, see Microsoft Support article 929851.

Next steps

Next, review the features and configurations that the CMG supports: