Configure discovery methods for Configuration Manager

Applies to: System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch)

Configure discovery methods to find resources to manage from your network, Active Directory, and Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). First enable and then configure each method that you want to use to search your environment. You can also disable a method by using the same procedure that you use to enable it. The only exceptions to this process are Heartbeat Discovery and Server Discovery:

  • By default, Heartbeat Discovery is already enabled when you install a Configuration Manager primary site. It's configured to run on a basic schedule. Keep Heartbeat Discovery enabled. It makes sure that the discovery data records (DDRs) for devices are up-to-date. For more information about Heartbeat Discovery, see About Heartbeat Discovery.

  • Server Discovery is an automatic discovery method. It finds computers that you use as site systems. You can't configure or disable it.

Enable a configurable discovery method

Note

The following information doesn't apply to Azure AD User Discovery. Instead, see Configure Azure AD User Discovery later in this article.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, expand Hierarchy Configuration, and then select Discovery Methods.

  2. Select the discovery method for the site where you want to enable discovery.

  3. On the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Properties group, select Properties. Then on the General tab, select the option to Enable <discovery method>.

    If this option is already enabled, you can disable the discovery method by deselecting the checkbox.

  4. Select OK to save the configuration.

Configure Active Directory Forest Discovery

To finish the configuration of Active Directory Forest Discovery, configure settings in the following locations of the Configuration Manager console:

  • In the Discovery Methods node:

    • Enable this discovery method.

    • Set a polling schedule.

    • Select whether discovery automatically creates boundaries for the Active Directory sites and subnets that it discovers.

  • In the Active Directory Forests node:

    • Add forests that you want to discover.

    • Enable discovery of Active Directory sites and subnets in that forest.

    • Configure settings that enable Configuration Manager sites to publish their site information to the forest.

    • Assign an account to use as the Active Directory Forest Account for each forest.

Use the following procedures to enable Active Directory Forest Discovery, and to configure individual forests for use with Active Directory Forest Discovery.

Enable Active Directory Forest Discovery

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, expand Hierarchy Configuration, and select the Discovery Methods node.

  2. Select the Active Directory Forest Discovery method for the site where you want to configure discovery.

  3. On the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Properties group, select Properties.

  4. On the General tab, select the checkbox to enable discovery. Or you can configure discovery now, and then return to enable discovery later.

  5. Specify options to create site boundaries for discovered locations.

  6. Specify a schedule for when discovery runs.

  7. Select OK to save the configuration.

Configure a forest for Active Directory Forest Discovery

  1. In the Administration workspace, expand Hierarchy Configuration, and select the Active Directory Forests node. If Active Directory Forest Discovery has previously run, you see each discovered forest in the results pane. The local forest and any trusted forests are discovered when Active Directory Forest Discovery runs. You only need to manually add untrusted forests.

    • To configure a previously discovered forest, select the forest in the results pane. Then on the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Properties group, select Properties to open the forest properties. Continue with step 3.

    • To configure a new forest that isn't listed, on the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Create group, select Add Forest. This action opens the Add Forests dialog box. Continue with step 3.

  2. On the General tab, finish configurations for the forest that you want to discover, and specify the Active Directory Forest Account. For more information on this account, see Accounts.

    Note

    Active Directory Forest Discovery requires a global account to discover and publish to untrusted forests. If you don't use the computer account of the site server, you can select only a global account.

  3. If you plan to let sites publish site data to this forest, on the Publishing tab, finish configurations for publishing to this forest.

    Note

    If you let sites publish to a forest, extend the Active Directory schema of that forest for Configuration Manager. The Active Directory Forest Account must have Full Control permissions to the System container in that forest.

  4. Select OK to save the configuration.

Configure Active Directory discovery for computers, users, or groups

To configure discovery of computers, users, or groups, start with these common steps:

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, expand Hierarchy Configuration, and select the Discovery Methods node.

  2. Select the method for the site where you want to configure discovery.

  3. On the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Properties group, select Properties.

  4. On the General tab, select the checkbox to enable discovery. Or you can configure discovery now, and then return to enable discovery later.

Then use the information in the following sections to configure the specific discovery methods:

Note

The information in this section doesn't apply to Active Directory Forest Discovery.

Although each of these discovery methods is independent of the others, they share similar options. For more information about these configuration options, see Shared options for group, system, and user discovery.

Warning

The Active Directory polling by each of these discovery methods can generate significant network traffic. Consider scheduling each discovery method to run at a time when this network traffic doesn't adversely affect business uses of your network.

Configure Active Directory Group Discovery

  1. On the General tab of the Active Directory Group Discovery Properties window, select Add to configure a discovery scope. Select either Groups or Location. Then finish the following configurations in the Add Groups or Add Active Directory Location dialog box:

    1. Specify a Name for this discovery scope.

    2. Specify an Active Directory Domain or Location to search:

      • If you chose Groups, specify one or more Active Directory groups to discover.

      • If you chose Location, specify an Active Directory container as a location to discover. You can also enable a recursive search of Active Directory child containers for this location.

    3. Specify the Active Directory Group Discovery Account that the site uses to search this discovery scope. For more information, see Accounts.

    4. Select OK to save the discovery scope configuration.

  2. Repeat the previous steps for each additional discovery scope that you want to define.

  3. On the Polling Schedule tab, configure both the full discovery polling schedule and delta discovery.

  4. On the Options tab, configure settings to filter out or exclude stale computer records from discovery. Also configure the discovery of the membership of distribution groups.

    Note

    By default, Active Directory Group Discovery discovers only the membership of security groups.

  5. Select OK to save the configuration.

Configure Active Directory System Discovery

  1. On the General tab of the Active Directory System Discovery Properties window, select the New icon New icon to specify a new Active Directory container. In the Active Directory Container dialog box, finish the following configurations:

    1. Type or browse to a location for the Path. This value is a valid LDAP path to a container or organizational unit (OU). The site queries this path for resources. For example, LDAP://CN=Computers,DC=contoso,DC=com

    2. Specify options that change the search behavior:

      • Discover objects within Active Directory groups: The site also looks at the membership of groups in this path.

      • Recursively search Active Directory child containers: If you enable this option, the site searches any additional containers or OUs within the above path. If you disable this option, the site only searches for resources in the specific path.

        Starting in version 1806, select subcontainers to exclude from this recursive search. This option helps to reduce the number of discovered objects. Select Add to choose the containers under the above path. In the Select New Container dialog box, select a child container to exclude. Select OK to close the Select New Container dialog box.

        Tip

        The list of Active Directory containers in the Active Directory System Discovery Properties window includes a column Has Exclusions. When you select containers to exclude, this value is Yes.

    3. For each location, specify the account to use as the Active Directory Discovery Account. For more information, see Accounts.

      Tip

      For each specified location, you can configure a set of discovery options and a unique Active Directory Discovery Account.

    4. Select OK to save the Active Directory container configuration.

  2. On the Polling Schedule tab, configure both the full discovery polling schedule and delta discovery.

  3. On the Active Directory Attributes tab, configure additional Active Directory attributes for computers that you want to discover. This tab lists the default object attributes.

    Tip

    For example, your organization uses the Description attribute on the computer account in Active Directory. Select Custom, and add Description as a custom attribute. After this discovery method runs, this attribute shows on the device Properties tab in the Configuration Manager console.

  4. On the Options tab, configure settings to filter out or exclude stale computer records from discovery.

  5. Select OK to save the configuration.

Configure Active Directory User Discovery

  1. On the General tab of the Active Directory User Discovery Properties window, select the New icon New icon to specify a new Active Directory container. In the Active Directory Container dialog box, finish the following configurations:

    1. Specify one or more locations to search.

    2. For each location, specify options that change the search behavior.

    3. For each location, specify the account to use as the Active Directory Discovery Account. For more information, see Accounts.

      Note

      For each specified location, you can configure a unique set of discovery options and a unique Active Directory Discovery Account.

    4. Select OK to save the Active Directory container configuration.

  2. On the Polling Schedule tab, configure both the full discovery polling schedule and delta discovery.

  3. On the Active Directory Attributes tab, configure additional Active Directory attributes for computers that you want to discover. This tab lists the default object attributes.

  4. Select OK to save the configuration.

Configure Azure AD User Discovery

Azure AD User Discovery isn't enabled or configured the same as other discovery methods. Configure it when you onboard the Configuration Manager site to Azure AD. When you Configure Azure Services for Cloud Management, you can also enable and configure this discovery method.

When configuring the Cloud Management Azure service:

  • On the Discovery page of the wizard, select the option to Enable Azure Active Directory User Discovery.
  • Select Settings.
  • In the Azure AD User Discovery Settings dialog box, configure a schedule for when discovery occurs. You can also enable delta discovery, which only checks for new or changed accounts in Azure AD.

For more information, see Azure AD User Discovery.

Important

Before you import the Azure AD app into Configuration Manager, you need to grant the server application permission to read directory data from Azure AD.

  • In the Azure portal, go to the Azure Active Directory blade.
  • Select App registrations, and switch to All apps if necessary.
  • Select the server app of type Web app / API, and then select Settings.
  • Select Required permissions, and then select Grant permissions.

If you create the server app from Configuration Manager, Azure AD automatically creates the permissions with the application. You still need to give consent to the application in the Azure portal.

Note

If the user is a federated or synchronized identity, you must use Configuration Manager Active Directory user discovery as well as Azure AD user discovery. For more information about hybrid identities, see Define a hybrid identity adoption strategy.

Configure Heartbeat Discovery

Configuration Manager enables the Heartbeat Discovery method when you install a primary site. If you want to use the default schedule of every seven days, there's nothing else to configure. Otherwise, you only have to configure the schedule for how often clients send the Heartbeat Discovery data record to a management point.

Note

If you enable both client push installation and the site maintenance task for Clear Install Flag at the same site, set the schedule of Heartbeat Discovery to be less than the Client Rediscovery period of the Clear Install Flag site maintenance task. For more information about site maintenance tasks, see Maintenance tasks.

Configure the Heartbeat Discovery schedule

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, expand Hierarchy Configuration, and select the Discovery Methods node.

  2. Select the Heartbeat Discovery method for the site where you want to configure Heartbeat Discovery.

  3. On the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Properties group, select Properties.

  4. Configure the frequency with which clients submit a Heartbeat discovery data record. Then select OK to save the configuration.

Configure Network Discovery

Before you configure Network Discovery, understand the following topics:

  • Available levels of Network Discovery

  • Available Network Discovery options

  • Limiting Network Discovery on the network

For more information, see About Network Discovery.

The following sections provide information about common configurations for Network Discovery. You can configure one or more of these configurations for use during the same discovery run. If you use multiple configurations, plan for the interactions that can affect the discovery results.

For example, you discover all Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) devices that use a specific SNMP community name. For the same discovery run, you disable discovery on a specific subnet. When discovery runs, Network Discovery doesn't discover the SNMP devices with the specified community name on the subnet that you've disabled.

Determine your network topology

You can use a topology-only discovery to map your network. This kind of discovery doesn't discover potential clients. The topology-only Network Discovery relies on SNMP.

When you're mapping your network topology, configure the Maximum hops on the SNMP tab in the Network Discovery Properties dialog box. Just a few hops can help control the network bandwidth that's used when discovery runs. As you discover more of your network, increase the number of hops to gain a better understanding of your network topology.

After you understand your network topology, configure additional properties for Network Discovery. These properties help to discover potential clients and their operating systems. Also configure Network Discovery to limit the network segments that it can search.

For more information, see How to determine your network topology

Network Discovery search options

Configuration Manager supports the following methods to search the network:

Limit searches by using subnets

You can configure Network Discovery to search specific subnets during a discovery run. By default, Network Discovery searches the subnet of the server that runs discovery. Any additional subnets that you configure and enable apply only to SNMP and DHCP search options. When Network Discovery searches domains, it isn't limited by configurations for subnets.

If you specify one or more subnets on the Subnets tab in the Network Discovery Properties dialog box, it only searches the subnets that you mark as Enabled.

When you disable a subnet, the site excludes it from discovery, and the following conditions apply:

  • SNMP-based queries don't run on the subnet.

  • DHCP servers don't reply with a list of resources located on the subnet.

  • Domain-based queries can discover resources that are located on the subnet.

Search a specific domain

You can configure Network Discovery to search a specific domain or set of domains during a discovery run. By default, Network Discovery searches the local domain of the server that runs discovery.

If you specify one or more domains on the Domains tab in the Network Discovery Properties dialog box, it only searches the domains that you mark as Enabled.

When you disable a domain, the site excludes it from discovery, and the following conditions apply:

  • Network Discovery doesn't query domain controllers in that domain.

  • SNMP-based queries can still run on subnets in the domain.

  • DHCP servers can still reply with a list of resources located in the domain.

Limit searches by using SNMP community names

You configure Network Discovery to search a specific SNMP community or set of communities during a discovery run. By default, the method configures the public community name.

Network Discovery uses community names to gain access to routers that are SNMP devices. A router can supply Network Discovery with information about other routers and subnets that are linked to the first router.

Note

SNMP community names resemble passwords. Network Discovery can get information only from an SNMP device for which you've specified a community name. Each SNMP device can have its own community name, but often the same community name is shared among several devices. Additionally, most SNMP devices have a default community name of public. But some organizations delete the public community name from their devices as a security precaution.

If you include more than one SNMP community on the SNMP tab in the Network Discovery Properties dialog box, it searches them in the order in which they're shown. Make sure that the most frequently used names are at the top of the list. This configuration helps to minimize network traffic that the site generates when it tries to contact a device by using different names.

Note

Along with using the SNMP community name, you can specify the IP address or resolvable name of a specific SNMP device. You do this action on the SNMP Devices tab in the Network Discovery Properties dialog box.

Search a specific DHCP server

You can configure Network Discovery to use a specific DHCP server or multiple servers to discover DHCP clients during a discovery run.

Network Discovery searches each DHCP server that you specify on the DHCP tab in the Network Discovery Properties dialog box. If the server that's running discovery leases its IP address from a DHCP server, you can configure discovery to search that DHCP server. Enable this behavior with the option to Include the DHCP server that the site server is configured to use.

Note

To successfully configure a DHCP server in Network Discovery, your environment must support IPv4. You can't configure Network Discovery to use a DHCP server in a native IPv6 environment.

How to configure Network Discovery

Use the following procedures to first discover only your network topology, and then to configure Network Discovery to discover potential clients by using one or more of the available Network Discovery options.

How to determine your network topology

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, expand Hierarchy Configuration, and select the Discovery Methods node.

  2. Select the Network Discovery method for the site where you want to discover network resources.

  3. On the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Properties group, select Properties.

    • On the General tab, select the option to Enable network discovery. Then select Topology from the Type of discovery options.

    • On the Subnets tab, select the Search local subnets option.

      Tip

      If you know the specific subnets that constitute your network, deselect the Search local subnets checkbox. Then select the New icon New icon, and add the specific subnets that you want to search. For large networks, search only one or two subnets at a time to minimize the use of network bandwidth.

    • On the Domains tab, select the option to Search local domain.

    • On the SNMP tab, select an option from the Maximum hops drop-down list. This option specifies how many router hops Network Discovery can take in mapping your topology.

      Tip

      When you first map your network topology, configure just a few router hops to minimize the use of network bandwidth.

  4. On the Schedule tab, select the New icon New icon, and set a schedule for running discovery.

    Note

    You can't assign a different discovery configuration to separate Network Discovery schedules. Each time Network Discovery runs, it uses the current discovery configuration.

  5. Select OK to accept the configurations. Network Discovery runs at the scheduled time.

How to configure Network Discovery

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, expand Hierarchy Configuration, and select the Discovery Methods node.

  2. Select the Network Discovery method for the site where you want to discover network resources.

  3. On the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Properties group, select Properties.

  4. On the General tab, select the option to Enable network discovery.

    • Select from the Type of discovery options the type of discovery that you want to run.

    • Enable the Slow network option for Configuration Manager to make automatic adjustments for low-bandwidth networks.

  5. To configure discovery to search subnets, switch to the Subnets tab. Then configure one or more of the following options:

    • To run discovery on subnets that are local to the computer that runs discovery, enable the option to Search local subnets.

    • To search a specific subnet, make sure that the subnet is listed in Subnets to search and has a Search value of Enabled:

      1. If the subnet isn't listed, select the New icon New icon. In the New Subnet Assignment dialog box, enter the Subnet and Mask information, and then select OK. By default, a new subnet is enabled for search.

      2. To change the Search value for a listed subnet, select it in the list. Then select the Toggle icon to switch the value between Disabled and Enabled.

  6. To configure discovery to search domains, switch to the Domains tab. Then configure one or more of the following options:

    • To run discovery on the domain of the computer that runs discovery, enable the option to Search local domain.

    • To search a specific domain, make sure that the domain is listed in Domains and has a Search value of Enabled:

      1. If the domain isn't listed, select the New icon New icon. In the Domain Properties dialog box, enter the Domain information, and then select OK. By default, a new domain is enabled for search.

      2. To change the Search value for a listed domain, select it in the list. Then select the Toggle icon to switch the value between Disabled and Enabled.

  7. To configure discovery to search specific SNMP community names for SNMP devices, switch to the SNMP tab. Then configure one or more of the following options:

    • To add an SNMP community name to the list of SNMP Community names, select the New icon New icon. In the New SNMP Community Name dialog box, specify the Name of the SNMP community, and then select OK.

    • To remove an SNMP community name, select the community name, and then select the Delete icon Delete icon.

    • To adjust the search order of SNMP community names, select a community name from the list. Then select the Move Item Up icon Move UP Icon or the Move Item Down icon Move Down Icon. When discovery runs, community names are searched in a top-to-bottom order.

    • To configure the maximum number of router hops for use by SNMP searches, select the number of hops from the Maximum hops drop-down list.

  8. To configure an SNMP device, switch to the SNMP Devices tab. If the device isn't listed, select the New icon New icon. In the New SNMP Device dialog box, specify the IP address or device name of the SNMP device, and then select OK.

    Note

    If you specify a device name, Configuration Manager must be able to resolve the NetBIOS name to an IP address.

  9. To configure discovery to query specific DHCP servers, switch to the DHCP tab. Then configure one or more of the following options:

    • To query the DHCP server on the computer that is running discovery, enable the option to Always use the site server’s DHCP server.

      Note

      To use this option, the server must lease its IP address from a DHCP server and can't use a static IP address.

    • To query a specific DHCP server, select the New icon New icon. In the New DHCP Server dialog box, specify the IP address or server name of the DHCP server, and then select OK.

      Note

      If you specify a server name, Configuration Manager must be able to resolve the NetBIOS name to an IP address.

  10. To configure when discovery runs, switch to the Schedule tab. Then select the New icon New icon to set a schedule for running Network Discovery. You can configure multiple recurring schedules, and multiple schedules that have no recurrence.

    Note

    If the Schedule tab shows more than one schedule at the same time, Network Discovery runs for all schedules as it's configured at the time indicated in the schedule. This behavior is also true for recurring schedules.

  11. Select OK to save your configurations.

How to verify that Network Discovery has finished

The time that Network Discovery requires to finish can vary depending on one or more of the following factors:

  • The size of your network

  • The topology of your network

  • The maximum number of hops that are configured to find routers in the network

  • The type of discovery that is being run

Network Discovery doesn't create messages to alert you when it's finished. Use the following procedure to verify when discovery has finished:

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Monitoring workspace. Expand System Status, and then select the Status Message Queries node.

  2. Select the All Status Messages query.

  3. On the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Status Message Queries group, select Show Messages.

  4. In the All Status Messages window, select a value from the Select date and time drop-down list that includes how long ago the discovery started. Then select OK to open the Configuration Manager Status Message Viewer.

    Tip

    You can also use the Specify date and time option to select a given date and time that you ran discovery. This option is useful when you ran Network Discovery on a given date and want to retrieve messages from only that date.

  5. To validate that Network Discovery has finished, search for a status message that has the following details:

    • Message ID: 502

    • Component: SMS_NETWORK_DISCOVERY

    • Description: This component stopped

    If this status message isn't present, Network Discovery hasn't finished.

  6. To validate when Network Discovery started, search for a status message that has the following details:

    • Message ID: 500

    • Component: SMS_NETWORK_DISCOVERY

    • Description: This component started

    This information verifies that Network Discovery started. If this information isn't present, reschedule Network Discovery.