Always On Availability Groups in SCCM 1511

There has been a lot of talk about the use of SQL AlwaysOn Availability Groups (AOAGs) from SCCM 2012 onward but it wasn’t available in any iteration of this version and promises were made by Microsoft to include this is as a feature in 1511. Indeed it seems to have been planned and implemented in the Technical Previews but evidently didn’t make it into the final official release of 1511. Given that officially* you need to go via 1511 to install 1602 this is very annoying for anyone wishing to use this feature as a number of extra steps are required. Below I try to clear up much of the contradictory information available at present (May 2016) on the internet.

A number of websites run by respected MVP’s continue to suggest availability in several 1511 versions:

https://4sysops.com/archives/system-center-configuration-manager-2016-tp3/ which suggests it is available in TP3.
And this from another fairly well respected site:
https://www.systemcenterdudes.com/sccm-1511-new-features/

In a nutshell, it seems AOAGs are supported only on 1511 Tech Preview 4 and above but to confuse matters, the following from Microsoft explains this definition:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt595861 (snippet below)

Technical Preview 1511 – This version is also known as the Configuration Manager Technical Preview 4. It represents a baseline for Technical Previews that begin with the release of the current branch for System Center Configuration Manager, version 1511…

This is where it gets interesting because Technical Preview 4 covers a number of separate releases which flank the ‘official’ 1511 release on Dec 8th 2015:
https://buildnumbers.wordpress.com/sccm/
Well that that clears it up then.

After filtering through a good deal of contradictory information, it appears that SQL AOAGs made it into the 1512 TP4 version and that 1602 is the first official CB release to have full support.
So to be clear, when installing 1602 and above from scratch, install 1511 first by pointing to the single DB instance then change to AOAGs later via the procedure below.

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/arnabm/2016/05/14/step-by-step-configuration-manager-site-database-hosted-on-sql-server-alwayson-availability-group/

If you don’t, and you are using the Dec 8th (official) release of 1511 then when adding the AV Listener you’ll see the following error message:

AVG_1511

And nobody likes to see that 🙂

 

* I hesitate to say this but it is perfectly possible to install 1602 direct from certain media sources** for 1602. This is not supported and therefore not recommended, I am informed one of the side effects of doing this is that you’ll not be able to update in future. There may be other, undocumented side effects too.

** Media I obtained came from an unconfirmed source although it is possible it may have been from CD.Latest (I didn’t originally source it so can’t confirm for definite). Basically don’t do it if you want a supported environment!

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