Planning for Boundaries and Boundary Groups in Configuration Manager 2012

Updated: May 1, 2011

Applies To: System Center Configuration Manager 2012

In Configuration Manager 2012, a boundary is a network location that can contain one or more devices that you want to manage. Boundaries can be an IP subnet, Active Directory site name, IPv6 Prefix, or an IP address range, and it can include any combination of these elements. To use a boundary you must add the boundary to one or more boundary groups. Boundary groups are collections of boundaries and they allow clients to find an assigned site and to locate content when they need to install software, such as applications, software updates, and operating system images.

What’s New in Configuration Manager 2012

In Configuration Manager 2012, boundaries are no longer site-specific. Instead, you define them one time only for the hierarchy and they are available for all sites in the hierarchy. Each boundary must be a member of a boundary group before a device on that boundary can identify an assigned site or locate content on a distribution point.


Each boundary represents a network location in Configuration Manager 2012 and it is available from every site in your hierarchy. A boundary does not enable you to manage clients at the network location. To manage a client, the boundary must be a member of a boundary group.

Boundary Groups

Use boundary groups to manage your network locations. You must assign boundaries to boundary groups before you can use the boundary group. Boundary groups have the following functions:

  • They enable clients to find a primary site for client assignment (automatic site assignment).

  • They can provide clients with site systems to access content from when you associate the distribution point and state migration point site system servers with the boundary group.

To support site assignment, you must configure the boundary group to specify an assigned site for clients to use during automatic site assignment. To support content location, you must specify one or more distribution points. Both configurations are optional for boundary groups.

When you plan for boundary groups, consider creating one set of boundary groups for content location and a second set of boundary groups for automatic site assignment. This separation can help you to avoid overlapping boundaries for site assignment. When you have overlapping boundaries and use automatic site assignment, the site that a client will assign to is nondeterministic.

Site Assignment

You can configure each boundary group with an assigned site for clients. Clients join the assigned site of a boundary group that contains the client’s current network location. When a boundary is added to multiple boundary groups that have different assigned sites, clients will nondeterministically select one of the sites. Configuration Manager 2012 does not support this overlapping boundary configuration for site assignment.

For more information about client site assignment, see About Client Site Assignment in Configuration Manager 2012.

Content Location

You can associate one or more distribution points with each boundary group. You can also associate a distribution point with multiple boundary groups. When a client requests content for a deployment, Configuration Manager sends the client a list of distribution points that have the content and that are associated with a boundary group that includes the current network location of the client.

Configuration Manager 2012 supports overlapping boundary configurations for content location. When a client requests content and the client network location belongs to multiple boundary groups, Configuration Manager sends the client a list of all distribution points that have the content. This behavior enables the client to select the nearest server from which to download the content.

You can configure the network connection speed of each distribution point in a boundary group. Clients use this value when they connect to the distribution point. By default, the network connection speed is configured as Fast, but it can also be configured as Slow. The network connection speed and the deployment configuration determine whether a client can download content from a distribution point when the client is on an associated boundary.

See Also