Look at you! You just installed SCCM 2012, deployed the agent to a majority of the client workstations in your environment and began collecting hardware inventory information. However, after tearing through the gathered data, you come to the stark realization that you cannot query based on computer asset number! How angry you must feel, spending all of that time designing your new SCCM environment only to be met with unforeseen limitations.
Be miffed no more, my friend! Well, kind of…let me explain.
Certainly, the out-of-the-box hardware collection capabilities are quite robust. SCCM utilizes Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to access management information from client machines and then returns the data into a recognizable format on the site server. To some, however, this collected information can leave much to be desired. Luckily for you, Mr. Overachiever, there is a way to extend SCCM’s hardware collection capabilities: the utilization of MIF files.
Management Information Files (MIF) are used by SCCM and clients to exchange hardware information. With the out-of-the-box capabilities of SCCM, you can enable and disable WMI classes, as well as add new classes, by manipulating the client settings. When utilizing MIF files in conjunction with the default client agent classes, hardware inventory becomes even more granular.
There are two types of MIF files: NOIDMIF and IDMIF. NOIDMIF files extend the capabilities of hardware inventory on client devices, while IDMIF files are used to collect information about other non-managed (yet, network-associated) devices. During the hardware inventory cycle, all of the information stored in the corresponding MIF files augments the client inventory report. The gathered data is stored in the site database and you can utilize the information in the same way that you use the information provided by the default client inventory.
It is important to note that, before you can add the information from MIF files to the SCCM database, you must first import the class information for them. For more information on how to add a new inventory class, check out Technet article. In a future post, we will explain how to create NOIDMIF and IDMIF files.
Ultimately, this technique will allow you to enhance the already robust capabilities of SCCM hardware inventory. After utilizing the power of your newfound MIF knowledge, you will be wondering why you were ever “miffed” in the first place.
Jesse Walter is a protégé of Jason Rutherford and found true love in System Center. He currently works in conjunction with Jason Rutherford and Rutherford, LLC to deliver seemingly impractical knowledge in practical ways.