I’ve been taking a look at the Cloud Management Gateway (CMG) and utilising that with cloud DP’s to manage Internet based clients.
The CMG is a service in Azure that acts as a proxy, connecting to on-premise services via a new role, the cloud management gateway connector point.
CMG has been around for a while, since the 1610 release, and it is still classed as a pre-release feature but don’t let that put you off installing as Microsoft gives full support to all pre-release features.
The CMG can be set up and configured using an internal PKI infrastructure but the preferred method is to get a public certificate. You can keep your existing internal infrastructure running on HTTP or HTTPS as both are supported, however internal HTTPS is recommended.
I must admit I found the TechNet documentation, here, a little confusing at times relying the requirements so I am hoping that this blog post can clarify the set-up for anyone out there who is muddling their way through the process. I will run through both the internal and external certificate process to achieve this.
A big thanks to Robert Marshall’s blog post on the Technical Preview feature ‘ConfigMgr and the Cloud Proxy Point‘ which helped with understanding the necessary steps for certificate creation and export.
The Cloud Management Gateway must be created at the top tier of a SCCM hierarchy, if running a CAS, then the CMG’s must be created on the primary sites.
CMG using internal certificates
To set up CMG using an internal PKI infrastructure you will need the following certificates:
- A management certificate – to be used in Azure, and when configuring the CMG
- A web server certificate
- The trusted root certificate, and any sub-ordinate certificates in the CA chain.
- A client authentication certificate
Start by checking that the Azure domain name that you wish to use is available, it must be unique. To do this log into the Azure portal at https://portal.azure.com. Click New and type in Cloud Service. Go into the Cloud Service and click Create.
At this point you can enter the DNS name and it will auto check for availability. Don’t create it, but this as the method to discover the DNS name you want.
Now that you know the name you want you can request the certificates based on this name.
Setting up the certificates
Fire up your certificate authority, drill down to Certificates, right click and choose Manage. Note that I am using an old 2008 DC, the process is the same for 2012 and above.
Right click the Web Server template and select Duplicate Template.
Select Windows Server 2003 Enterprise. Click OK.
Enter a name for the template. I’ve called mine ‘SCCMCMG – Management Certificate’ as I am going to create another template for my Web Server cert.
In the Request Handling tab choose Allow private key to be exported.
Set security accordingly so that enrollment can take place, Read and Enroll permissions are required for this.
Repeat the process above to create another duplicate template, this time it will be used for our second certificate, the Web Server certificate. Name the template accordingly, I have simply called mine SCCMCMG.
Now we need to create a template for the client authentication. If you already have PKI roles in your SCCM hierarchy, then you won’t need to do this since you will already have client authentication in place.
As with the web server templates, you need to right click and choose Manage. Again choose Windows Server 2003 Enterprise and enter a meaningful name for the template.
In the Security tab set the following for Domain Computers – Read, Enroll and Autoenroll.
With the templates in place, we need to issue them so that we can enroll them.
To do this right click the Certificate Templates folder in the Certificate Authority and choose New>Certificate Template to Issue.
Choose the certificate template, in this instance the management cert template and click OK.
The certificate template will be available for enrollment. Repeat the process for your web server certificate and client authentication templates.
Next up, you need to request the certificates on a computer.
Let’s start with the management certificate.Load up MMC and choose File>Add/Remove Snap-in…
Select Certificates and then click Add>.
Choose Computer account and click Next.
Ensure Local computer is selected and click Finish.
Note that Certificates (Local Computer) is in the Selected snap-ins pane. Click OK.
Navigate to the Personal store and right click, choose All Tasks>Request New Certificate.
Click Next to begin the certificate enrollment.
Go with the defaults here by clicking Next.
Select the management certificate template that was created earlier. Then click the More information link.
In the Subject tab click the Type drop down and enter the FDQN for the cloud service, this is the DNS name you checked for availability + cloudapp.net, in the Common name type. Once done, click Add>.
Click the Enroll button to enroll the certificate.
When the process is complete click Finish.
Repeat the process for the web server certificate, give the certificate the same common name.
The next step in the certificate process, is to export the certificates so we can import them in with or without a private key. We will use these exports upload the management certificate into Azure and to configure the CMG.
Let’s start with the management certificate again. In the personal store, if you refresh you will see you have two new certs. Right click the management certificate, you can check the Certificate Template column to ensure you have the correct one, select All Tasks>Export.
Click Next on the export wizard.
Choose not to export the private key and click Next.
Export the DER encoded binary X.509 (.CER) format and click Next.
Save the certificate as the .cer file. Name it accordingly so you know which cert it is.
Click Finish to complete the process.
You will be notified that the export was successful.
Repeat the above process, this time creating a .cer file for the web server certificate.
The next step is to create exported certificates with private keys. You will need to do this for both the management certificate and the web server certificate. I will show you process here for the web server certificate but the process is identical.
As before, in the MMC>Personal>Certificates store, right click the web server certificate and choose All Tasks>Export.
This time select Yes, export the private key. Click Next.
This time the .pfx format is selected. Go with the defaults and click Next.
Enter a strong password for the pfx file and click Next.
Save the certificate.
Click Finish to complete the export.
As mentioned, repeat the process for the management certificate.
OK, we’re not quite there yet as we still need our trusted root and our client authentication certificates.
Let’s start with the trusted root cert.
In the MMC, double click one of the certificates, web server or management cert – it does not matter which.
Go to the Certification Path tab and double click the root.
This will open up the root cert. You can confirm this is the root cert via the subject name. Click Copy to File.
Export as a .cer file. Click Next.
Save the file accordingly.
Click Finish to complete the export of the trusted root. If your certificate authority has sub-ordinate CAs then you will need to export the full chain as they will be required for aut
We are not onto the last of the certificates to create, the client authentication certificate. Once we have this in place then we are in a position to start the configuration of the CMG.
We created the template earlier, now we need to issue the certificate to our client devices.
To do this simply create a GPO and deploy it out to the devices.
The settings required for this are, in the Group Policy Management Editor, choose Computer Configuration>Policies>Windows Settings>Security Settings>Public Key Policies. Select the Certificate Services Client – Auto-enrollment policy and edit it.
Enable the Configuration Model and check both Renew expired certificates, update pending certificates, remove revoked certificates and Update certificates that use certificate templates.
Restart a domain joined computer and the certificate will appear in its Personal store.
Add the management certificate to Azure
In the Azure Portal , navigate to Subscriptions and then select your subscription.
Select Management Certificates from the list of options.
Click the Upload link.
Next we need to select a .cer file to upload. This will be the management certificate .cer file created earlier.
Ensure the cert is uploaded successfully. Copy your Subscription ID as you will need this next.
Set up the Cloud Management Gateway
Since the CMG is still a pre-release feature, you will need to enable pre-release features on your site. This is a one off task, and to do this go to \Administration\Overview\Site Configuration\Sites. Click the Hierarchy button.
You need to Consent to use Pre-Release features. I have already enabled this on my site and hence this option is grayed out.
Now that pre-release features are allowed, we need to turn on the feature we need to use, in this case Pre-release – Cloud Management Gateway.
Go to \Administration\Overview\Updates and Servicing\Features, locate the Pre-release – Cloud Management Gateway, right click and Turn on.
Now we can add in the CMG. Go to \Administration\Overview\Cloud Services\Cloud Management Gateway. Right click and choose Create Cloud Management Gateway.
At the Create Cloud Management Gateway Wizard, ensure you have the correct Azure environment selected. Paste in the Subscription ID copied from Azure earlier and then click Browse.
Select the management certificate pfx file.
Enter the password for the certificate when prompted and click OK.
With the information populated, click Next.
The information will be validated on the cloud service.
On the Settings section of the wizard, click the Browse button.
Select the Web Server certificate.
Confirm the password for this certificate.
At this stage, you will notice that the service name has been automatically populated from the DNS name specified in the common name added into the certificate earlier, also the FQDN will be populated accordingly. Next click the Certificate button.
Now we need to upload any trusted root and sub-ordinate certificates. Since I only have a trusted root, I only need to upload that.
Note the thumbprint ID, make sure that matches the thumbprint from the Details tab of your trusted root cert. Ensure Trusted Root Certification Authorities. If you need to add in a sub-ordinate cert then click Add, but ensure that Intermediate Certification Authorities is chosen from the Certificate Store drop down. Click OK when done.
Note also, that there is a limit of 2 x trusted root and 4 x subordinate certs that can be added here.
Untick the Verify Client Certificate Revocation chedcbox, unless you’re publicly publishing your CRL information. Finally, select the Region and number of VM Instances required.
Note that clients, at present can connect to any CMG in the hierarchy regardless of location, but that logic will be introduced into the product in a future release.
Set the relevant threshold alerts for CMG. I have left the defaults but you may wish to tailor for your needs. Click Next.
Click Close to complete the wizard.
The CMG will start to provision.
Take a look at the CloudMgr.log file on the site server for information on what is happening.
Here, for example, we can see certificates being added to the service, and that a subordinate cert is not
Eventually the deployment will report as ready.
You notice that no connection points exist for the CMG. We need to create the connection point next.
In the ConfigMgr console, navigate to \Administration\Overview\Site Configuration\Servers and Site System Roles and right click the site server or site system to install the role on and choose Add Site System Roles.
Click through the wizard and select Cloud management gateway connection point.
On the next page of the wizard, you notice that the information for the CMG will be auto populated.
Complete the wizard, return to the CMG and the connection point will be populated but report as Disconnected.
We will now have a new log to record information about the connection point, the SMS_CLOUD_PROXYCONNECTOR.log file. This will be created on the site server or system that you install the role on.
Once set up, the connection point will report back as Connected.
Finally, we need to set our Management Points and SUPs to allow CMG traffic. Go into the properties of your MP/MPs and check Allow Configuration Manager cloud management gateway traffic.
Do the same for your SUP/SUPs.
Take note of the details of your MP/SUP in the Role Endpoints section of your CMG.
Clients and the CMG
So we have the infrastructure in place for the CMG to function. Our clients have the client authentication certificate installed. What next? Well it’s simply a case of the clients becoming ‘aware’ of the CMG’s existence.
Clients will get information about the CMG on their next location request, the polling cycle for this is every 24 hours, but it can be forced by restarting the SMS Host service.
Let’s see a client using the CMG.
The client starts off on the internal network. We can see the assigned MP and the Connection Type is set to Currently intranet.
After the location request, the client is aware of the CMG
The client is taken off the internal network onto an external connection, the clientlocation.log reports back that the client is on the Internet.
The locationservices.log informs that the client has rotated its MP to the CMG.
A quick look at the ConfigMgr applet, confirms that the Connection Type is now reporting as Currently Internet.
and in the Network tab the CMG is reported as the Internet based MP.
This completes the set up for the Cloud Management Gateway using internal certificates, in the next part of the blog I will show you how you can utilise external certs and then we will add in cloud DP so you can get content out to the devices on the net.