How to create a fully functioning clone of your production ZCM zone


ZCM Zone Cloning Guide

Prepared By Tony Roberts


  1. Purpose


The purpose of this document is to provide an instructional framework for the reader to use when there is a requirement to create a clone of a live ZCM zone.

There are many reasons why one should want to clone a production zone, for example:

  • Testing the upgrade process

  • Reviewing new functionality within an upgrade and relating it to live data

  • Testing ZCM bundle and patch deployments

  • Testing architectural changes

  • Testing Field Test Files (FTFs)

  • Troubleshooting a specific issue

The aim of the process is to create a working ZCM zone with a single, fully functioning primary server and a single remote database node that is using a copy of the production ZCM database.


The environment used during the creation of this document was as follows:

  • ZCM 10.3.1

  • Microsoft SQL 2005

  • Windows 2003 Server (primary servers and remote database node)

  • VMWare ESX server

The above configuration is not essential but the reader should replace certain procedures as necessary based on the requirements of the differing products and platforms.

Bear in mind that ZCM is licensed on managed devices, so you must ensure your licensing covers the additional managed devices that will be created when you add the server and any workstations to the test zone.

Preparatory Work

Due to the time it takes for some of the operations required to create the cloned zone, the steps outlined below should be considered preparatory. Note that in many cases the delays are due to the sheer size of data that needs to be moved around, particularly when there is a large content repository involved. Steps can be taken to avoid this, such as excluding content from the live CA server.

  1. Create a copy of the zone's certificate authority (CA) primary server. An easy way to do this is to take a direct file copy or clone of a VM if available Otherwise, create a Physical to Virtual (P2V) clone

  • On the same day as the clone of the CA is performed, take a backup of the database using the appropriate database tools

  • A new remote database server should be built, to the same code level as the live server

  • The above machines should be on a separate network to the live environment, or in a host-only network in VMWare

  • Ensure the new virtual machines have the drive configuration (partitioning, lettering) as their live counterparts and that drive space is sufficient to host data such as the content repository

Creating the clone environment

The steps below will create the working zone using the copy of the CA server and the new remote database server:

  1. Change IP addressing on the servers (put into the private network - modify hosts file accordingly). Ensure new Primary and DB server re on the same subnet.

  • Restore the database using the appropriate tools. Mirror the settings in the live environment

  • Modify %ZENWORKS_HOME%\conf\datamodel\zdm.xml on the primary server so that the 'database server' entry points to the name of the new database server

  • (SQL)Ensure the authentication mode on DB server is set the same as in the live environment

  • (SQL)Modify the SA password on the new database server to match the live SA user

  • Reset the ZCM Patch Management tables using the ZCC

  • Ensure the newly cloned primary server is set to provide the correct roles – patch, system update, news, reporting and messaging server

  • Check for any discovery tasks that were previously scheduled and delete as necessary

  • Delete all other remaining servers in the zone using the ZCC

  • Demote all the satellite devices. Optionally delete them. If you have a large number of satellites you can look to script the deletion of their satellite roles using ZMAN SSD

  • Remove all the Closest Server Rules and reconfigure the default rule

(Optional) Placing the test environment on the live network

If required the test environment can be configured to be accessible anywhere on the live network (as opposed to having the servers hidden behind a private network). This can be achieved by inserting an additional primary server into the zone and having that assume the roles of the existing CA server before it is subsequently deleted. The steps below detail what is required:

  1. (If virtual machines are on VMWare) Make sure all the VMs are on the same VMWare host server and a rule is created to keep them on the same host

  • Create a new VM for the new primary server. Ensure the server specification is sufficient and mimics the existing server as a minimum. Ensure .Net 3.5sp1 is present

  • Ensure the ZCM install media is available to the new VM (on disk, removable media etc.)

  • Modify the network settings, host files etc. accordingly

  • Install and register the new primary server into the zone

  • Make sure the content repository is redirected to the correct drive

  • Move the CA to the new server using ZMAN

  • Ensure all content is synchronised to the new primary server

  • Retire the original CA server

  • Modify the IP addressing and network settings to bring the new primary server into the production network


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