Branch Distribution Points Explained: Keeping Your Remote Offices Updated

Imagine that you are a manager of a company with offices in different cities or even countries. Keeping everyone’s computers up to date with the latest software and security patches can seem like a logistical nightmare. A Branch Distribution Point can help streamline this process, making it much more manageable.

Here is a quick step guide to set-up branch distribution point:

  • Launch the SCCM console.
  • Go to “Administration” > “Site Configuration.”
  • Right-click “Servers and Site System Roles” and select “Create Site System Server.”
  • In the wizard, choose “Distribution Point” as the system role.
  • On the “Distribution Point” page, select “Enable as a branch distribution point.”
  • Configure settings like drive allocation, bandwidth throttling, and client communication.
  • Review and complete the wizard to install the BDP role on the target computer.

Continue reading the blog to learn the detailed steps. In this blog post, we’ll break down what branch distribution points are, how they work, and why they’re essential for any business with multiple locations.

What is branch distribution point (BDP) ?

Think of a BDP as a local content storage locker within your company’s network, specifically for branch offices. Essentially, it acts as a middleman between the central SCCM server (System Center Configuration Manager) and client devices in those locations. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Central SCCM Server: Firstly, this server stores a vast repository of software updates, applications, and other content needed to manage your company’s devices.
  • BDP: Next, located at a branch office, the BDP holds copies of this essential content locally.
  • Client Devices: Finally, computers and other devices in the branch office access updates and content from the BDP instead of relying solely on the central server far away.

Benefits of Branch Distribution Points

Reduced Network Traffic: Firstly, by distributing content locally, BDPs significantly reduce the strain on your main network bandwidth. For example, imagine all branch offices downloading updates directly from a central server – that’s a lot of traffic! BDPs act as buffers, keeping things efficient.

Faster Updates: Secondly, since devices download content from a nearby location, updates and deployments happen much quicker compared to relying solely on the central server, especially for geographically distant offices.

Improved Security: Thirdly, BDPs can help maintain a consistent security posture across all locations. By keeping security patches readily available locally, you can ensure timely updates and minimize vulnerabilities.

How Does a BDP Work ?

The process involves a few key steps:

  • Content Distribution: To begin with, SCCM administrators define which content (updates, applications) needs to be replicated on BDPs.
  • Replication Process: Subsequently, SCCM intelligently replicates the chosen content to the BDPs over the network. Moreover, it prioritizes updates and considers factors like bandwidth limitations.
  • Client Communication: Following this, client devices in the branch office are configured to look for updates and content on the local BDP first.
  • Content Delivery: Finally, when a client needs an update, it downloads it directly from the BDP, significantly reducing the distance and time compared to fetching it from the central server.

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Requirements For SCCM distribution point

To set up a branch distribution point (BDP) in SCCM, there are several requirements to consider. Here’s a breakdown of the key aspects:

Operating System

Supported Versions: SCCM supports BDP installation on various Windows Server versions, though specifics may differ depending on your SCCM edition. Generally, you’ll be looking at Windows Server 2012 and later versions, including both Standard and Datacenter editions. There are some exceptions for 32-bit operating systems, so refer to Microsoft’s documentation for compatibility details.

Server Core: While Server Core installations are not generally supported for SCCM site system roles, they are an exception for BDPs.


There are no strict hardware requirements outlined by SCCM for BDPs. However, it’s essential to consider:

Available Disk Space: You’ll need enough storage capacity to house the software updates, applications, and other content you plan to distribute. Aim for at least 5 GB of free space, with more recommended depending on your content volume.

Processing Power and Memory: While not explicitly stated, sufficient processing power and memory are crucial for efficient content management and distribution. The exact needs will vary based on the number of clients and expected traffic.


SCCM Version: Ensure you have a compatible version of SCCM that supports BDP functionality.

Prerequisites: The SCCM installation process will typically handle installing essential software components like IIS and Remote Differential Compression.

PowerShell: For Windows Server 2012 or later, having PowerShell 3.0 or 4.0 installed is a prerequisite.

Visual C++ Redistributable: SCCM will install the necessary Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable package during the BDP setup.

Additional Considerations

Network Connectivity: Reliable and sufficient network bandwidth is vital for efficient content transfer between the central SCCM site and the BDP, as well as for client devices downloading content.

Security: Configure firewalls appropriately to allow communication between the BDP and SCCM components while maintaining overall network security.    

How to install branch distribution point ?  

Installing a Branch Distribution Point (BDP) in SCCM is essential for efficient content distribution across multiple locations. In this section we will walk you through the step-by-step process, ensuring your setup is optimized for performance and reliability.

Before You Begin

  • System Management Software: Firstly, you’ll need software like Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) that supports BDPs.
  • Target Machine: Secondly, the computer you choose for the BDP needs to meet hardware and software requirements set by your SCCM version. Check your SCCM documentation for specifics.
  • Administrative Access: Lastly, ensure the SCCM site server account has administrator privileges on the BDP server.

Installation Steps

  • Launch SCCM Console: To start, this is the main SCCM management interface.
  • Navigate to Configuration: Next, go to “Administration” and then “Site Configuration.”
  • Add Site System Role: Then, right-click on “Servers and Site System Roles” and select “Create Site System Server.” This starts the wizard for adding a new server with a specific role.
  • Choose Distribution Point: After that, in the wizard, select “Distribution Point” as the system role.
  • Enable Branch Distribution: Subsequently, on the “Distribution Point” page, check “Enable as a branch distribution point.”
  • Configure Additional Settings: Following this, here you’ll define storage space allocation for content, bandwidth usage limits for downloads, and client communication methods.
  • Review and Complete: Finally, once satisfied with the settings, proceed through the wizard to finalize the BDP installation on your target computer.  

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How to create and configure a new distribution point group ?

Here’s a step-by-step procedure on how to create and configure a new distribution point group in System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM):

Accessing the Configuration Pane

  • First, launch the SCCM console.
  • Then, navigate to the Administration workspace.

Locating Distribution Point Groups

  • Next, in the Administration workspace, expand the Overview node and then select Site Configuration.
  • After that, in the navigation pane on the left, locate and right-click on Distribution Point Groups.

Creating the Group

  • Subsequently, from the right-click menu, select Create Group.
  • As a result, this will open the Create New Distribution Point Group window.

Defining Group Details

  • In the Name field, enter a clear and descriptive name for your new group.
  • Additionally, in the Description field, you can provide further details about the purpose of this group.

Adding Members (Distribution Points):

  • Now, click the Members tab in the Create New Distribution Point Group window.
  • Them, click the Add button.
  • Consequently, this will open the Add Distribution Points window.
  • At this point, select the distribution points you want to include in this group by checking the boxes next to their names.
  • Finally, click OK to add the selected distribution points to the group.

Assigning Collections (Optional)

  • If you want to restrict which device collections can access content distributed by this group, navigate to the Collections tab.
  • Then, click the Add button and choose the relevant device collections from the list.

Completing the Creation

  • Once you’ve finished adding members and configuring collections (if applicable), click Next on the Create New Distribution Point Group window.
  • Lastly, review the summary on the final page and click Close to complete the creation of your new distribution point group.

Additional Notes

  • Moreover, you can manage existing distribution point groups by right-clicking on a group and selecting options like “Edit”, “Add Members”, or “Remove Members”.
  • Furthermore, distribution point groups are useful for organizing your BDPs based on location, function, or other criteria.
  • In last, this process assumes a basic understanding of SCCM navigation.   

How to create a new group from an existing distribution point ?

In SCCM, you cannot directly create a new group from an existing distribution point (DP). Distribution points are individual server roles within SCCM and groups are collections of these server roles.

However, you can easily add an existing DP to a new or existing distribution point group. That is how:

Steps to add an existing distribution point to a new group:

  • Start the SCCM console: Open the System Center Configuration Manager console.
  • Navigate to Distribution Point Groups: Go to the Administration workspace and expand Overview. Select Site Settings.
  • Create a new group (optional): If you do not have a group to add the DP to, right-click Distribution Point Groups and select Create Group. Follow the steps to define a name and description for the new group.
  • Manage Existing Group: If you have an existing group that you want to add the DP to, right-click that group and select Properties.
  • Add Members: In the group properties window, navigate to the Members tab.
  • Select Existing DP: Click the Add button. This will open the Add Distribution Points window.
  • Choose DP and Add: Select the existing distribution point you want to add to the group by checking the box next to its name. Click OK to add the selected DP to the group.
  • Complete (optional): If you were creating a new group, click Next in the Create New Distribution Point Group window to review the summary and click Close to finish creating the group with the DP added.

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How to modify an existing distribution point group ?

Modifying an existing distribution point group (DPG) in SCCM involves adding, removing, or changing the configuration of its members (distribution points) and associated device collections. Here’s a breakdown of the steps:

Accessing the DPG

  • Launch the SCCM console.
  • Navigate to the Administration workspace.
  • Expand Overview and select Site Configuration.
  • In the left pane, locate and right-click on Distribution Point Groups.

Selecting the DPG for Modification

  • From the list of DPGs, choose the one you want to modify and right-click on it.

Making Changes

Depending on your desired modification, select one of the following options:

  • Properties: This allows you to edit the DPG name and description.
  • Add Members: Use this option to add existing distribution points to the group.
  • Remove Members: Select this to remove distribution points from the group.
  • Manage Collections: This option lets you associate or remove device collections from the DPG. Associated collections will receive content distributed by the group members.

Modifying Properties (Optional)

  • If you selected “Properties”, a window will open for editing the DPG name and description.
  • Modify the details as needed and click OK to save the changes.

Adding/Removing Members

  • Choosing “Add Members” or “Remove Members” will open a window listing available distribution points.
  • Select the DPs you want to add or remove by checking/unchecking the boxes next to their names.
  • Click OK to confirm the changes and update the DPG membership.

Managing Collections (Optional)

  • Selecting “Manage Collections” opens a window displaying associated device collections.
  • To add collections, click the Add button, choose the desired collections, and click OK.
  • To remove collections, select them from the list and click Remove.
  • Click OK to confirm changes to the DPG’s associated collections.

How to check SCCM client distribution point ?

There are two main approaches to check which distribution point (DP) an SCCM client is using to download content:

Client-Side Approach (Using Logs)

This method involves accessing logs on the client machine itself. Here’s how:

  • Locate SCCM Client Logs: Navigate to the following directory on the client computer: C:\Windows\ccm\logs
  • Identify Relevant Logs: There are two main logs to consider:
  • LocationServices.log: This log contains information about the client’s discovery process for DPs. Look for entries indicating a successful DP location with details like server name or IP address.
  • ContentTransferManager.log: This log focuses on content download activity. Look for entries mentioning successful downloads and the source server (DP) involved.

Server-Side Approach (Using SCCM Console)

This method leverages the SCCM console for a more centralized view:

  • Launch SCCM Console: Open the System Center Configuration Manager console on your SCCM server.
  • Navigate to Monitoring: Go to the Monitoring workspace.
  • Expand Distribution Status: Under Monitoring, expand the Distribution Status node.
  • View Client Details (Optional): Here you have two options:
  • Distribution Point Group Status: Select the relevant distribution point group (if applicable). On the Home tab, click View Status to see detailed information about clients associated with that group.
  • Client Status: Alternatively, you can navigate to the Devices workspace and locate the specific client machine. Right-click on the client and select Properties. Under the General tab, look for the Distribution Point field which might display the assigned DP (depending on SCCM configuration).


Branch Distribution Points (BDPs) are a powerful tool for businesses with multiple locations, offering a smart solution to the challenge of keeping all devices updated and secure.

Specifically, by acting as local content storage lockers, BDPs significantly reduce network traffic, speed up updates, and improve overall security across your organization.

However, setting up BDPs involves careful planning and configuration within your SCCM environment. While the process may seem technical, the benefits far outweigh the initial setup effort.

Consequently, with BDPs in place, you’ll enjoy faster deployments, reduced bandwidth usage, and a more consistent security posture across all your offices.

Remember, the key to success lies in proper planning and ongoing management. Therefore, regularly review your BDP configuration, monitor performance, and adjust as needed to keep your remote offices running smoothly and securely.


Frequently Asked Question’s (FAQ’s)

What is the branch distribution point in SCCM ?

In SCCM, a branch distribution point (BDP) acts like a local storage locker at branch offices. It stores copies of software updates, applications, and other IT needs. This reduces network traffic and speeds up updates for devices in those locations by allowing them to download content from a nearby source instead of the central SCCM server.

What is the purpose of a distribution point ?

A distribution point in SCCM acts like a central content warehouse within your network. It stores software updates, applications, and other deployment packages. These resources are then distributed from the DP to devices throughout your organization, ensuring everyone has access to the latest updates and programs.

How do I update my distribution point ?

In SCCM, you can update content on distribution points. The SCCM console allows you to initiate an update for specific content packages or configure automatic updates on a schedule. This ensures your DPs hold the latest resources for efficient device updates and deployments.

Content Writer

Smith Ron, the writer at Assistme360. He has extensive experience in crafting straightforward, step-by-step guides for technical issues. His broad knowledge ensures accurate solutions. Kindly spare a moment to drop a comment down and express your opinions. Your feedback can be valuable in assisting others who may come across similar problems.

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