Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Service Level Dashboard Management Pack

14-04-2009 Update: In SCOM R2 RC Service Level Tracking has been integrated. Want to know more? Read about it in this posting.
For some time now Microsoft has released the latest version (6.0.6278.6) of this Management Pack. It is meant for monitoring, reporting and tracking on line-of-business (LOB) application service level compliance. It displays the performance and availability of these LOBs against their Service Level Agreements (SLAs). An executive overview can be found here.

This overview is very important since it contains a diagram about the workings of this MP. Without a proper understanding of it, there is a great change this MP will deliver a wrong view upon the LOBs against their SLAs thus delivering wrong information!

In order for this to work a set of components have to be created into OpsMgr:

  1. SLA
    This action happens outside OpsMgr, but it is the most important one since the SLA for the LOB has to be defined. This information will be used by OpsMgr

  2. Web Application Monitors & Synthetic Transactions
    Watcher nodes have to be deployed and to configured in order to perform synthetic transactions such as connecting to the Web site and log on with a special account, starting a (bogus) transaction and logging off. Another example is querying the related database(s). The Web Application runs on the watcher node and uses the synthetic transactions to check whether the webapplication is available and measures its perfomance.

  3. Distributed Application
    A DA has to be built which represents the LOB/service. Here the monitors mentioned in step 2 are grouped and related to each other. For every component defined in this DA the availability and performance will be measured. With a certain override the SLA levels are to be set. The same override offers also the option to group the monitored LOBs based on a logical name, titled 'Dashboard Group'. Any name can be given. This name will later on be present in the reports and can be selected while defining the parameters for this report. This way the LOBs can be logically grouped together in one report.

  4. Dashboard Reports
    With importing this MP an new set of reports will be loaded as well. These reports will work based on the defined DAs earlier on. Every report will evaluate the LOB over the given defined reporting period whether it was compliant or not with the SLA, based on the levels set for this LOB. The Dundas Gauges are available in the summary reports and enable the viewer with a single glance to know whether or not the SLAs are met. Ofcourse all of these reports offer hotlinks so one can drill down to a certain aspect of it.


The ease of the usage of the MP can cause one to overlook the hardest part: defining the SLA and translating it in OpsMgr to a DA. But when this has been done properly the IT Management will find they have a good and easy to use tool to monitor the SLAs of the LOBs. With this MP it leverages OpsMGr to a new level of 'awareness'. It shows the dedication of Microsoft of making OpsMgr to a success and THE monitoring tool for today and tomorrow. In OpsMgr R2 this MP becomes an integrated part and as such will even be more better and easier in its usage. A must have for organizations dealing with LOBs, SLAs.



Image 1: (Example of a Web Application Monitor)


Image 2: (Example of a DA based on the new DA template with added components)

Image 3: (Setting the SLAs specifics for this LOB and defining a logical name)


Image 4: (Checking out whether the override has done it's work. Can take up to 15 minutes)


Image 5: (Running a summary report. Check out the Dundas Gauges!)

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