Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SCOM R2 RC: Service Level Tracking

In SCOM SP1 a special MP was needed in order to check whether certain Line of Business Applications (LOBs) met there Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

This MP is called the Service Level Dashboard MP. A while ago I blogged about it, to be found here.

In SCOM R2 RC many of the options contained within that MP are available by default, eventhough it works a bit different.
On top of that, Microsoft has recently released a new (beta) version of the Service Level Dashboard MP for SCOM R2 RC. But this MP works very different compared to its predecessor, for instance it needs MOSS to operate. With this new MP new possibilities are available. In a future blogposting I will tell more about it.
This blogposting will be about the SLA monitoring capabilities which are by default available in SCOM R2 RC.

So let's start.

First of all, let's get familiarized with the terminology: when a company wants to know whether their LOBs are in conjunction with the SLAs, they set certain Service Level Goals. SCOM refers to these as Service Level Objectives or SLOs.

SLOs come in two different kinds: the Monitor State and the Collection Rule. The first checks the availability of a LOB. The second SLO checks its perfomance. Together they deliver the means to check whether a LOB lived up to it's SLA.

Of course, one needs a target for these SLO's. And here comes one of the differences with the earlier mentioned Service Level Dashboard MP: one can target a DA but also a group, lets say certain IIS servers. In the MP one needed to build a DA based on a special template. In SCOM R2 RC this isn't needed any more. Service Level Tracking in SCOM R2 RC has become much more flexible.

So when the target is chosen and the types and values for the SLOs are known, the Service Level Tracking component (found in the Authoring Console under MP Objects) can be built:

Then the report can be run. Where as the earlier mentioned MP delivered three different reports, here only one report is available. But Less is More since this report contains all the needed information. It works very straightforward - one has only to set the time/date range and select the needed Service Level - and it can be run. The report itself is very clear. The first page displays a summary of of the SLOs for the LOB:

Of course, a drilldown is also possible:
Microsoft has integrated a much asked for part in SCOM R2 RC. It works faster than the MP needed in SCOM SP1 and is much more flexible since one is not constrained to use only DAs - based on a special template - but has the ability to target the SLOs to a group of servers (for instance).

The SLOs have become much more transparent so one has a better understanding about what is being built.

Eventhough the quantity of the reports has become less (from three in SCOM SP1 to one in SCOM R2 RC) the quality of the report has grown hugely. So Less is More!

Service Level Tracking has grown up in SCOM R2 and will most certainly become a part of SCOM with an added (and highly appreciated) value.

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