Tuesday, January 5, 2010

DNS MP: Where are my reports? Part II: Lets build a report…

Postings in the same series:
Part   I: Found them but they turn up empty…
Part III: DNS Performance Report

As stated in the previous blog posting of this series, when running and monitoring DNS Servers based on Windows 2008 (or Windows 2003 for that matter) the reports included with the DNS 2000 MP will not work. So it is time for some work of your own.

Just describing what to do (go here, click there…) to get such a report would only tell a part of the story, not everything since HOW does one find the right objects/groups to select in order to get a report which makes sense? When one knows that it is a whole lot easier to create other useful – not DNS related reports – as well thus using the Data Warehouse to a better extend.

So first I will write about how to explore an imported MP and how to use the collected information by that same MP in a report. I will use the DNS MP as an example but as stated before, the same trick can be used on any imported MP. Just test it and have fun with it. It is certainly worth while the time!

Again, Boris Yanushpolsky’s tool MP Viewer comes in handy here. Start this tool, open the related MP (the DNS 2008 MP in this example) and go the node Groups. This node displays the Groups defined in this MP:

As you can see there are some groups defined in this MP. Nice! Why? As you know Groups mean discoveries and discoveries mean that Classes are defined, found and logically grouped together. Classes which can be used in a Report! Of course, a report can be run against a Class (aka Object) but this will give you an almost empty report since it displays only that Object and not much more. It is better to run a report against a Group and filter the Classes (aka Objects) as needed since that report will contain more information.

I have lost you? Ok. Think about it like this. You go to a bakery shop and order a bread. There you will have a choice out of many kinds/shapes of bread. Like running a report against a Group. Suppose you go to the same bakery shop and order not a bread but sesame seeds. Now you will end up with just sesame seeds without any relationship with the bread. Like running a report against one Class (aka Object).

Back to the topic. Now we have a good insight of all the Groups defined in this MP, open up the OpsMgr Console, go to Authoring > Groups and lets search for a group as being shown in the MP Viewer tool. When we start with the group which is top on the list ‘DNS 2008 Conditional Forwarders’ and search for it in the Console, this is shown:

As you can see these are nested Groups: a group containing other Groups. Select a nested Group and select View Group Members, displayed in the Actions Pane on the right side of the Console. This is shown:

The most important part here is the Detail View of the screen since most of times the details which are listed here can be found back in a report! As you can see, the details here aren’t that many. So running a report against that group won’t be that good.

But what if I select another group as shown in MP Viewer, for instance ‘DNS 2008 Forward Lookup Zones’? Lets check out the Group Members here and what the details are:

Nice! This information can be used in a Report. Lets keep this window open and switch over to the Reporting Pane in the OpsMgr Console. Microsoft has delivered some very good default Reports which are – at least this is what I think – are very under estimated: Microsoft Generic Report Library. When used correctly, these reports can deliver good and useful reports without having to take a deep dive into the inner workings of SSRS.

In this case, the Custom Configuration Report is going to be used. Open that Report and select Add Group. Select ‘DNS 2008 Forward Lookup Zones’.  When that is selected, open the Window showing the details of that very same group. Notice that the Details shown for that Group are to be found back in Report Fields selection screen of the Report you are about to create: 

Select the Report Fields for this report in such a manner that they match with the details as shown in the Group Membership window. Select only those details which contain information since empty report fields make a report look stupid. Select a start date for the report and run it:

You can Publish this report as stated in this blog posting of mine (steps 1, 4 to 7). Now it looks like this:

You can run the same kind of report for the Reverse Lookup Zones. Next posting will be about how to create a report about DNS Performance. This way Reporting for DNS covers the configuration and performance.

1 comment:

Dominique said...


When running the Reverse Lookup Zone it comes empty !!!
The Forward was filled up...