Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CEIP, ODR and the lot. What are they and why should I use them? Part I: ODR explained

Postings in the same series:
Part  II: CEIP explained 
Part III: AEM explained, its origin
Part IV: AEM explained, how to configure it

Many companies do have questions about CEIP (Customer Experience Improvement Program) and ODR (Operational Data Reports). With the most recent update of the core MPs for SCOM R2 the ODR reports have been extended as well. So it is a good time to write a couple of blog postings on these topics.

The first posting will be about ODR, what it is, how it operates and why to use it. Also there is one small caveat (a bit far fetched one as well) to reckon with. When that is properly taken care of, there is not a good reason why NOT to use ODR and helping Microsoft to make SCOM (R2) a better product.

First of all, ODR is an abbreviation of Operational Data Reports. These reports gather a summary about  the SCOM (R2) usage related to the Management Group. These reports are used by Microsoft to improve the quality of the Management Packs and SCOM in general. In order for this to work, Reporting must be installed and running. These reports are sent out in xml-format to Microsoft on a weekly basis when ODR is enabled.

Very important to know as well, the data is anonymous.

So no usernames are sent out nor specific information about your company. But wait. Here is the one and only caveat. Suppose your company is preparing a mercer with another company. And you, being the SCOM Admin and Guru are instructed to monitor some applications/services of the other company. So you install a SCOM Gateway Server and start monitoring as instructed. Now some additional hand made MPs are needed. When you name these MPs like ‘MP to monitor Company B with whom we are going to merge’, the name of this MP will appear in the ODR report.

I know, it is a long shot, but it could happen. So keep the names of the MPs you have made yourself in a tight naming format without exposing sensitive information. This is not so difficult at all.

OK, lets take a look at the ODR Reports themselves. Run them one by one in order to see what goes out. These reports are based on SCOM R2 and the latest SCOM R2 Core MPs. The names of the reports themselves are self explanatory:
The Report Alerts Per Day is new here. The name tells it all.

Also the Report Details Pane tells you more what a Report shows:

Actually, these Reports are very easy to run since all needed parameters are pre-defined. Even the start date (default is today – 7 days) and end date (default the day on which the report is run) are already set. So just double clicking a Report is enough to get it filled.

Just run the Reports your self in order to get a better insight and feeling about what is being sent out to Microsoft. By default this happens on a Saturday at 10:00 PM. For most companies this is a timeframe where not many people nor processes are being disturbed in any kind of way.

Still in doubt? Then read the Privacy Statement by Microsoft about these ODR Reports.

But how to enable these ODR Reports? Normally during the installation of SCOM (R2) Reporting this is already asked for. Many times I see customers not enabling it:

So how to enable it afterwards? Easily done. Start the SCOM R2 Console with sufficient permissions (on W2K08 servers it is better to start the SCOM R2 Console with elevated permissions since changing the setting of the ODR Reports involves a registry change).

Go to Administration > Settings > Privacy. Double click on it and go to the second tab, Operational Data Reports:

Select the option Yes, send operation data reports to Microsoft (recommended) and click Apply.

On Windows 2008 (R2) servers this error might pop up:

UAC is at play here. So close the SCOM R2 Console and run it with Administrator privileges
(of course, the admin account needs Admin access within SCOM as well…), and now all goes well:

Click OK. Now all ODR Reports will run once a week and will be sent out to Microsoft. Thank you so much for making SCOM (R2) a better product. :)


John Bradshaw said...

Thx Marnix, I didn't even know of this function in SCOM.

Marnix Wolf said...

Hi John.

SCOM has many suprises... :)

Unknown said...

Thanx Marnix, good info.