MP to be downloaded from here.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Azure MP makes no difference here. And not just that, the guide needed a bit extra attention as well in order to get the monitoring of your Windows Azure based applications correct.
Microsoft has acknowledged that and has published a new version of the guide related to that MP. On top of it all, Brian Wren has written about this MP in more detail.
- Want to know more about what Brian Wren has posted? Go here.
- Want to take a look at the newest version of the guide related to the Windows Azure Application Monitoring MP? Go here.
Hope this helps, since a much respected colleague of mine needed some time to get it all running. And he really knows his stuff.
Actually it is a much welcomed feature which has been added to SCOM R2 with CU#3. So a Cumulative Update for SCOM R2 does contain a lot more than ‘just’ some hotfixes for SCOM R2. Nice!
What the Parameter Replacement in Web Applications does? (Taken directly from Brian Wren's blog)
‘…it allows you to pick up a piece of information from the body of one request and then use it to replace a parameter in other requests in a web application…’
‘… there were applications that you really couldn’t monitor because they require data in their query strings that are dynamically created. You have no way of knowing what their value is going to be until the first request runs. Since the Web Application template had no way of doing that, you were left writing a custom script. Now you can record or manually create the web application and then modify the requests to perform exactly this functionality…’
OK. Now I understand. But how do I use it? Is there anywhere a sample to be found along with more details?
Yes, there is, go here and read all about it.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Good information for anyone who wants to know the nuts and bolts of the SCOM security model. Also good to understand since it is visualized, like this:
But how many Consoles (UI or Web) and PS with the SCOM extensions can one run simultaneously before the RMS is starting to sweat?
Good question! In order to answer that we have to take a look first at what number Microsoft supports. This website tells one how much load a single Management Group (MG) can take, also how many simultaneous Operation consoles:
Wow! So my MG can take that all? Nice! But wait just a minute here. This number is not only the maximum as supported by Microsoft, it also based on the best practices on how to configure your MG. So when you run a MG based on a single-server solution (SQL and RMS run on the same server and all Agents report to that server) - only to be advised in lab environments - it is very likely (duh!) that the number of simultaneous running SDK connections is far less.
Also how much load the RMS takes has to be taken into account. Is it a virtual or physical server? Is it a dedicated server (I do hope so)? Does the RMS also have Agents reporting to it or is the RMS purely dedicated to the MG? And how is the environment tuned? Are all MPs imported without RTFM? Or are only the required MPs imported AND properly configured? Also, is the MG up-to-specs? Are the latest SP/CUs/MPs in place?
As you can see, it is not easy to tell how many simultaneous Operation consoles your MG can take before it begins to sweat. When you know your environment, it is basically YOU who knows best.
But think about this situation: YOU know how many simultaneous Operation consoles your RMS can take. So you have instructed your team about it. But wouldn’t it be nice to be alerted in advance before that number is exceeded? So there is time available to act?
But looking at it all day isn’t a job one is waiting for, is it? So it’s time for another approach. This posting will show you how to build such a Monitor, directly from the SCOM R2 Console itself. So you get Alerts like these:
(Please, don’t comment on the other Alerts, since this is just one of the many test environments I run :) )
No fancy MP Authoring required here. Almost Next > Next > Finish :). So let’s start!
- Go to Authoring > Authoring > Management Pack Objects > Monitors > right click > Create a Monitor > Unit Monitor > Windows Performance Counters > Static Threshold > Single Threshold > Simple Threshold
- Under the option Select Destination Management Pack, click the button New > give the new MP a good name like SDK Connections MP > Next > Create
- Give the monitor a good name, like Simultaneous Running Operation Consoles Monitor and a good description (like: This Monitor checks the amount of simultaneously running Operations Console connections and Alerts when the maximum number, valid for this Management Group and its setup, has been exceeded.) > select as Monitor Target Root Management Server and as Parent Monitor (where the new Unit Monitor rolls up to) Performance. Now you have a screen looking like this:
In scenario’s like these you normally disable the Monitor and enable – after creation of the Monitor - it through an override. This is an exception however, since the target is already set at a granular level: the Root Management Server (RMS), so in this case one does not have to disable the monitor. (Yeah I know, there are other reasons as well but I want to keep this posting a bit simple…)
- Next > hit the button Select > now the screen Select Performance Counter is opened. As Computer, select the RMS and as Object select OpsMgr SDK Service > in the Select counter from list part of the screen select Client Connections and click OK
When back in the main screen select the option Include all instances for the selected counter and set the interval to 10 minutes.
Now you have a screen looking like this:
- Set the threshold value. In this example I have set it to ‘2’ which is in normal conditions far too less. Also, when the maximum number of your MG lies around 30, set the threshold at 25. So there is still time left to act when the Alert gets in:
- Leave this screen as it is, since it’s just right :) > Next
- In this screen select the option Generate alerts for this monitor. As Alert Name adjust it to a more proper name like: ‘Too many simultaneous running Operation Consoles connections’. For Alert Description select this string: ‘The maximum allowed amount of Operations Console Connections (2 or less) has been exceeded! A total of $Data/Context/Value$ Console Connections has been made!’. Now you have a screen looking like this:
Set the Priority and Severity levels as required > hit Create.
- The MP will created now and will be running soon. When the maximum amount of simultaneous running Operation Consoles connections has been exceeded, the SCOM Console will show this error:
So now SCOM will Alert you in time! Nice isn’t it?
Normally there are always a few SDK connections active, like the SDK Service running on the RMS itself. So when a number of five is shown, it does not mean there are FIVE Operations Consoles running…
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The OpsMgr Support Team Blog posted a solution when an exception is thrown while importing the Red Hat Linux Management Pack (taken directly from their website):
Before deploying the agents you need to import the respective Red Hat Linux Management Pack but when you attempt to do this the process fails with an exception upon import:
An exception was thrown while processing ImportManagementPack for session id uuid:eff4da8a-fd0f-4607-9c63-5300f4733ee0;id=2.
Full exception detail:
Could not load ManagementPack [ID=Microsoft.SystemCenter.WSManagement.Library, Keytoken=31bf3856ad364e35, Version=6.1.7221.30].
Cause and resolution are found here.
MP to be downloaded from here.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Taken directly from his blog (and edited a bit):
Have you ever been troubleshooting a problem with remote SQL (proxy MP, remote DB, etc) and wanted to test to see if the local system account (or any account for that matter) could make a remote connection to SQL but you didn’t want to install the SQL tools just to make that test? Seems there is a file type – UDL file – that you can simply create that will bring up a window to allow testing of remote connections to SQL.
- Just go anywhere on your system and create an empty text file named anything;
- Instead of the extension .txt make sure the extension is UDL;
- Then, double-click on the file and up pops a SQL connectivity window to allow testing of remote SQL connections!
Thanks Steve for sharing! Much appreciated!
But those days are over! Microsoft has published good information about that and other SCOM R2 custom reporting as well:
- Custom Reporting Overview;
- Setting Up the Environment;
- Creating Custom Reports;
- Data Warehouse Schema;
- Inside a Generic Report;
- Custom Report Queries.
Want to know more? Go here.
Monday, December 13, 2010
No more crappy MPs from Dell. Nice! This posting is about the MP, what’s new and what’s changed. So let’s start.
Stupid to mention perhaps, but don’t forget to unblock the downloaded executable file when you are running Vista, W7 or W2K08. Otherwise you might end up with strange errors while trying to unpack the file :).
The package contains 11 files all together: four of them are text files and seven of them are MPs. Compared to the previous version an extra MP (sorry, Dell refers to it as a utility) has been added. Unfortunately, the pdf file (present in the previous version of the MP) has been removed and replaced by text files instead. Good for the information these files contain, bad for the level of readability.
The four MPs are:
- Dell Windows Server Scalable Management Pack
(Dell.WindowsServer.Scalable.mp) For a light weight scalable server discovery and monitoring of Dell Systems;
- Dell Windows Server Detailed Management Pack
(Dell.WindowsServer.Detailed.mp) For a detailed discovery and monitoring of Dell Servers and its components;
- Dell Remote Access Controller Management Pack
(Dell.OutOfBand.DRAC.mp) For discovery, monitoring and trap processing of Dell Remote Access 4, Dell Remote Access Controller 5 and Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller 6;
- Dell Chassis Management Controller Management Pack
(Dell.OutOfBand.CMC.mp) For discovery, monitoring, and trap processing of Chassis Management Controllers and Dell Modular Chassis Remote Access Controllers.
The three utilities are:
- Dell Base folder utility
(Dell.Connections.HardwareLibrary.mp) For the basic folder structure and Root node.
- Dell Overrides utility
(Dell.WindowsServer.InformationAlertsOn.mp) for turning ON the Informational Alerts provided in the Dell Windows Server Scalable Management Pack.
Its advised to keep this MP away from SCOM, unless you love to get informational Alerts…
- Dell Chassis Blade Correlation utility (this is the newly added MP, sorry utility :) )
(Dell.ChassisBlade.Correlation.mp) For turning ON the correlation of CMC and DRAC/MC chassis with discovered modular server blades.
Requirements – Dell servers:
(All these requirements are found in the text file ‘DellMPv41_Server_Readme.txt’)
- On the servers Dell OMSA (OpenManage Server Administrator) needs to be installed, version 5.5 to 6.4 is supported (when a version lesser than 22.214.171.124 is installed, only basic monitoring of Network Interfaces is enabled for thesystem. Also, Performance statistics will not be available for
- When monitoring DRAC: the DRAC Agent needs to be installed as well.
Requirements – OpsMgr Servers: (Only needed when running certain Dell Tasks from the OpsMgr Console)
- BMC Management Utility version 2.0 or higher needs to be installed.
Support – Dell systems:
- All Dell systems supported by OMSA (version 5.5 to 6.4) are supported by this MP as well.
Support – Windows Server OS:
Wh00t! Windows 2008 R2 is now officially supported.
- W2K03 SP2 up to W2K08 R2
Mostly the default authorizations will suffice. For these two options Power User or Administrator permissions are needed:
- Dell Monolithic Server-In-Band DRAC Discovery & Console Launch;
- Clearing ESM Log (can also be done by supplying alternative credentials).
- Even though I have said it many times before, RTM is key here;
- Also test the MP first before putting it into production;
- Be careful with the DRAC and CMS MPs. These rely on SNMP and as we all know, the SNMP module of SCOM isn’t very robust nor scalable. So when using those MPs, distribute the load by using Proxies;
- Start small by only importing the Dell.Connections.HardwareLibrary.mp and the Dell.WindowsServer.Scalable.mp. Go from there, tune it and import later the other MPs (when required);
- Reports are still lacking in this version of the MP, so go here when you need additional Reports about your Dell servers. This should work in this version of the MP as well;
- The discovery of the new Dell servers (Dell.WindowsServer.Scalable.mp) runs too frequent (once per 24 hours). Only when you add many Dell servers per week, this viable, otherwise override these Discoveries so they run only once a week (604800 seconds);
- Same goes for the Detailed MP (Dell.WindowsServer.Detailed.mp). I would change them as well to run once a week. The discovery which runs every six hours ( 21600 seconds) can be changed as well, like running every 24 hours or 3 days for instance.
Since I haven’t tested the MP yet, its too early to make any real statement. However, the set of MPs looks promising, just like the previous version. Already I got some feedback stating that the Discovery issues has been solved indeed.
The approach where the MP is broken down into a set of components is a choice which I still highly appreciate. One can choose what to MPs to load and configure and what MPs to skip. So its good to see that Dell is still committed to this approach, introduced with the previous version.
The new MP (Dell Chassis Blade Correlation utility) adds additional functionality to the MP and monitoring of Dell hardware as a whole. Again, one can choose to add this MP or leave it.
Please let me know about your experiences. When you’re OK with it I will put them on my blog, referring to its source (of course).
Friday, December 10, 2010
Besides a fix for the Discovery issue(!) it contains these improvements:
- Support for OpenManage events up to version 6.4;
- Management of physical and teamed Network Interfaces for Broadcom and Intel NICs;
- Enriched monitoring of Network Interfaces on OpenManage Server Administrator versions greater than and equal to 126.96.36.199, along with basic monitoring on OMSA versions below 188.8.131.52;
- Performance monitoring of Network Interfaces on OpenManage Server Administrator versions greater than 184.108.40.206;
- Discovery of vflash card and monitoring of iDRAC network interfaces;
- Realistic icons for the various components in Diagram View for the Dell Monolithic and Modular Systems;
- Representation of Server Modules and Chassis Slots Summary under Dell Chassis Management Controllers and Dell Modular Chassis Remote Access Controllers;
- Correlation of the Server Modules under Dell Chassis Management Controllers/Dell Modular Chassis Remote Access Controllers with Dell Windows Servers on System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2.
MP can be downloaded from here.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
So Microsoft is not only upgrading the infrastructure of SCOM (OpsMgr vNext) but is also working on the MPs themselves. In order to do that, input from YOU is needed. So let’s help making the ‘blood’ of SCOM better!
Go here, log on and let them know what you think about the MPs.
I can tell you that Microsoft listens and cares.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The MP uses Outlook and when that’s not available it will use SMTP instead.
MP to be found on System Center Central. One needs to subscribe (for free) in order to download the MP.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
However, this service is very important for the SCOM R2 Management Group as a whole. So it is better to override this Monitor (Enabled > True) in order to enable it. And don’t forget to store this override in a MP of its own.
I have read the guide related to this MP but I haven’t found anything why this has been done.
Another thing one can choose for is to enable a Recovery action for this monitor. By default it is not enabled. Open the Overrides tab for this Monitor, select the option Recovery > Start Management Configuration Service. Click the button Overrides > For all objects of Class: Root Management Server > and set Enabled to True, don’t forget to store this override in a MP of its own.
Monday, December 6, 2010
For one thing, it does not monitor the individual printers. Secondly, it’s a converted MOM 2005 MP. When SCOM 2007 just hit RTM many MPs were like that. But hey, we are now at the end of 2010 and therefore I do not see any reason why this particular MP is still a converted one. In order to unleash the real power of SCOM a MP requires to be fully native. The ‘latest’ version comes from the 25th of August 2008…
So this MP lacks much functionality like for instance monitoring Print Servers based on Windows Server 2008 R2. Gladly Kevin Holman has solved it by writing (and sharing) an addendum MP, which discovers those instances and monitors them as well. Addendum MP to be found here.
Another thing which this MP misses out on is the monitoring of individual printers. Gladly Steve Rachui has written a MP which does just that. This MP doesn’t really need the Printer Server MP. The MP Steve has made shows this View in the SCOM Console:
This is really more like it! Because it is a native SCOM MP, its built in 2010 AND it monitors individual printers! Wh00t!
MP to be downloaded from here.
Thanks Steve for your efforts AND sharing it! Much appreciated.
One thing keeps on nagging me in the back of my mind: When does the Print Server Team pick up the efforts from Steve and Kevin, ditch the old MP and bring out a NEW NATIVE MP? But perhaps I am asking too much now….
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thanks Charles for sharing!
He is the one who created those Stencils and has updated them. Now these stencils contain TWICE as much icons! Wow! Some screen dumps:
And that’s not all! No way! He has a collection of Visio Stencils which are very handy and a MUST have for any one who needs to design an IT environment. These are the free downloadable Visio Stencils Jonathon Cusson offers on his website:
Go here and get them!!!
All credits go to Jonathon Cusson. Thank you for your time, efforts and sharing! A job well done!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Postings in the same series:
Part I – The Next Generation of SCOM
Part II – Holistic View of Application Health
Part III – Network Monitoring
In the fourth and last posting of this series I will describe another new feature in OpsMgr vNext, the Topology Simplification. On top of it all the timeline, set for this newest version of OpsMgr will be shown alongside a total wrap up of the total session presented at Tech-Ed.
In one of mine blog postings I compared the today’s hierarchy of SCOM (SP1/R2) with NT4:
‘…One can look upon the OpsMgr hierarchy as Windows NT4. Here one had a Primary Domain Controller (PDC) with a writable SAM and one or more Backup Domain Controllers (BDCs) with a read-only copy of the SAM. And no matter from what location the User Manager or Server Manager was being run, it always connected to the PDC since that server contained the only writable SAM. Any adjustment was done there and then replicated to the BDCs. The RMS is just the PDC of OpsMgr and the Management Servers are the BDCs. So the RMS maintains the OpsMgr Management Group in every kind of way. Importing MPs? Done there. Adjusting MPs? Done there. (Web) Console connections? Authorizations? Notifications? Setting permissions? Scoping Views? Deleting objects? Setting Overrides? Yep! The RMS does it all. All changes are being put into the OpsMgr related DBs and replicated to the Management Servers…’.
Well, the NT4 days are history, so it’s time to throw out the RMS! Why? Because it is a SPoF (Single Point of Failure). Say what? The RMS can be clustered? Yes, you are right. But personally I don’t like that kind of setup since it is prone to errors, especially when an update like a CU has to be applied. And when a clustered RMS breaks down, it can take a lot of time and energy to get it right again.
Microsoft got much response from their customers and MVPs about the RMS and its SPoF ‘capabilities’. And again, they LISTENED!
With OpsMgr vNext the RMS won’t be there anymore. All OpsMgr vNext Management Servers will be running the SDK and Config service, alongside the Health Service! Also an additional database has been added: the Config DB, which is OPTIONAL and advised to be used in REALLY LARGE OpsMgr vNext environments with a huge config space!
How does OpsMgr vNext function without the RMS? Lets take a look at these pictures:
As you can see, all OpsMgr vNext servers are connected to all three OpsMgr related DBs. On all three Management Servers the three OpsMgr services are running. And every single Management Server has a certain set of managed (monitored) items ‘talking’ to it: the MS on the left has a Gateway Server talking to it, the MS in the middle manages a set of servers and the MS on the right monitors network devices and Windows Azure.
So that’s good news: load distribution, however nothing new compared to today’s situation with OpsMgr.
But wait just a minute! Suppose the MS in the middle dies. Now what? The servers reporting to that MS aren’t monitored anymore? That’s bad! With OpsMgr as it is today we had a single SPoF and with OpsMgr vNext we have multiple SPoFs?
Gladly Microsoft thought this one over and introduced a new concept in OpsMgr vNext in order to address that issue: an OpsMgr vNext Server Pool. Without it one would experience the above mentioned issue where a single instance of a Health Service run by an OpsMgr Management Server monitors a set of devices, and when that Management Server dies, so does the monitoring of those devices.
But take a look at this picture where a POOL is being used. A Pool is nothing more of a logical grouping of multiple Health Service instances. So instead of a set of monitored devices being managed by a single instance of a Health Service, running on a single Management Server, these devices are being managed by a set of multiple Health Services, hosted by multiple Management Servers:
And when the Management Server on the left dies, the other Health Services in the Pool will automatically take over the devices which were being managed by that broken Management Server! Wow! Sweet!
And these Pools aren’t limited to MS only! No way. One can also create Pools for Agents. Why should one do that? Imagine you use certain monitored servers as Proxies for OpsMgr vNext in order to monitor Windows Azure or a set of websites. When the server hosting that OpsMgr vNext Agent dies, the additional monitoring being run by that same server (as a Proxy) would come to an end as well.
When using a set of Agents in a Pool, that would not happen and monitoring of those Azure based apps and websites would be taken over by one or more Agents in that same pool!
So the SPoFs are really gone in OpsMgr vNext! That’s really a HUGE improvement!
Java EE (J2E) Web Service Monitoring:
Like WebSphere/WebLogic/JBOSS/Tomcat on Windows. In telegram style: Investments made on .NET side are also made on J2E server side. Demonstration about the first beta version was given. The way it is presented in the OpsMgr vNext Consoles is the same across all monitored objects in OpsMgr vNext. Same user experience like monitoring other applications and services. Nice!
Many third parties write MPs for OpsMgr. However with OpsMgr as it is today, it is a challenge for them to get a real native MP which means the MP is fully integrated into OpsMgr without the need for additional layers of software, installed alongside or even separate servers.
With OpsMgr vNext Microsoft addresses this issue so Partners are enabled to author native MPs by providing a standard, simple, reliable and consistent way to build their rich solutions on top of OpsMgr vNext.
Total Wrap Up:
Wow! OpsMgr vNext is really something new. Not just a rebranding of the name has been done. No way! OpsMgr vNext has much to offer, compared to today’s version of OpsMgr (R2 with CU#3). Many things have been altered, adjusted, improved, added and enriched.
Sometimes I get questions out of the field about the upgrade path to OpsMgr vNext or that it is going to be the same like the move from MOM 2005 to SCOM 2007. In that scenario an upgrade wasn’t possible. One had to install SCOM 2007 alongside MOM 2005.
Good news is that OpsMgr vNext allows for an upgrade path from OpsMgr R2 CU#3 to OpsMgr vNext. As Microsoft puts it: ‘It will be a Seamless Experience’. Also custom made MPs will migrate from OpsMgr R2 CU3 to OpsMgr vNext. Only small scenario's based on PS and SDK will not work right away, because of some DB Schema updates, but MPs and DA's should just work. When it doesn't Microsoft wants to know!!!
So OpsMgr vNext has much to offer, like:
- Revamped Network Monitoring;
- 360 degree Monitoring of Applications;
- Removing the RMS and introducing Pools thus removing SPoFs completely;
- Adding monitoring of J2E;
- Adding monitoring of .NET based applications, based on the AVICode aquisition;
- Better ways for Partners to develop native MPs.
Personally I think this list will only grow in the months to come. In Q2 of 2011 the first public beta will be available, from that moment on we can see what additional features have been added as well.
For now Microsoft has shown its dedication to the OpsMgr product. Many things have been added, improved and enhanced. Much of it based on the input from YOU!
So whenever you bump into an issue with today’s version of SCOM do not hesitate and post it on Connect. Microsoft listens and cares! Only with the input from its end-users Microsoft is capable to develop the next generation of a product which really adds value.