Sometimes organizations tend to think that implementing SCOM is the most important phase and covers it all or at least 80% of it. Just some more work to be done but nothing special. Actually, that’s not true.
01 – Basic Monitoring
The implementation of SCOM itself is a straight forward process. Of course, whether or not Gateway Servers are required, monitoring of non-Windows based servers, making the SCOM environment itself high available can make it a bit more of a challenge. But still, at the end one gets a SCOM environment which covers the basics. And now another process kicks in, CONNECTING SCOM to the organization.
02 – Permissions and Notifications
Connecting SCOM to the organization starts out easy: Creating User Roles, related View and permissions. What is one allowed to do, see and act upon in certain Role, like DBA for instance? Also deciding what Alert gets out (as an e-mail message for instance, aka the Notification Model) to whom and when, is configured in this phase. Besides that tuning starts as well. What Alerts are OK and what Alerts require additional tuning?
This is an ongoing process which can take up considerable time when the SCOM environment is freshly installed or a MP gets an update. Afterwards, the time required for this tuning takes up an hour per week when performed by well trained staff.
Phases 1 and 2 are still – IMHO – the basics of SCOM. When these phases are covered, one has basic monitoring in place. And for many organizations this is a good starting point to evolve to the next level, Extended Monitoring, also referred to in this posting as the extended layer.
03 – Extension 1
In this phase additional MPs are loaded and configured, like MPs for covering Oracle, BlackBerry Enterprise Servers, extensive network monitoring. Also additional dashboards are created by using the Visio Add-in or 3rd party Software like Savision LiveMaps, with or without SharePoint Integration. And on top of it all, customized Reports are created. Reports which really have added value to your organization.
As you can see, in this phase the first steps are made in order to close the gap between SCOM and the organization. And also notice SCOM is the one who is closing the gap, and not the organization. Basically the technology is adjusting itself to adapt itself more into the organization.
04 – Extension 2
In this phase applications, which are business critical to your organization are being covered by SCOM. Some on a component per component basis, others E2E (end-to-end). But it doesn’t stop here. These applications also need some means of visualization, like comprehensive dashboards (Quality level: Single-Glance-and-You-Know-It) and some good reports (availability, performance, SLAs and the lot).
This can be a process which takes up some time. First of all you must know what to monitor, how to monitor it, where to monitor it. Then you must look into SCOM. Are the Objects already there or are additional MPs required? Or is some basic or deep MP authoring required? What kind of Reports are required? Does SCOM cover those or is additional Report Authoring required? And when chains of Objects are to be put together, does a couple of DAs cover it or we need many DA’s? And how to tie them together in order to make sense and to represent the application which requires monitoring?
Basically, phase 4 repeats itself per application. And per application it can be covered in a few days up to a few weeks depending on how the application is build (web server, front- and backend, client-, server application), what building blocks does the application use (Windows only (haven’t seen that a lot), or other mainstream building blocks like Oracle, Unix, Java and the lot) and what the requirements are.
But the more you find yourself in Phase 4, the more SCOM enters the organization and is tied into it. Dashboards are to be found not only at the desks of the system engineers, but also at the desks of the application owners, service managers and ICT managers as well. Reports flow on a regular basis to the stake holders so they know about their ICT environment all there is to know.
When you find your self at Level 1 or 2, take your time to complete those levels before you step to level 3 or 4. Because like a house, without any solid foundations, one can’t build anything good on top of it.