Update 2014-11-04: A good friend of mine, Oleg Kapustin, has written a posting about the Exchange MP as well. Since he’s a real good developer he has some additional insights in this MP. So for anyone using this MP, I highly recommend to read his posting as well, to be found here. Especially the part about ‘playing with the interval parameters’ is very interesting…
The first version of the Exchange Server 2013 MP…
We all know that the first version of the Exchange Server 2013 MP missed out on a lot of details. It reduced SCOM to nothing but a reporting tool since Exchange Server 2013 is expected to manage and monitor itself. So no additional monitoring by SCOM was required. It only needed to pick up the statuses and Alerts created by Exchange Server 2013 itself and that was it. And whenever something happened, Exchange would remedy itself…
In scenarios where organizations run many Exchange Servers (think about topologies with 100+ Exchange servers at least) and where are dedicated Exchange engineers available, an approach like this could work. Also self remediation could work in a scenario like this.
But how about smaller organizations, running less than 25 Exchange servers where the engineers have to keep a plethora of systems up and running, among them Exchange? So additional knowledge, like most of the SCOM Alerts contain, is very welcome.
In a situation like this the previous version of the Exchange Server 2013 MP didn’t deliver so Microsoft got a lot of criticism. Also from me…
The new version is here…
At TechEd Europe 2014 Microsoft presented the newest version of the Exchange Server MP, version 15.0.652.19. When looking at the version numbers it looks like much hasn’t changed since only the last digits are changed (the previous version was on level 15.0.652.18).
However, MUCH has changed, so the version number is not telling the whole story here . Some examples:
- Visualization (or better, eye candy)
The status of the health of the Exchange Server 2013 components is visualized in an awesome way. Clearly Microsoft has decided to use the new features of the SCOM 2012 UR#2 Console (or later versions). It gives the presentation in the SCOM Console of the different Exchange Server 2013 components almost a sexy look & feel.
When checking out this MP in MP Viewer you’ll see that there are only TWO Unit Monitors which will raise an Alert, and one Rule, which is disabled by default.
One thing to reckon with is that the Unit Monitor ‘>’ doesn’t relate to one of the default Aggregate Rollup Monitors (Availability, Configuration, Performance, Security) but has a place of it’s own:
So when building DA’s some additional tweaking is required. Use this posting of mine an be happy.
However, there is no lack of amount of Alerts. This is because Exchange Server 2013 is still monitoring itself, and SCOM picks up the events which require attention.
This way you get the best of two worlds: a single pane of glass (SCOM) and Exchange Server 2013 monitoring itself, without running those monitoring workloads twice. Future will show us whether this approach is viable. But the way it’s presented in SCOM 2012 R2 UR#2, it looks promising.
Hopefully the website of Microsoft contains good information about how to solve the issues reported by Exchange Server 2013.
The first version of the Exchange Server 2013 MP contained NO reports. Period. However, the latest version of the Exchange Server 2013 MP contains MANY reports, also about the biggest mailboxes!
In total 14 Reports are present:
For SCOM and many other Microsoft based technologies I live by the credo RTFM. Where the previous version of the Exchange Server 2013 MP didn’t contain any serious document at all, this version contains a REAL MP Guide, containing all the relevant information.
Microsoft has shown to LISTEN to its customers. Even though this MP still uses Exchange Server 2013 to monitor itself, there is much to say about this approach. Why create a duplicate burden on those servers by running the same monitoring workloads twice (Exchange itself and the related MP)?
Point is that SCOM should be the single pane of glass for the organization using it to monitor the health of their IT systems and services, whether on-prem or cloud based (Azure, AWS and so on).
For what I’ve seen and heard so far, the latest version of this MP is a huge improvement compared to the previous version. So this is good news. I really hope the website Microsoft uses for providing additional information on the Alerts and how to solve them is just as good as this MP. Future will tell.
And don’t be afraid to share your personal experiences with this MP.
SCOM 2012 R2 UR#2 (and later) only!!!
For now this MP only runs in a SCOM 2012 R2 UR#2 (or later) environment. Later on a version for SCOM 2012 SP1 UR#x will be published, date unknown so far.