Friday, July 31, 2009

OpsMgr and empty reports – Part 2 – Tips & Tricks

Postings in the same series:
Part I   – The Introduction.
Part III – Targeted Reports 
Part IV – Examples for Disk Reports
Part V  – Scheduling / Publishing Reports and some tricks

This posting will give advise in order to get filled reports. Some of it will be very obvious but sometimes the most obvious is ignored. Therefore sometimes it will be like ‘Duh! Like I Didn’t Know That!’ but please bear with me.

1: Report Details Pane: Read it!
The Report Pane is divided in five sections. Four of them are important for the reports: On the top left there is the Report Tree, based on the imported MPs (that is when the MP contains reports). On the right side is the Actions Pane. In the middle top section are the available reports per imported and selected MP shown. The section on the bottom is called Report Details.

And this section is the most neglected one, while it contains very useful information about the selected report. Not only what type of information the report shows, but also what the report needs in order to get filled and also what type of objects need to be selected. Let’s take a look at this screenshot, taken from the Windows Server 2003 Operating System MP, report ‘Disk Performance Analysis’:
There is a Summary to be found, describing how the report works, the header ‘How to use this report?’ what objects to select, the header ‘What parameters are offered?’ tells how many parameters are available in this report and the last header ‘Configuration’ tells what needs to be in place in order to get a filled report.

Not every report shows all these headers. Besides that sometimes not all the displayed information is complete, but at least it gives you the direction where to look.

2: ‘Add Group’ vs. ‘Add Object’
When a report is selected, a new window is opened. It shows the available options for the report AKA the Parameter Area. Here one has to select the group or object(s) which the report has to run against.

But beware. There is a significant difference between both options. Where 'Add Object' option just adds an object - nothing less and nothing more -, the 'Add Group' option adds all contained classes (= objects) within that group.

Take a look at these examples.

First I choose as object a server (normally a server isn’t selected as an object but I do it here to make a point), SRV01. Here only the server object will be chosen. Look at the column 'Include'. Is states that it only contains the object SRV01. Nothing more.
When running a report, it ends up empty:

However, when I select the ‘Add Group’ option, and select the same server as well (SRV01), it will also add all contained classes (=objects) by that group:
When running a report, it will be filled:

When running a Report it is better to use the ‘Add Group’ option and select the server(s) with the Object Class ‘Windows Computer’. This way the report will most of the times be filled because Windows Computer has a parent relationship to almost all other classes, also the class needed to get a filled report.

3: Using the Microsoft Generic Report Library
Default in OpsMgr there is the ‘Microsoft Generic Report Library’ available. These reports are easily to be customized to the organizational needs & requirements.

Cameron Fuller has written a very good article about how to create a Free disk space report. Of course other counters and performance objects can be selected as well.

Take some time to experiment with it since it is certainly worthwhile the time taken for it.


Bob Panick said...

Thank you I've known that you had to use Groups most of the time rather than Objects but I never got an explanation of why.

This would have been much clearer if they had used a different term like Parent. Granted Parent isn't great either, but Group just isn't what I thought it would be.

Marnix Wolf said...

Hi Bob.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

With software like OpsMgr, it is all about semantics. So certain names have to be chosen. I am glad with OpsMgr R2 since Microsoft has become more consistent with the namingscheme. In OpsMgr RTM/SP1 one could find many times the word OBJECT while they meant CLASS.

As goes for the name GROUP it can be hard to understand, more over when one knows how groups are used within OpsMgr.

PFE Steven Rachui has written a good article about targeting where he also explains how a group is used within OpsMgr.

It took me a while to grasp the idea behind it though. But articles like that really do make a difference.

Check here:

Best regards,

Marnix Wolf said...

Hi Bob.

Another thing is the way OpsMgr conducts it's monitoring. It is all built on the Health Model.

The Health Model can looked upon as a selection of nodes, where the top node (Entity) is the most generic one.

The deeper one goes, the more specific a node becomes like: Computer > Windows Computer > Windows 2008 Server Computer.

Also in this Health Model everything relates to each other and health rolls up. So - for instance - when a disk of a monitored server ends up full, it will generate a critical error. This status will rollup the chain, to the toplevel node.

Whem you want to know more about the HealthModel and how things relate to each other (you will gain a deeper insight of how OpsMgr functions) check out this posting of mine:

Best regards,