Monday, August 31, 2009

‘To Agentless Monitor, or not. That is the question’

I hope Shakespeare will forgive me for (ab)using one of his most famous phrases out of Hamlet. However, above mentioned question comes and goes like a wave. Many weeks not a single question about this topic is raised and then, out of the blue, I do get multiple questions about it.

I will not go into the details since Cameron Fuller and Kerry Meyler have already done so and very well I must add. However, there is one (small) topic which needs clarification since people tend to think like this:

Agentless Monitoring = Licenseless Monitoring 

But that is not the case since every monitored system needs a license. Whether an Agent is installed or not. Want to know more about licensing? Check out this previous posting of mine.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How to remove discovered inventory in OpsMgr. (PS: Remove-DisabledMonitoringObject)

Jonathan Almquist (PFE) has written a very good article about how to remove discovered inventory from OpsMgr. Even though the article is almost a year old, it is still current. Besides that I do get questions about it on many occasions. Since Jonathan’s article covers this in all details I only refer to that article, to be found here.

All credits go to Jonathan Almquist.

How to Control the Deployment of a Management Pack

Matt Goedtel of Microsoft Consulting Services has written a document about how to control the deployment of a MP. OpsManJam has published this information. To be found here. All the information is also downloadable as a Word document, to be found here.

All credits go to Matt Goedtel.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Distributed Applications (DAs) and how to export/import them

There are many questions about how to export DA’s and carry them over to another Management Group. Also people are confused about what is carried over when exporting those DAs. So this posting will try to clear things up a little bit.

This posting won’t be about HOW to create a DA. It assumes that one already knows how to do that. If not, read some guides and then come back.

  1. Creating a DA
    For this I have chosen a blank template and added manually three components: IIS Based Website, Windows Server Computer and SQL DBs. For each component I have also added a related object: the OpsMgr Web Console website for IIS Based Website, the DC01 server for Windows Server Computer and the OperationsManager database for SQL DBs. Also I have added relationships: The Website depends on the server hosting the IIS service and the SQL database. In the DA designer it looks like this:
    This DA is contained within it’s own MP, named ‘_ShowCase MP(Again I am proud about how much fantasy I use in my naming schemes...)

    Now many people might say: “Duh! Importing a DA in another Management Group (MG) is easily done. Just export the MP containing the DA and import it into the other MG!” But think about it. The objects contained within those components of the DA are unique to the MG where the DA comes from. Every object has it’s own unique GUID which really doesn’t match with the other MG. When it does, please buy a lottery ticket and become a millionaire, since that change is way much bigger! So when that MP is imported into another MG all kinds of errors will pop up. And you don’t want that… (There are multiple other reasons as well why not to do that but it would take a whole blog to explain them all so I refrain from that).

  2. Exporting a DA as a ‘Distributed Application Definition’
    That is a whole lot of words. But what does it do exactly? It exports the current DA Definition to a MP. It removes all instances so it can be imported in to another MG. Still mumbo jumbo? Well, let’s run an export of this DA as a ‘DA Definition’ and import it. In the DA Designer window go to File > Save Distributed Application Definition. When saved this message will pop-up:
    Pages 143 and 144 of the Operations Manager 2007 R2 Operations User’s Guide tell you exactly how to prepare such a file for import. Before I import that file I remove the MP containing the whole DA, ‘_ShowCase MP’. After that I prepare the export file for import as stated in the earlier mentioned guide, import it and open the DA in the Console. This is shown:
    Do you see the difference? The components of the DA are shown, but the objects which were present in the DA in step 1 aren’t present. So in the other MG the correct objects can be selected and added to the related components.

  3. Exporting a DA as a ‘Template’
    It exports the current DA Definition to a Template. It will appear in the DA Designer as a available template. Let’s run an export of this DA as a ‘Template’ and import it. In the DA Designer window go to File > Save as Template. When saved the same message as in Step 2 will pop-up:
    Again, the earlier mentioned pages in the earlier mentioned guide tell you how to go about it in order to import this MP into OpsMgr. Before I import that file I remove the MP containing the whole DA, ‘_ShowCase MP’. After that I prepare the export file for import, import it and open the DA Designer. This is shown:

    Let’s select the highlighted template and open it in DA Designer:
    Haven’t we seen this before in Step 2? :)

Rounding up:
So when a DA is designed which needs to carried over to another MG there are two ways to go about it: to export it as a Definition or as a Template. The latter is used when the DA is going to be used multiple times. Then a Template comes in handy. However, when the DA is going to be used only one time, it is better to export it as a Definition. Always make the correct choice or you end up like the driver of this truck:

Issues with the converted Exchange 2007 MP

When one is running an OpsMgr R2 environment it is to be advised to go for the native Exchange 2007 MP. However, when running an OpsMgr SP1 environment, only the converted Exchange 2007 MP is to be used.

With this MP multiple performance and scaling issues can occur. The OpsMgr Support Team wrote a blog posting about it where they not only describes these issues, but also the causes and more important, how to troubleshoot it. Blog posting is to be found here.

Workaround: a Distributed Application doesn’t show all objects in Diagram View when sealed.

In an earlier blog posting I already wrote about a possible solution when certain objects of a DA aren’t being monitored. However, it seems that when sealing a DA other issues come into play as well. As a result the Diagram View of the sealed MP does not display all objects.

The OpsMgr Support Team has written a work around for it to address that issue. To be found here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Clustering & HA

All you ever wanted to know about it is to be found here. A huge list of all kind of resources related to Clustering and HA.

Special thanks to the members of that blog for collecting all these useful links. All credits go to them.

Installing OpsMgr R2 on Windows 2008 R2 RTM

21-09-2009 Update: Since the 18th of September Windows 2008 R2 is now officially supported. Not only as a monitored Operating System but also as a platform for any OpsMgr Server role. Want to know more? Check this posting of mine.

Out of curiosity I have installed yesterday evening/night an OpsMgr R2 environment based on Windows 2008 R2 RTM. This blog posting is about how this went and what issues I bumped into.

Also, the OpsMgr R2 environment I installed is a real All-In-One solution. One server not only hosts the SQL 2008 SP1 server and RMS but is also DC for the forest/domain (How much fantasy do I use in my naming schemes…). So this is purely a testbox setup and not to be used in any production environment.

Let’s start.

I’ll skip the part of building a forest/domain with Windows 2008 server. This is an OpsMgr blog and not a server OS blog. So when starting with the installation of SQL 2008 x64, there is already a forest/domain present.

  1. Installation of SQL 2008 x64
    When running setup.exe the first bump in the road pops up:
    OK, so SP1 for SQL 2008 must be installed. No problem since without it OpsMgr R2 won’t install either. No big deal.

    Second bump in the road:
    The firewall is enabled by default when running a clean install of W2K08 R2. So it needs some adjustments in order to work properly. For my test environment it is an All-In-One solution so I could skip it. But what the heck, I am doing this in order to learn something so I adjust the firewall as stated here which leads one to this website containing a bit outdated information but still displaying the correct information about the port numbers used by the different SQL components. These are:
    SQL - 1433

    Now the firewall (Inbound) looks like this:

    Then I resumed setup, selected the needed components and the installation of SQL finished successfully. Right afterwards I installed SP1 for it.

  2. Installation of IIS
    Nope. SRS of SQL 2008 doesn’t need it. But the Web Console does. Kevin Holman has written a good posting about it. So why invent the wheel for a second time?

  3. Installation of R2 requirements
    With R2 new features have been added. For some of these features additional components must be installed. These are WS-Management 1.1(already present) and ASP.NET AJAX 1.0. The last one installs without any problem.

  4. Installation of OpsMgr R2
    Not exciting at all. Went smooth without any bump in the road. OpsMgr DB, (Web) Console, RMS and PS got installed pretty quick. Right after that I started the installation of the Reporting component which wasn’t exciting either.

Net results.
Now it is time to start up the Consoles (Web & UI), to check the OpsMgr event log and firewall as well. Nothing exciting here as well. All is working.

  1. OpsMgr UI
    Runs like clockwork, also a Diagram View is neatly displayed.

  2. OpsMgr Webconsole
    Diagram View is always a good test case, also in the Web Console. All is well.

  3. OpsMgr Eventlog
    (Stopped the Health service, cleaned out the OpsMgr event log and restarted the Health service in order to get a clean look on it)
    Not even a single warning….

  4. Firewall, Inbound rules
    OpsMgr added the needed rules as well.

  5. Health Explorer
    As expected, none of the Server OS components is being monitored. But I already blogged about that issue. However, all OpsMgr R2 related components are being monitored AND healthy.

Additional checks before rounding up.
There is one hotfix and a SP to be applied when using OpsMgr (R2). These aren’t OpsMgr related but are meant for OS components OpsMgr uses, like SP2 for MSXML6.0 and a hotfix for .NET 2.0 SP2. (Kevin Holman blogged about this one) None of these are part of SP2 for Windows 2008 Server.

So how about Windows 2008 R2? Are these already integrated in R2 or do they need to be installed?

  1. SP2 for MSXML6.0
    Isn’t needed. The dll’s are already of a higher version than the one’s included in the hotfix package. Also won’t the hotfix run on W2K08 R2 (Yes, I used elevated permissions):

  2. Hotfix for .NET 2.0 SP2
    Not needed since .NET 2.0 isn’t present in W2K08.

OpsMgr R2, in conjunction with SQL 2008, runs on Windows 2008 R2 server without any problem at all. But – as far as I know – it isn’t supported yet. So for a lab situation it isn’t a problem, but not to be advised for production environments.

SCOM Console UI Crash in Vista SP2 x64

There is an issue with the OpsMgr Console crashing on Vista SP2 x64 systems. Microsoft has taken this matter seriously and is working on a solution. Yesterday I saw this message in the related thread on the TechNet OpsMgr Forum:

So it seems that the end of September a suite of fixes for R2 will be released which takes care of this issue as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sealed MPs vs. Unsealed MPs

Many times I do get questions out of the field about sealed MPs vs. unsealed MPs, like:
  1. Why are there sealed MPs anyway?
    It has to do with protecting intellectual property as well with assuring that the MP isn’t wrecked so it becomes a tidal wave in the monitored environment instead of the monitoring solution what it is intended to be. For instance, the native Exchange 2007 MP contains much knowledge of the Exchange team. They don’t want to put it out on the streets like that. Besides, when certain discoveries, rules or monitors are changed in the wrong way, this MP can cause real havoc in an Exchange environment. Think about all these synthetic transactions gone loose. You don’t want that. Therefore, a MP like that is sealed in order to keep it sharp and tidy. Only a certain set of discoveries, rules and monitors are allowed to be changed so the integrity of this MP is guaranteed.

  2. When I create an override I have to put into an unsealed MP. Why not use the MP where this override is meant for?
    All MPs delivered by Microsoft (and third party vendors as well for that matter) are sealed. And sealed also means locked. So nothing new gets in. However, even Microsoft can not foresee how one’s environment is exactly configured. Software isn’t like those T-Fords where one could get every color as long it was black. So Microsoft has to develop MPs which are based on average and leave room for adjustments so it can be shaped to the environment where it is being used. These adjustments are called Overrides and have to be put into a MP as well. Since a sealed MP is locked, an unsealed MP has to be used. 

  3. Why create a new unsealed MP while there is one already there, the Default MP?
    Here I say: RTFM (Read The Friendly Manual). Every guide of a MP contains a section explaining why NOT to use the default MP. Many OpsMgr specialists have written articles about it, so I won’t repeat it here. Just check out these postings from Kevin Holman and Graham Davies for instance.  

  4. How do I use unsealed MPs?
    Besides as the location to store overrides for unsealed MPs, it can also be used as a totally new MP built to monitor and/or report on objects for which other MPs aren’t available or too costly. (But designing, building, testing and putting a total new MP into production is a costly process as well, besides errors are easily made but can cause real damage like wrong scripts and so on. So be sure to know what you are doing)

  5. Is there a way to seal an unsealed MP and if so, why should I do so?
    Yes, one can seal a unsealed MP. However, sealing an unsealed MP only containing overrides is not to be advised. Sealing is only used for MPs which really monitor and/or report on certain objects/services. There are multiple sources on the internet to be found telling exactly how to go about it. Check out these postings from Microsoft TechNet and MVP David Allen. Reasons to do so will be the same as stated in Answer 1: protecting the intellectual property and assuring the integrity of the MP.

  6. What does the error ‘Unsealed Management Packs cannot be added as references. Please specify a valid Sealed management pack reference’ mean?
    An unsealed MP cannot be referenced by any other MP. Example: When one creates a new folder in the Monitoring Pane and this new folder must contain a custom made group which is put into an unsealed MP as well, both items (Folder and Group) must reside in the same unsealed MP. Otherwise this error will pop-up:
    Another way to solve it is to seal the MP containing the group. However, when sealing that MP, the group will only accept new members when this group is dynamically populated.

  7. Where is my created group gone? (It is not showed in the list of available groups when targeting an override for a self-made monitor/rule.)
    Hmm. Take a look at answer 6. Suppose one creates a group and put it into unsealed MP ‘Group’. Now an override has to made for a self-made monitor/rule contained within another unsealed MP and is targeted at a group. This override will be stored automatically into the same unsealed MP where that rule/monitor resides. When the group resides in another unsealed MP, the list showing the available groups will not show the group which is created earlier simply because ‘…an unsealed MP cannot be referenced by any other MP…’. So the only two possible solutions are putting that group in to the same MP as where the monitor/rule resides, or to seal the MP containing the group.

Monday, August 24, 2009

OpsMgr (R2) and Windows 2008 R2 RTM

21-09-2009 Update: Since the 18th of September Windows 2008 R2 is now officially supported. Not only as a monitored Operating System but also as a platform for any OpsMgr Server role. Want to know more? Check this posting of mine.

A few things on monitoring Windows 2008 R2 with OpsMgr (R2). Out of the field I do get questions about OpsMgr (R2) monitoring W2K08 R2 RTM.

  1. When will there be a MP for monitoring this version of Windows 2008 R2 RTM?
    Normally a MP comes out 60+ to 90 days after the product hit RTM. On the OpsMgr forum there is a good thread about this topic to be found. Check here.

  2. I already have some W2K08 R2 RTM servers. I cannot push an Agent to it. Why?
    By default W2K08 R2 RTM has it’s firewall enabled which blocks much (incoming) traffic. For an OpsMgr Agent push installation to be successful, many ports need to be opened and some services need to be running as well. Kevin Holman has blogged about it, found here.

  3. What and what not will be monitored when I install an Agent on a W2K08 R2 RTM Server?
    Hmm, in order to give a more detailed answer to that (even though the outcome didn’t surprise me), I pushed an OpsMgr Agent to a W2K08 R2 RTM server in order to see what it shows in the OpsMgr Console. Here are my experiences: (The W2K08 R2 RTM server is the MS01 server):
    The Agent has landed neatly and is working. However, the OS is not recognized. The most recent server OS MP is in place and properly configured.

    When the Health Explorer is opened this is to be seen:
    As you can see, only the Health service related components are discovered and thus being monitored. No Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM components are discovered/recognized and therefore not monitored.

  4. A while ago you blogged about the extended MPs. How about the extended MP for the server OS?
    Here RFTM (Read The Friendly Manual) is at order. The document states on page 5:
    So this MP will not make any difference since it adds extra value to the AD MP, not to the Server OS MP.

Windows 2008 Server and SQL Reporting Services 2005

26-08-2009 Update: Graham Davies told me that besides the mentioned KB article also another step has to be taken in order to make it work. I know it but forgot to mention it here. Thanks Graham! Please check this article as well in order to make it work.

When installing SQL 2005 Reporting Services (SRS) on a Windows 2008 Server, the IIS role needs to be installed. During the installation of this role certain components are really needed. Otherwise SRS won’t be available as an installable option or it will be installed but not configured.

Gladly there is a KB article telling exactly what IIS 7.0 components are needed in order to get SRS 2005 up & running on Windows 2008 server. The KB article can be found here. Don’t be fooled since the KB article talks about Windows Vista but as we all know, Windows 2008 Server is Windows Vista for grown-ups… :).

This article works exactly the same for Windows 2008.

Another piece of advise: reboot the server after this role has been added, even though the role installation wizard doesn’t tell you so.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Free ebook: Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions

23-08-3009 Update: Some people who read this posting contacted me, telling me this posting doesn’t mention VMware at all. So therefore this update. For VMware there is also (free) electronic information to be found. The central repository for it is to be found here.

I know. This blog is about OpsMgr. But in today's IT environments virtualization has become a standard. Until now I haven’t had a customer who didn’t use this technology in some kind of way. So when it is used, it has to be monitored. Therefore it is good to know about it.

A day ago a free e-book about Microsoft Virtualization Solutions has been released by Microsoft Press. It covers these technologies: Hyper-V, SCVMM 2009, App-V, Enterprise Desktop Virtualization and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

The book also tells you how to plan, implement and manage it. It is to be downloaded (free!) here.

New KB article: Error message when installing OpsMgr on W2K08: ‘Account verification error’

When installing OpsMgr on Windows 2008 server the installation might fail and rolls back. The error message ‘Account verification error’ is being displayed. KB974886 describes it with a workaround and refers to hotfix KB939820 in order to resolve it.

OpsMgr R2 Management Pack Guide – RTFM…

For all MPs to be imported I have said it many times on this blog: RTFM (Read The Friendly Manual) first before importing any MP. So far so good.

But with an initial installation of OpsMgr, there are already some MPs in place. One of them is the OpsMgr MP. Much of it is configured, based on the answers which are given in the installation dialogues of OpsMgr. However, additional configuration is always needed, just to make sure the basis (OpsMgr without any other MP nor any monitored object but itself) is spic and span. Only then one has a good and solid foundation to built the rest of the enterprise monitoring solution upon.

As is the case with any MP, there is a guide for it. The guide for the OpsMgr R2 is to be found here. However, this guide might change overtime so it is better to go to the MP Catalog, and filter the page like this:

Hit the button Search and the most recent guide will be displayed. Download it, and read it. In today's guide pages 7 & 8 tells one what has to be configured:

As you can see, these are vital items for a correctly working OpsMgr environment. The guide itself isn’t that big, less then 30 pages. So download it, read it and perform those actions needed.

When done, don’t think: Hooray! Now I can push my Agents to the objects to be monitored. Wait and take one step back. Just go to the Administration Pane of the Console and click on the top-level node Administration. The middle section of the Console will display other useful information about what needs to be done before pushing any Agent to whatever object or importing any other MP:

So one has to think about setting up notification, whether or not to use AD Integration (only when Agents aren’t pushed, but are part of an installation image. System Center Central has written a very good rock solid guide about it.)

With having answered those questions and whether or not configured the needed settings accordingly, now the rest of the construction of the OpsMgr environment can start.

Of course there are many other questions to be answered and items to be checked as well, but that is part of my trade. If you want those covered as well, just hire me. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

EventID 4000, ‘GetSQL2008DBSpace.js : 0:’

Had this strange issue at a customers site this morning. SQL 2008 servers are being monitored by OpsMgr R2. SQL MP was loaded and properly configured. Also DMO (as described here) was installed on all SQL 2008 servers. All SQL servers but one were doing just fine and were being monitored properly by OpsMgr. The problematic SQL server however kept logging EventID 4000, ‘GetSQL2008DBSpace.js : 0:’ even though DMO was installed:

So I repaired the installation of DMO, restarted the Agent on the server, and no, the error came back. Removed DMO, reinstalled it and after a restart, the error came back.

Hmm. Strange. Looks like some components don’t land properly. So time for some searching. Since DMO is part of backward compatibility components, I looked for DMO related files in the folder: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80. Here two other folders are to be found as well: Tools and COM. Opened the Tools folder to find the folder Binn. There I found a dll with a nice name: SQLDMO.DLL.

Could it be that somehow this dll didn’t get registered? So I opened an elevated cmd-prompt, gave a cd-cmd in order to get to the right folder (cd C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80\Tools\Binn), and gave this command: regsvr32 SQLDMO.DLL.

After a couple of seconds I got this message:

Restarted the Agent on the server, and now no more events with EventID 4000 appeared. After 10 minutes or so this SQL server appeared in OpsMgr and is being monitored now completely.

So whenever EventID 4000 keeps coming back on a SQL 2008 server, even when DMO has been installed as described in the SQL MP guide, there might be an issue with the dll (SQLDMO.dll) not being registered. Do it manually and then all is OK.

It’s all about permissions…

Got by the Microsoft TechNet OpsMgr forum a note  -based on my postings - about empty reports. I was told the postings were OK, but somehow they didn’t get filled reports for SQL (SQL Database space report). Besides that, the Views in the Monitoring Pane (Microsoft > SQL Server > Databases > Database Free Space and ~> Transaction Log Free Space) were empty as well. Question was asked whether certain rules needed to be activated to get this working. But the SQL MP Guide never said anything about it.

So I started to investigate it in one of mine test environments, and indeed there I had the same issue. But besides just importing the SQL MP, I hadn't done anything else. This was a very new environment and I had just imported some MPs without having done any configuration. (even I do sleep sometimes…). Then I looked in another test environment, older but configured and here all is well.

So I started to configure the SQL MP in the new environment properly, as stated in the MP guide for the SQL MP. Also I checked the OpsMgr event log of this server and here I saw two interesting events (right after a restart of the Health Service), both with EventID 21406:

The first was the most interesting one since it told me there was an issue with the needed permissions:

And almost straight afterwards, I saw the second event which told me why there was no data to be found in the reports and the Views:

Yes, SQL Distributed Management Objects (DMO) is installed on this SQL-server so is has to be an authorization issue as well.

The SQL MP guide is clear about authorizations, page 21, Security Considerations, Run As Profiles states clearly:

The same document also tells how to go about it and what authorizations are needed in order to get this MP up & running. Page 22:

So I made an account in AD with the needed permissions, added it to SQL (SysAdmin role) as well. Then I used this account for the profiles as stated in the SQL MP guide and chose for More Secure distribution, selecting the SQL server.

Then I restarted the Health Service and checked the OpsMgr Event log. It seemed to be OK now since no more EventID’s 21406 were popping up.

Checked the Views (Microsoft > SQL Server > Databases > Database Free Space and ~> Transaction Log Free Space) and after 10 minutes they got populated! So the report will work as well but needs a bit more time in order to collect data.

So RTFM (Read The Friendly Manual) is very important. Especially in OpsMgr R2 where one can import MPs straight from the Console. Nice feature but when the related guides aren’t read, it is prone to error. Even when one wants to use this new functionality, it is to be advised to RTFM first by downloading the MPs from the MP Catalog, unpack them as I described in another blog posting (also why), read the related guide, understand it and then and only then to import the related MP. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another good blog

Again on the Microsoft TechNet OpsMgr Forum I found another person with a very interesting blog. His name is Kristopher Bash. The name of his blog is Operating Quadrant, based on MOF (Microsoft Operations Framework). This name already tells that there has been put much thought in to it.

Even though Kristopher has just started his blog (first posting dates from the 11th of August), the postings are very interesting. They are a mix of tools and a programmatic approach of OpsMgr.

Go check it out for yourself at:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

OpsMgr and empty reports – Part 5 – Scheduling / Publishing Reports and some tricks.

Postings in the same series:
Part I   – The Introduction.
Part II  – Tips & Tricks
Part III – Targeted Reports 
Part IV – Examples for Disk Reports

This is the last posting in this series. Besides that won’t it be about empty reports (enough said about that, check out the previous four postings about this topic) but how to publish and schedule the more successful reports. Of course, one knows how to schedule a report or to publish it, but I will add some tricks as well.

  1. Using an offset date in a scheduled/published report.
    When running a report, a From date has to be chosen. For running a non-scheduled/published report a From date can be chosen by hand. However, when a report is being scheduled/published, it is better to use an offset. For instance, when run the report will show data of the last 7 days, or 2 weeks for instance. Before scheduling/publishing a report one has to chose at the From option for Advanced. Here one selects Today minus 7 days for instance. Click the green checkmark an now an offset of 7 days is in order for this report. Also adjust the time to 0:01 for instance.

  2. Adjust the histogram so it matches the timeframe of the report.
    Suppose one runs a report which shows data for the last week or more. When the graphs show data per hour they won’t look nice. So adjust the histogram accordingly in order to get proper graphs.

  3. When using graphs experiment with the styles and 3D.
    For graphs one can chose for a certain style. Default a line and 2D is chosen but there are more styles to chose from. Beware for not making a report looking like a festival on paper, but try and experiment. For certain graphs certain styles AND 3D really do make a difference.

  4. When publishing, give the report a good description. Tell what is does for what server(s) and what timeframe is being used.

  5. When scheduling a Report, there is no option available to send it by mail.
    When for SQL Reporting Services the E-Mail Settings haven’t been configured, there is no E-Mail option available for Scheduled Reports:
    In order to get it running, start Reporting Services Configuration Manager on the server hosting the SRS instance for OpsMgr and configure E-Mail Settings (fifth option in SQL 2K08) and apply these. After a short while the E-Mail option is available for Scheduled Reports:

  6. Using a special folder in the Report Tree.
    Normally when one publishes a report, it ends up in the folder Authored Reports in the Reporting Tree.
    Wouldn’t it be nice when customized reports have their own special folder? This is easily done:

    - On the server hosting the SRS instance for OpsMgr, open IE and browse to http://localhost/reports.
    - The webbased interface of Reports Manager will be shown now.
    - Click the Show Details button on the right.
    - Click the New Folder button on the left. A new page will be shown.
    - Give the new folder a good name. (I always use an underscore as a prefix so this folder will show up on top of the reporting tree) image
    Click OK. Now you go back to the first page. Click on the My Reports folder. The earlier published reports are to be found here.
    - Select them all. Click the button Move. The Report Tree will be shown. Select the newly created folder and click OK:
    Check the OpsMgr Console, Reporting pane (refresh it):
    This can be done with every Published Report.

  7. Copying a Report.
    Suppose, one has made a good report, published it and moved it to a special folder. All is well and now this report is needed for other servers as well. Without diving deep into the SRS component and Visual Studio®, one can open this report in the OpsMgr Console and adjust it in such a manner that it refers to the other server(s). Adjust the name of this report, Publish it and when needed, move it to the appropriate folder.

    I know,  it cost time and might seem a bit too much work. But taking a deep dive into Visual Studio is something different all together. Unless one has colleagues who are really into this AND there a load of reports to be made, than it pays of.

Monday, August 17, 2009

R2 - Error with SRSUpgradeTool.exe

When upgrading R2 from SQL 2005 to SQL 2008 the SQL Reporting Services (SRS) component has to be upgraded as well. In previous blog postings I have written about it, to be found here.

However, the upgrade tool for SRS can generate this error: ‘Error: Failed while updating registry entry for reporting code MSI component’.

Microsoft has acknowledged this issue and is working on an updated version for this tool. In the meantime they have given additional information how to solve it by using a script. Check this webpage for more information.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

OpsMgr R2 WebConsole won’t start after installation

Even though the installation of the Web Console is very straightforward, sometimes a hiccup might occur. Especially on  Windows 2008 server, even when all the needed IIS components for the Web Console are in place, as stated in one of Kevin Holman’s blog postings.

That posting (and many others for that matter) have been of great help. However, today in a newly built test environment I ran into this little snag. Everything was OK. OpsMgr and Reporting were in place and running as it should. So later on I decided to add the Web Console as well. First I installed the needed role and features. Rebooted the server and I ran the installation of the OpsMgr Web Console which finished successfully. But when I tried to open it I got this error: 

The Application event log showed this event:

I double checked IIS. The role and needed features were in place and showed no errors. Then I checked the web.config file, located in ~:\Program Files\System Center Operations Manager 2007\Web Console but nothing seemed to be wrong. Restarted IIS services, same error. Restarted the OpsMgr services, no result.

Before diving deep I decided to do an uninstall and a reinstall afterwards (without a reboot in between). And bingo, now it is working:

So apparently during the first installation there was a small hiccup.

Advise: Before diving deep (starting error logs and turn them inside out), uninstall this feature and install it again. The Web Console is easily removed and reinstalled without much hassle at all. Many times it saves one a lot of work and gives the same result: a working OpsMgr Web Console.