Thursday, November 18, 2010

SCOM vNext – Part II – Holistic View of Application Health

Postings in the same series:
Part   IThe Next Generation of SCOM
Part III  -  Network Monitoring
Part  IV - Topology Simplification, Pooling and Timeline

In the second posting of this series I will describe one of the new exciting features in OpsMgr vNext, Holistic View of Application Health, aka 360 Degree View. Besides that I will take a deeper dive into some categories of questions coming from the customers base which drives Microsoft in order to build OpsMgr vNext.

As stated before, Microsoft cares about its customers AND listens.

When questions, remarks/comments about SCOM come in (via the Connect site for instance) these are categorized. Some of these categories are (with additional explanation):

  1. Simplicity
    Making it easier to use SCOM. Delegation for assigning the right roles to the right persons (deployment of Agents, making overrides, group creation etcetera) so not a single SCOM Admin becomes the bottleneck in order to administer a SCOM environment.

  2. Reliability
    The software (making up the SCOM environment )must be working and functional. So OpsMgr vNext will become even more robust.

  3. Personalization
    Different users will only see the information they need. Nothing more, nothing less. Like the CIO:

    Or the Service Owner:

    Or the Operator:

  4. Consistency
    All different data – whether coming from hardware MPs, application MPs or network devices – will show the same Views across all interfaces whether its the UI, Web Console or SharePoint. Of course these Views will reckon with the person using those Views. So the CIO will see different things compared to an Operator.

When all these categories are being put together (also with many others) all there is left is the ULTIMATE question/requirement from the customers running SCOM:

This will lower the TCO considerably. On top of it these items will also be reduced in order to bring down the TCO:

  • Time until you get value of the product (initial deployment of infrastructure until you find and fix the issues in your IT environment);
  • Maintenance of SCOM.

And these are not just words or marketing slang. The pre-beta demonstrated with Tech-Ed covers many of those categories even though it is still work in progress! Of course, many demonstrated features are under development and therefore subject to change before final release. But it ROCKS none the less! Wow!

During the earlier mentioned session these three area’s were covered:


Area 01: Holistic View of Application Health aka 360 Application Monitoring
Say what? Sounds a bit vague, not like real IT? Time for some explanation:

How about determining easily what is wrong with a monitored application in such a manner that also the end-user experience is taken into account? Not only the inside of the application is monitored (servers, hardware, OS, application and related services) but also the outside or how the end-user perceives it (like external transactions).

This means that an application is not only monitored from bottom to top (inside infrastructure up to the application itself) like hardware, network, server OS, infra services (like DHCP, DNS and AD) and related services (like IIS and SQL), but also from the end-user perspective: Can they log on to a commerce website, add items to their cart and check out? It is all about simulating the end-user experience.

The recent acquisition of AVIcode will certainly aid here (click here for the video recording and slide deck of that session), telling us where the problems are, down to a line of code in an application.

Some of the questions which will be answered with this kind of monitoring:

  • What is wrong with the application?
  • What must I do to troubleshoot it?
  • Who do I have to contact? (Like: The SQL department? The IIS department? The developers?)

OpsMgr vNext will exactly pinpoint the issue so troubleshooting will be fast and efficient. Enablers for this kind of Monitoring:

  • Simple dashboards enabling 360 Views (inside and outside);
  • Reliable information for pinpointing issues;
  • Personalized Views showing relevant information, driven by persona;
  • Consistent Views across multiple interfaces (SharePoint, Console, Web console).

Visualization of 360 Application Monitoring
Since one picture explains more than a thousand words, take a look at this picture with the different blocks of 360 Application Monitoring:


When all these blocks  are brought together you have a Holistic View of Application Health:


Of course, during the same session it was also demonstrated. Live that is! Want to see it? Click here for the video recording of that session and watch this time frame: 16:52 > 20:00.

Next posting in this series will be about Network Monitoring, another great feature of OpsMgr vNext.

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