Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

From Saturday the 24th of December 2011 until the 3rd of January 2012 this blog will be silent since I am on vacation.

I want to thank you all for visiting my blog, your comments, time and advices. 2012 will be a special year since many new revamped System Center products will go RTM. So there’s enough to blog about!

For now I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Exporting Linked Reports to another SSRS instance? Yes YOU can!

Bumped into the issue where some Linked Reports had to be exported to another SSRS instance used for SCOM R2. But out of the box that won’t work. So it was time for some investigation and guess what? I found a great tool which enables one to export all catalog items from one SSRS instance to another, among them Linked Reports! But before I tell you more about that tool, let’s start at the beginning.

What’s a LINKED Report?
A Linked Report isn’t a Report at all but a reference to the report definition of an existing Report, plus any settings and properties that one defines for a Linked Report. (This information is to be found here as well).

Basically this explains why a Linked Report can’t be exported directly as a RDL file. Since it’s simply not a RDL file but some kind of shortcut with some predefined parameters. And out of the box, Linked Reports can’t be exported to another SSRS instance.

Along came Jasper Smith
Who is he? Good question! He’s a UK based SQL MVP and runs a blog of his own, all about… SQL! He made a great tool, Reporting Services Scripter (, which enables one to export all items from a SSRS catalog.

The tool came to be in 2005 and has been developed ever since. The last version is built in 2009 and works with SQL Server 2008 R2 as well. I tested it myself and everything goes fine!

Some issues to reckon with
Even though the tool explains it self and comes with a good help file, there are some issues to reckon with:

  1. When running the tool against a x64 based version of SQL server, the path for SET RS in the batch file has to be modified to SET RS="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\RS.EXE". Otherwise the batch file won’t be able to find the RS.EXE executable.
  2. When you export Linked Reports, you also want to export the predefined parameters like targeted Groups and the lot. In order to export those as well, you have to modify the Options of the tool. Go to the third tab Report, copy these settings and click Apply. Now all predefined parameters will be exported as well.
  3. Many times customized Reports are saved to a separate folder and presented as such in the SCOM R2/OM12 Console, like this:

    When running the tool in order to export the Linked Reports, it’s to be advised to select that folder.
    The contents of that folder (the Linked Reports) will be exported as well. When the script is run on the new SSRS instance, the folder AND it’s contents are automatically created. Saves one a lot of time.

  4. Last but not least: Only import the Linked Reports to the new SSRS instance when the referred Report Definitions and Reports are in place as well as the predefined parameters like Groups and computers for instance. Otherwise one might bump into some unexpected results like a faulty Report.

All credits go to Jasper Smith for building AND sharing such a magnificent tool! Thank you Jasper!

Tool can be found here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Savision Live Maps Beta 2 for OM12 is available

For some weeks now the second beta of Savision Live Maps for OM12 RC is publicly available. I have installed it in one of the OM12 RC LAB environments (since the product is beta it’s advised not to install it in a OM12 RC environment which runs under the TAP program!) and it works perfectly. For now I can’t really say anything has changed under the hood.

Which is basically good since it enables one to export the Maps created in earlier versions of Savision Live Maps. In a posting soon to come I’ll tell you how to do that.

When you have OM12 RC running in a lab environment I advice you to install Savision Live Maps Beta 2 as well. Since this software really adds so much value to your OM12 environment, even with the new Widgets and Dashboard functionality by default present in OM12. Now you can test drive migrations from Savision Live Maps SCOM R2 environments to OM12 environments.

For download go here and select the last option (highlighted in yellow):

One has to enter some information like a valid email address and the name of the OM12 RC MG. After that one can start the download and install it in a couple of seconds.

Beta 1 is actually Beta 2…
Since it’s a beta product there are still many things under construction. When one double clicks the file LiveMapsV6_BETA2.exe, this screen will be shown:
But don’t let it fool you. It’s really Beta 2.

When all components are installed and one opens the Live Maps Authoring Console, it will still show the Beta 1 text. However, pay attention to the version number which tells it’s Beta 2:

Beta 1 has version number and was valid until 31st of December 2011. Beta 2 expires on the 1st of March 2012.

OM12 RC: Web Console vs OM12 Console

Cameron Fuller, a much respected MVP (yeah, I met him a couple of times and he’s also fun to be with. Especially when one orders food with hot hot hot peppers. He eats them like candy and he doesn’t explode. This still puzzles me…) posted a great article all about the differences between the OM12 RC Web Console and the OM12 RC Console.

Mind the ‘RC’ bit please since things still might change when OM12 goes RTM.

The excellent posting can be found here.

Cameron, thanks for sharing! Next time we meet I’ll buy you a huge bottle of Tabasco :).
TABASCO® Gallon Jugs

OM12 RC installation: Installation of Reporting stops and shows a red cross when entering the SQL Server Instance in installation screen

Got this one from a much respected reader of my blog, John Bradshaw from Australia. Thanks for sharing John!

When installing OM12 RC Reporting one has to enter the name of the SQL Server Instance:
After that a red cross is shown and the installation stops. No error messages are shown at all.

The SQL Server Agent on the SQL Server hosting the SSRS instance isn’t running. Therefore the ‘scheduled operations cannot be created’. These scheduled operations are scripts and the lot which are part of the OM12 Reporting installation.

Start the SQL Server Agent on the SQL Server hosting the SSRS instance and the installation will run now.

Background information
For myself I haven’t seen this issue because when I install the SQL server required for SCOMR2/OM12 I always set all SQL related services to start automatically. This has saved me the above mentioned issue.
But I can imagine situations where the SQL server is already provisioned by the DBA’s. In that case ask them to set all related SQL services to start automatically.

Friday, December 16, 2011

New KB article: SCOM R2 Config service consumes 100% cpu for a long time

Yesterday Microsoft released a new KB article about an issue with the SCOM R2 Config service. This service consumes 100% cpu for a long time.

KB2655633 tells the cause of this issue and how to solve it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Authoring has started: System Center 2012 Operations Manager Unleashed

Wow! Never I will forget the day a colleague of mine showed me THE book for SCOM: System Center Operations Manager 2007 Unleashed. All the questions I had were answered! It introduced me to the real world of SCOM.

The names on the cover were totally new and unknown to me. At that moment I didn’t expect to meet them in the flesh nor to become a MVP as well. At that time I even didn’t know what a MVP was :).

Much has changed! And now I have the honor to be a contributor for the new book, System Center 2012 Operations Manager Unleashed, as well! Wow! I am really honored to be part of the team which is writing this book. Already learning a great deal. Thank you Kerrie, Cameron and John for having me in this special group of people!

Want to know more about this book? Kerrie has written more about it, to be found here.

Also good to know, another much respected Dutch SCOM MVP writes the chapter about Management Pack authoring. For me personally he’s Da Master of MP Authoring: Oskar Landman. Deep respect man!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New KB article: SCOM R2 Linux Agent fails to deploy: ‘The certificate Common Name (CN) does not match’

Yesterday Microsoft released a new KB article about the SCOM R2 Linux Agent failing to deploy and showing this error: ‘The certificate Common Name (CN) does not match’.

KB2651766 tells the cause of this issue and how to solve it.

New KB article: SCOM R2 Console may crash while setting the scale on a performance view

Yesterday Microsoft released a new KB article about SCOM R2 Console crashes when setting the scale on a performance view. At this moment there isn’t a solution, only a workaround, to be found here: KB2652434.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Management Packs: What do YOU think about it?

Some time ago I posted an article about the level of quality of the MPs delivered by Microsoft. I got many comments on it, some of them a bit too ‘spicy’ to post. So it was difficult for me to get a clear picture about how YOU really feel about it.

However, looking at 2012 it will be an important year for Microsoft and the System Center Suite as a whole. Many SC products will be revamped and launched in H1 of 2012, among them Microsoft System Center 2012 – Operations Manager or OM12.

Even though the RC is publicly available and shows many new features it’s still the infrastructure. What makes any SCOM (R2) or OM12 environment ‘tick’ is the Management Pack. IMO, the MP is key to the success of any SCOM R2 /OM12 environment.

Therefore I am curious about what YOU think about the Management Packs delivered by Microsoft. So I have created an online survey to be found here. This survey is limited and accepts only the first 250 responses, so be quick!

And of course, I will post the outcome in January 2012. 

Thank YOU for participating in this survey.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Operations Manager Implementation Phases: At what level are YOU?

Whether your run a SCOM R2 environment or will migrate/install OM12 in H1 2012, there are certain phases to reckon with. Every phase comes with a set of deliverables which require attention.

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.

For some more clarification I have included this picture with the four phases and two ‘layers’, Basic and Extended. And ask yourself this question: At what level am I?

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.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Community: SCOM Agent Health Tips

Daniele Grandini has posted an excellent article, all about SCOM Agent health tips.

Certainly every SCOM Admin can use these tips and advices. Want to know more? Go here.

Preparing for migrating to OM12: Moving from SQL 2005 to SQL 2008 – Part III: Phase II – The Migration

Postings in the same series:
Part  I – Along came a theory
Part II The Preparations

In the third posting of this series I will describe in more detail Phase II, the actual migration from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 . When you haven’t read the first and second posting of this series please do so now since otherwise you’ll be missing out the big picture here.
For the completeness here is the list of questions/steps which make up Phase II:

  1. Backup of your SCOM environment (SQL, RMS, MS servers and databases). This is step enables the fall-back scenario and not Step 5 since the SCOM R2 environment is already affected by then;
  2. Removal of the SCOM Reporting functionality (we KEEP the Data Warehouse of course!);
  3. Stopping of the Health Service on RMS and all MS servers;
  4. Stopping the Configuration and SDK service on the RMS;
  5. Backup the SCOM databases: OperationsManager and OperationsManagerDW (because no more data comes in these backups are the most current ones and won’t be outdated in any kind of way);
  6. Stop the SQL Server service (and all other related SQL services) on the old SQL Server;
  7. Restore of the SCOM databases OpsMgr and OpsMgrDW on the new SQL 2008 R2 SP1 server;
  8. Adjustment of the registry keys on the RMS, so the new SQL server is used;
  9. Adjustment of the registry keys on all MS servers, so the new SQL server is used;
  10. Adjustment of some entries on both SCOM databases on the new SQL Server so the new SQL server is correctly referred to in the database AND enabling CLR for the OpsMgr database;
  11. Enabling SQL Broker Service on the SCOM R2 database;
  12. Starting all SCOM related services on the RMS and checking the OpsMgr event log for any error;
  13. Launching the OpsMgr Console on the RMS to see whether all is OK;
  14. When all is well, starting the Health Service on the MS servers, one by one and checking the OpsMgr event logs on those servers whether all goes well;
  15. Installation of SCOM Reporting on the new SQL server;
  16. Checking SCOM Reporting by opening the SCOM R2 Console: is the Reporting Wunderbar present?;
  17. Checking the successful upload of data into the Data Warehouse (OpsMgr event logs of the RMS and MS servers);
  18. Restore of custom folders in SSRS and upload of custom RDLs to the correct Folders;
  19. Checking whether all Reports show up again in SCOM (this might take an hour or so).

As stated before, it won’t be a detailed step-by-step guide , but I will highlight the most crucial steps. In the list above the steps which are printed in blue will be explained by me in more detail. Let’s start since there is a lot to share.

Step 2
The SCOM R2 Reporting functionality must be removed now. Of course we KEEP the OperationsManagerDW database!

Open the SSRS server hosting the SCOM Reporting component and log on with admin permissions. Go to Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs and select System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Reporting Server > Remove > Yes:

The removal of SCOM R2 Reporting takes a few minutes. When it’s finished it won’t show a dialogue. The ‘installer screen’ just disappears. Open the SCOM R2 Console and the Reporting Wunderbar should be gone now:

Step 5
In order to create the backups one can use SQL Server Management Studio. This tool uses the correct VSS writer so a viable backup will most certainly be created. Also assure the backup is validated:

Step 7
Restoring the SCOM R2 databases to the new SQL 2008 R2 SP1 Server: Use the same medium for this procedure as you used for creating the backups. In this case SQL Server Management Studio. Connect to SQL instance and log on with an account which has sufficient permissions.

Click right on Database > Restore Database. A Wizard is started now. Select the option From device and click on the selection button (red circle):

Select for Backup Media File > Add. Select the backup file of the OperationsManager database > OK > OK

Select the option Restore. Option To database: select from the dropdown menu OperationsManager. Option: To a point in time select Most recent possible > OK.

Restore runs for a while and when all is OK:

Repeat the same steps for the Data Warehouse database:

Step 8
Adjustment of registry keys on the RMS so the correct SQL Server is referred to:

Log on to the RMS with local admin permissions and open the registry editor. Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft Operations Manager\3.0\Setup.

Change the key DatabaseServerName so the new SQL Server is referred to:

‘Save’ the changes and close the registry editor.

Step 10
Adjustment of some tables in both SCOM databases so the correct SQL Server is referred to. Open SQL Server Management Studio, logon with admin permissions on the SQL instance.

OperationsManager database
Go to Tables > MT_ManagementGroup > click right and select the option Edit Top 200 Rows. Search for record SQLServerName_6B1D1BE8_EBB4_B425_08DC_2385C5930B04

Modify it so it refers to the new SQL Server:

Close the table.

Enabling CLR on the OperationsManager database
Select the database > click right > new query > copy this code

sp_configure 'show advanced options', 1;




sp_configure 'clr enabled', 1;




> Execute:

OperationsManagerDW database
Go to Tables > MemberDatabase and search for the record ServerName

Modify it so it refers to the new SQL Server:

Close the table, but stay in SQL Server Management Studio.

Step 11
Enabling SQL Broker Service: See this posting of mine, Step 2.

Step 15
Installing SCOM R2 Reporting:

First and foremost, check the correct working of SSRS by opening this URL on the SSRS instance in IE (running with elevated permissions!): http://localhost/Reports:

When this screen is shown all is well. Otherwise fix any issues before continuing.

Before starting the installation first go through the steps mentioned in KB2425714. Otherwise the installation of SCOM Reporting won’t succeed.

Run the installation media of SCOM R2 with elevated permissions and an account which has admin permission locally on the SSRS server, within SCOM and permissions within the SQL instance hosting the Data Warehouse database. Otherwise the installation will fail…

Go through the setup wizard but don’t forget to DESELECT the Data Warehouse database:

Enter all the required information and later on SCOM R2 Reporting is installed successfully:


Step 17
Checking the successful upload of data into the Data Warehouse on the RMS and MS servers:

Check the OpsMgr event log on these servers for this kind of events: Category: Data Warehouse, EventID: 31554 (there are others as well).

Events like these indicate successful uploads of data into the Data Warehouse.

Step 18
Recreating the custom folders in SSRS and uploading the RDLs of the custom reports:

Recreate the custom folders in SSRS by using the web interface for SSRS http://localhost/Reports. Create the required folders:

Upload the RDL files of the custom Reports into the correct folders. This is also done within the web interface for SSRS.

As you can see, migrating from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 CU#2 isn’t something to be taken lightly. However, it can be done and in a good manner as well.

Planning and preparation are key here. And don’t hesitate to practice it in a lab environment. No licenses are required since you can download all the required software as trial versions and have a go at it. Test it, document it and try it. So you get the hang of it and know what you’re doing.

This way you can migrate safely to SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 CU#2 for SCOM R2 without too much hassle.

In the last posting of this series I will describe the last steps, like cleaning up the ‘mess’ :).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SQL Clustering in a lab environment on a single pc…

Hmm, I guess this posting is going to hurt some people, but rest assured, this isn’t the purpose of this posting. It’s just that I want to share some experiences.

Suppose you want to play around with a SQL Cluster, based on Microsoft Failover Clustering. In production environments this won’t do. There isn’t any space left neither in the test labs of your company so you need an alternative. However, at home you don’t have any more a real lab as well (when the first kid was about to arrive I emptied my own personal data center in order to restyle it into a baby room…).

All you’ve got is a pc with 8 GB RAM, some really fast disks and a quad core CPU. Nowadays a basic configuration. The system also runs Windows 7 since it’s the home pc as well. So installing Windows Server 2008 R2 for Hyper-V isn’t an option since some people, who’re also using the pc for their home stuff, won’t like that at all.

So now what? And YES, the SQL Cluster must be build. No matter what. Performance isn’t key here.

Hmm. Gladly enough I had a license for VMware Workstation 8.0. (I really love my own network :) ). So I downloaded it, installed it and now it was time for some good searching on the internet. Soon I bumped into these postings, all about creating a SQL Cluster based on VMware Workstation, 3 VMs (one of them DC and a virtualized iSCSI SAN based on Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3):

And guess what? It all works very well. One advise though: when creating the virtual iSCSI SAN, there is an additional Step required in order to make it work:

  • On the server hosting the iSCSI Target role one must open the Properties screen of the Target. The second tab enables one to add the iSCSI Initiators which are allowed to connect to the iSCSI Target. Without doing this the nodes won’t have access to the iSCSI Target. It took me some time to find this…

But now I can build my SQL Cluster:

It’s funny to see that the software of two companies who are fighting each other for market share can work so good together and produce very good results :).

New KB Article: How to gain access to SCOM after the SCOM Admin Group is deleted from AD

This is a real nightmare scenario and I am glad I never bumped into it.

But suppose the SCOM Admin Group is by accident deleted from AD. How do you gain access again to your SCOM environment?

Microsoft has published KB2640222 article about this kind of scenario and how to solve it in most cases.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Preparing for migrating to OM12: Moving from SQL 2005 to SQL 2008 – Part II: Phase I – The Preparations

Postings in the same series:
Part   I – Along came a theory
Part III – The Migration 
In the second posting of this series I will describe in more detail Phase I. When you haven’t read the first posting of this series please do so now since otherwise you’ll be missing out the big picture here.
For the completeness here is the list of questions/steps which make up Phase I:
  1. Is the new SQL Server going to be physical or virtual? Also check what Microsoft officially recommends here;
  2. Is the new SQL Server going to be clustered or not? Involve management and let them tell you how they look upon Monitoring. Is it business critical or not?
  3. What version of SQL Server are you going to use (Standard or Enterprise)?
  4. Provisioning of the new SQL Server, installing it with the features AND correct COLLATION settings required by OM12;
  5. Preparing the security of the new SQL Server so SCOM can access it;
  6. Adjusting the Master Database with a special script so it understand typical SCOM messages, piped into the event log;
  7. Enabling CLR on the SQL Server so Group calculation works in SCOM R2;
  8. Export of all custom RDLs residing on the current SQL 2005 server, used by SCOM;
  9. Make sure the SCOM environment is healthy. Check SCOM (in the Console and OpsMgr event logs on the RMS and MS servers) and solve any serious issues before moving on to Phase II;
  10. DON’T deploy a SCOM R2 Agent on this server!!!!
  11. Make a list with the SCOM service accounts and their passwords, required in Phase II.
As stated before, it won’t be a detailed step-by-step guide about how to install SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 CU#2, but I will highlight the most crucial steps in the processes. In the list above the steps which are printed in blue will be explained by me in more detail. Let’s start since there is a lot to share.

Step 4
When installing SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 CU#2 also install the SQL Feature Full-Text Search:
and select the correct Collation Settings, SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS:
Step 5
Logon to the SQL 2005 Server and open SQL Server Management Studio. Go to Server name > Security > Logins and look for the SCOM R2 Service Accounts (typically there are at least four of them: Action, SDK, Data Warehouse Write and Data Warehouse Read). It goes without saying all these accounts are AD accounts.

Write down the details. The most important ones here are the pages Server Roles (always Public, but check and double check!) and User Mapping. Make a screenshot of the latter page since it narrows down the margin of error compared to writing down the settings. Example:
Recreate the Logins on the new SQL 2008 R2 SP1 server. Of course, not all settings from User Mappings can be applied yet (the SCOM R2 databases aren’t there yet…) but at least the required Logins are in place. Example:

Step 6
Run this script against the Master database so it becomes aware of SCOM R2 specific events which can be logged in to the Windows Event log:

Step 7
Enabling CLR in order to have Group calculation working. Even though this must be run against the OperationsManager database itself, it’s good to have the required Stored Procedure already available:
sp_configure 'show advanced options', 1;
sp_configure 'clr enabled', 1;

Step 8 Now all custom made Reports in SCOM must be exported.
Mind you, these aren’t the Reports you have saved to Favorites nor the Published Reports. Reports like that are Linked Reports, like shortcuts which refer to other existing Reports. These Linked Reports won’t be exported but have to be recreated later on.

Another approach here could be running these Reports one by one and save them to a MP of their own. Also the Reports which are present in the MPs won’t have to be exported since the MPs will upload them automatically to the new SSRS instance.

What I mean with Custom Reports are the ones which are made with Report Builder or BIDS for instance. Identify those Reports and their locations. A tool will be used to export the RDLs. It requires .NET Framework 4.0. so when it’s not there we have to install it. The stand alone installer can be found here for both architectures. See this posting of mine about how to use the tool to export the Reports.

Since ALL Reports will be exported, delete the ones which are present in the MPs and keep the custom made Reports. These will be uploaded later on into the new SSRS instance.

Step 9
Check the health of the SCOM environment. Make sure all is OK and nothing amiss. Check the SCOM Console for the health of the MG and also check all OpsMgr eventlogs on the SCOM R2 MS servers. Only when all is well, it’s time to move on to Phase II.

As you can see, there is a lot to do. But with Phase I you can take your time and prepare it step-by-step. In the next Phase the move of the SCOM R2 databases and SCOM R2 Reporting will take place. And this is the Phase where it all happens. Nice! See you’ll next time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

OM12: Antivirus exclusions

With SCOM one had to exclude certain files, folders and sometimes even extensions (be careful here!) in order to keep your SCOM environment in a smooth condition without being frustrated in its workings by antivirus software.

As far as I have seen this isn’t any different with Microsoft System Center 2012 – Operations Manager (OM12). However, with this version some folder locations are changed and when one is running SQL Server 2008 R2 the same issue is happening as well. Therefore this posting contains the updated folder locations, based on OM12 RC.

My personal guess is the folder locations won’t change in OM12 RTM but NEVER assume ALWAYS check and double check!

This posting is based on another posting, to be found here.

Before excluding any process from being scanned by your antivirus software know what you’re doing. As Kevin stated it on his blog (adjusted it to OM12 servers):

“…Excluding by process executable is very dangerous, in that it limits the control of scanning potentially dangerous files handled by the process, because it excludes any and all files involved. For this reason, unless absolutely necessary, we will not exclude any process executables in AV configurations for OM12 servers…”

For OM12 it’s still the same process: monitoringhost.exe. However, the location differs, per functionality:

  1. OM12 Agent: ~:\Program Files\System Center Operations Manager\Agent;
  2. OM12 Management Server: ~:\Program Files\System Center Operations Manager 2012\Server.

These folders are advised to be excluded from scanning by your antivirus software:

  1. OM12 Agent: ~:\Program Files\System Center Operations Manager\Agent\Health Service State\Health Service Store;
  2. OM12 Management Server: ~:\Program Files\System Center Operations Manager 2012\Server\Health Service State\Health Service Store;
  3. SQL Server databases: ~:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA;
  4. SQL Server log files: ~:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Log.

These extensions are advised to be excluded from scanning by your antivirus software:

  1. OM12 MS servers and Agents: EDB, CHK, LOG. These are the queue and log files of OM12;
  2. SQL: MDF, LDF. These are the database and log files of SQL server.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Base OS MP: Logical Disk Free space Alerts fixed by Kevin Holman & Larry Mosley

The new Base OS MP has been revamped in such a way to reduce a lot of noise, which is good. However, one thing which changed as well are the Alerts for logical disk free space. They don’t show anymore how much free space (in MBs and percentage) is left. Which isn’t good since now one doesn’t know how critical an Alert is.

Kevin Holman and Larry Mosley have therefore written a couple of addendum MPs which address this issue. However, DON’T just download these MPs and import them. First READ the blog posting of Kevin from top to bottom in order to get a full understanding of the consequences and (perhaps) the additional work they involve.

Want to know more? Go here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

OM12: Unsealed MPs are still VERY important, so EXPORT them on a regular basis

With OM12 Unsealed MPs still play a vital role, so it’s very important to export them and put them into the regular backup plan as well.

For SCOM there is a PS script available which enables one to create a Scheduled Task for it. It works great since it’s really Set & Forget. And every day one has a fresh export of all Unsealed MPs available.

I for myself use this script in every SCOM environment I bump into since it really adds so much value. And I run this script on ALL SCOM Management Servers, RMS and MS servers that is. This way – even when people forget to backup the export files of the Unsealed MPs – there are multiple locations where these files reside. And these files don’t take that much disk space so no issues there either.

But how to go about it in OM12? The good news is, this script still works! Even though one has to specify the RMS (duh!) it runs like clockwork. The only thing one has to take into account is that one targets the OM12 MS server which is installed first in the new OM12 MG. Since that server typically hosts the RMS Emulator role for backward compatibility with SCOM R2.

How the PS script works? Very straight forward. It consists out of two components: the PS script itself and a small cmd-file which contains the required parameters. I have attached the cmd-file and PS script at the end of this posting.  This is how one can configure it:

  1. Create a folder on the OM 2012 server, like C:\_Backup;
  2. Create within that folder two sub-folders: Scripts and UnsealedMPs;
  3. Copy the PS script and cmd-file into the folder C:\_Backup\Scripts;
  4. Modify the cmd-file so it contains the correct OM12 server which hosts the RMS Emulator role (<FQDN RMS EMULATOR>);
  5. Testdrive the cmd-file in order to see all is well and the Unsealed MPs are indeed exported to the folder C:\_Backup\UnsealedMPs
  6. When all is OK, save the cmd-file;
  7. Create a Scheduled Task which runs on a daily basis early in the morning;
    • Select the SDK account for the Scheduled Task to run under so you’re sure it has the required permissions to access OM12.
  8. Test the Scheduled Task in order to see all is well;
  9. Repeat Steps 1 to 8 on every OM12 MS server and you’re fine;
  10. Make sure the regular backups also take the folders C:\_Backup on all OM12 MS servers into account.

PS script and cmd-file can be downloaded from my SkyDrive.

I didn’t write these PS and cmd-files but found them years back on the internet. My guess is they came from so all credits go to them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

OM12 RC: Dude, how do I backup the Encryption Key? Answer: You don’t!

In SCOM and SCOM R2 installations it was crucial to backup the Encryption Key of your RMS server and store it safe (which isn’t on the RMS…). Basically what this key does is decrypting secure data present in the Operational Database. Without it, no RMS. Period.

When disaster strucks and renders your RMS useless, there is a way to promote (temporarily) a MS server to RMS in order to have your SCOM environment back in working condition. For this the Encryption Key is crucial. Without it, no promotion of a MS to RMS. (Yes, I know, there are some workarounds since R2 but you don’t want to go there.)

So far so good.

Q: But how about it in OM12? Do you still need to backup the Encryption Key?

A: Well, the RMS is gone with OM12 (thank you Microsoft) since the RMS functionality is now shared among ALL OM12 Management Servers. Along with it the requirement to backup the Encryption Key as well. The tool to run a backup of the Encryption Key isn’t present anymore. So no more backups of the Encryption Key in OM12.

Q: But what if I only run a single OM12 MS server and it dies?

A: Never ever install ONE OM12 MS server. Install at least TWO of them. And in the same period of time. So when you install your OM12 environment, install at least TWO OM12 MS servers on the same day before you proceed any further. Of course, for lab environments one OM12 MS server could do, but even there, TWO are the way to go since pools of OM12 MS servers are used by OM12. So with a single OM12 MS server, your lab environment would be way off compared to normal production situations (perhaps it’s the time to ask for a better lab environment??).

Monday, November 14, 2011

McAfee 8.8 and SCOM/OM: Not a happy marriage…

11-15-2011 Update
Yesterday evening McAfee released Patch 1 for McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.8:
- McAfee Downloads site -
- ServicePortal -

11-14-2011 Update:
Got this from a McAfee expert: This issues only occurs when you have VSE8.8 installed AND disabled scriptscan. When that component is enabled, the issue mentioned in this posting won’t occur. McAfee also published a workaround for it, to be found here:,

Got this one from a respected colleague of mine:

McAfee 8.8 and SCOM/OM don’t mix well together. It turns out that almost ALL Discovery scripts run by the SCOM/OM12 Agent are blocked, even when you exclude the SCOM/OM Agent folders from scanning.

Because of that you will see screens like this in your OM12 RC environment:

However, in your SCOM environment you’ll see the same issue!

This issue will be solved with the release of Patch 1 which is available from today (11-15-2011). Or perhaps time to migrate to Microsoft Forefront :).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Operations Manager 2012 Release Candidate (OM12 RC) is publicly available

Today Microsoft released the Release Candidate for OM12.

Much is changed AND improved, checkout the new LOOK: 

Try OM12 RC now!!! But keep this in the back of your mind:

“Upgrades from RC to RTM in *any* scenario will not be supported by Microsoft support unless the customer is part of the TAP program for the specific product that they are trying to upgrade.  Only TAP customers are licensed to run pre-RTM software in production.” 

All documentation about OM12 RC can be found here.

Taken directly from the website where OM12 RC can be downloaded as well:

Feature Summary

  • Setup
    Operations Manager 2012 has a new Setup wizard. For important instructions about how to install Operations Manager 2012, see Install Operations Manager 2012 Beta.

  • Highly Available Management Group Out of the Box
    In Operations Manager 2012, all management servers are peers; there is no root management server. The workload is split among all management servers in a management group, which provides high availability without requiring a cluster.

  • Resource pools
    A resource pool provides the ability to distribute workloads across multiple management servers, such as availability, network device monitoring, distributed monitor health rollup, and group calculation.

  • Agent Configuration
    Operations Manager 2012 provides an easy method for configuring agents to report to multiple management servers by adding an Operations Manager Agent application to Control Panel on each agent-managed computer.

  • Operations Console
    You will notice some subtle changes to the Operations console. The Actions pane is now the Tasks pane, and includes a new section called Navigation Tasks that makes it easy for you to open views for a selected object. The Tasks pane offers two tabs: one for actions and one for resources and Help links. The Navigation and Tasks panes can be hidden or revealed instantly by clicking the arrow in the title bar of the pane.

  • Web console
    Operations Manager 2012 introduces a new Web console. In Operations Manager 2012, all Operations Manager views are available in the Web console.

  • Network monitoring
    Operations Manager 2012 provides the ability to discover and monitor network routers and switches, including the network interfaces and ports on those devices and the virtual LAN (VLAN) that they participate in. You can also delete discovered network devices and prevent the deleted network devices from being rediscovered the next time discovery runs. For more information, see Monitor Network Devices.

  • Application monitoring
    In Operations Manager 2012, you can monitor ASP.NET applications in server- and client-side environments to get details about application availability and performance. Configure monitoring settings, such as polling frequency and transaction threshold. Then use results, including how frequently a problem is occurring, how a server was performing when a problem occurred, and the distributed chain for a transaction in question to pinpoint problems and solutions. For more information, see Monitor a .NET Application.

  • Dashboard views
    As part of the network monitoring and application monitoring capabilities, Operations Manager 2012 includes new comprehensive dashboard views that combine multiple panels of information into a single view. In Operations Manager 2012, you can add the new dashboard views to My Workspace.

  • Display dashboard views using SharePoint
    The Operations Manager web part displays specified dashboard views and can be added to Microsoft SharePoint 2010 sites. For more information, see Add a Dashboard View to a SharePoint Site.

  • Creating dashboard views
    Dashboard views have been significantly upgraded in Operations Manager 2012 from their capabilities in Operations Manager 2007 R2, including custom layouts and nested dashboard views. For more information, see Create a Dashboard View.

  • Operations Manager Module for Windows PowerShell
    Operations Manager 2012 provides a Windows PowerShell 2.0 module containing a full set of new cmdlets. The cmdlets in this module are only compatible with Operations Manager 2012. You can recognize the Operations Manager 2012 cmdlets by the "SC" preceding the noun. For additional information about the Operations Manager 2012 cmdlets, open the Operations Manager command shell and type Get-Help about_OpsMgr_WhatsNew. For information about how the Operations Manager 2007 cmdlets map to the Operations Manager 2012 cmdlets, type Get-Help about_OpsMgr_Cmdlet_Names.To use the Operations Manager 2012 cmdlets, you must establish a connection to an Operations Manager management group. You can establish either a persistent connection in which you can run multiple cmdlets, or a temporary connection when running a single cmdlet. For more information about connections, open the Operations Manager Shell and type Get-Help about_OpsMgr_Connections.

  • UNIX- and Linux-based computers
    In Operations Manager 2012, the Discovery Wizard is easier to use for discovering UNIX- and Linux-based computers. You can now use Windows PowerShell to manage UNIX- and Linux-based computers, for more information, see the UNIX and Linux section in the release notes. High availability is also supported.

  • UNIX/Linux Shell Command Template Management Pack
    This Management Pack implements authoring templates that allow the creation of rules, tasks, and monitors based on execution of shell commands on UNIX/Linux agents.

  • JEE Management Packs
    These management packs monitor JEE (Java Enterprise Edition) application servers. Management packs are available for IBM WebSphere, Oracle WebLogic, Red Hat JBoss and Apache Tomcat.