Thursday, March 31, 2011

Virtualization Comparison Matrix

A colleague pointed out this website to me.

It compares the major three hypervisors:

  • Citrix XenServer;
  • VMware;
  • Microsoft.

The comparison looks at four different categories:

  1. General;
  2. Management;
  3. Hypervisor;
  4. Add Ons/Plug-ins (fee).

Also when you want to exclude a certain vendor it can be done:

Want to know more? Go here.

System Center Advisor Upgraded

As stated in the previous blog posting, System Center Advisor (SCA) is work in progress and many new features will be added to it. And this is the mail I got about a week ago about SCA:

As you can see, Microsoft means business and is on top of things. SCA has been upgraded. Many new features/functionality have been added, like:

  • Windows Server 2008 and R2 analysis, also features like:
    • Hyper-V host
    • Active Directory
  • SQL Server Clustering support;
  • Multi- User support;
  • Improved mail notifications;
  • Communication protocol
    • Was SMB is now Windows Communication Foundation.

Even though it might seem small compared to all the products/services portfolio Microsoft offers to their customers, don’t forget that SCA is a young product. So the thrust behind it is huge, thus making its potential enormous.

SCOM In The Sky: How Do They Do It?

Ever wanted to know how Microsoft constructs it datacenters? How services like Azure, System Center Advisor, BPOS, Office 365 and the lot are hosted? I mean, even for cloud based services, it has to land somewhere in one or more datacenters. Otherwise it would be nothing but vapor-ware :).

Of course, much of it is kept secret. But Microsoft is also proud about their achievements which is totally understandable. So they have put together some videos and animations about their state of the art datacenters.

This is one of those videos. It shows clearly the approach Microsoft has chosen for its datacenters. Very interesting it is. Since the video isn’t technical at all, it is targeted at a broad audience. Enjoy!

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

EventID 26319: Exception thrown while processing GetTasksByCriteria

This posting is all about EventID 26319 which is shown in the OpsMgr event log of the RMS.

I’ve seen this error many times in the past with SCOM RTM/SP1 based environments in conjunction with Windows 2003 DCs and domains which were on Windows 2000 mixed functional level. In cases the issue was solved easily by following the procedure in KB331951.

But this bug isn’t gone at all. In SCOM R2 environments, on the latest CU level and placed in Windows 2008 based domains/forests, this error message is still there. And the earlier mentioned KB331951 doesn’t help here.

It happens for users who have been assigned the Read-Only Operators Role in SCOM. When users like these have the SCOM Console open and a new Alert is shown, the above mentioned EventID is shown in the OpsMgr event log.

Some searching on the internet showed that other people were affected by the same bug as well and even a bug report had been filed about it. But that bug report isn’t to be found anymore.

So I filed a new bug report, to be found here. When you’re affected by this bug, please vote so the more change it gets to be addressed.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MP Authoring: Sample Management Pack Specification Available

Brian Wren has published a document which introduces a completely fictional application and then presents a design for a service model and health model that can be used to create an actual management pack.

The purpose of this sample is to illustrate a logical approach for analyzing an actual application and stepping through a process for defining its monitoring requirements. The structure of the document can be used as a template for designing a management pack for your own application.

The document can be downloaded from here.

SCOM R2 CU3 & CU4 may cause non-SCOM 2007 services to restart

Many of us may have bumped into this issue already. And annoying it is. Even worse, since it may disrupt production. When CU#3 or CU#4 is installed on SCOM R2 Managed servers (servers running a SCOM R2 Agent), non-SCOM 2007 R2 related services may restart.

That’s bad. Really bad. Not only the restarting, but also the word ‘may’. Sounds like Russian Roulette and thus influencing Change Management in a negative kind of way.

Since a day or so, Microsoft has published a KB article (KB2526113) in which they acknowledge the issue, describe the causes and how to work around it. It is to be expected that will be solved in a future CU for SCOM R2.

New KB Article: Event ID 26380 - "The System Center Operations Manager SDK Service failed due to an unhandled exception"

When running System Center Operations Manager 2007, the Operations Manager SDK Service may fail with the following error:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: OpsMgr SDK Service
Event Category: None
Event ID: 26380
Date: <date>
Time: <time>
User: N/A
Computer: computerName
The System Center Operations Manager SDK Service failed due to an
The service will attempt to restart.

KB2526827 describes above mentioned issue, the cause and how to solve it.

New KB Article: Alert for "Send Test Message" monitor from the MSMQ 2003 MP

Taken directly from the website: ‘…The Microsoft Message Queuing 2003 Management Pack (MSMQ 2003 MP) for Operations Manager 2007 R2, Version 6.0.6615.0, has an error in the script "QueueSendTestMessage.vbs"…’

This is a known issue and will be fixed in a future edition of the MP. For now Microsoft has published a workaround, to be found here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cannot log on to the Opalis Operator Console: ‘The username or password you have entered is not correct. Transaction failed’ and the possible causes

I have blogged about it before, but as it turns out there are other possible reasons for it as well. This posting will highlight them.
  1. DLL file is missing in a certain folder. Already blogged about that one, to be found here;
  2. Wrong SQL server is configured. Stop JBoss and correct the file ~\JBoss\server\default\deploy\opalis-ds.xml, save it and restart JBoss;
  3. A firewall is blocking the traffic;
  4. The SQL server is not accepting TCP traffic from remote hosts;
  5. When the Kelverion tool is used and the Opalis Operator Console is configured as a service, it runs under local system. Many times that account doesn’t have access to SQL. So correct that by allowing that account in SQL or changing the account this service runs under to one which is allowed access to SQL.

Hope this helps.

Installing the Opalis Operator Console Made Easy

Installing the Opalis components isn’t a hard process at all. This becomes a total different story however when you want to install the Opalis Operator Console. This is a real drama. Why?
  • You must download 10+ different components from all kinds of obscure websites;
  • Some websites are a pain to navigate and easily the wrong package or version is downloaded;
  • When you have all the required bits and pieces in one place, they must be installed in a certain order;
  • When all components are installed they need to be configured which means editing xlm files by hand and moving/copying/pasting files to other locations;
  • One needs to create all kinds of strings when AD integration is required and a single typo will most certainly result in a not working Opalis Operator Console;
  • When requiring to install the Opalis Operator Console as a service, even more magic is required.

It is evident that the installation method for Opalis Operator Console comes from an age where installations like these were default and done by real specialists/geeks who had time for such tedious tasks. But hey, the dinosaurs died some time ago, so this installation has to go where it belongs: to the museum!
50 year old computer

So it is good to see that Kelverion has made a utility which automates the installation of the Opalis Operator Console. And I must say, it works like a charm! Hello 2011 and goodbye 1970’s! Why?

  • No more need to download all the required components since the utility contains them all;
  • No more need to manual edit xml-files;
  • No more need to cook up all kinds of special strings when AD integration is required;
  • No more need to copy/cut/move/paste files to and from all kinds of folders;
  • No more need to perform magic like tricks in order to get encryption working;
  • No more need for other mumbo jumbo in order to get the Opalis Operator Console running as a service.

Of course, this tooling has some requirements in order to run:

But when all is there it is simple point and click and Kelverion will take care of the rest! Nice and easy. So when you’re about to install Opalis WITH the Operator Console AND you want to save yourself a lot of time AND frustration? Download the tool and be happy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SCOM In The Sky?

Anyone working in the ICT or having any related job for that matter, can’t deny it: things are changing. Much is to be found and told about the cloud and what it can do.

The cloud comes in many shapes and formats, like IaaS, Paas & SaaS. Also the formats can be different, like public, private, hybrid and community based. Even though this blog isn’t about the cloud, there is no doubt that it will affect SCOM as well. The question isn’t when nor why but more like how?

The first steps in moving SCOM into the cloud have been made. What started under codename ‘Atlanta’ has been rebranded into Microsoft System Center Advisor (SCA).

What it does? For now it does NOT deliver real time monitoring like SCOM. Taken directly from the website:

At the moment it supports:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and future editions;
  • Windows Server 2008 and future editions.

How it works? I have borrowed this diagram from Stefan Strangers weblog. Thanks Stefan!

Basically SCA works along the same lines as SCOM. MPs are required, Agents and Gateways. Since Kerberos can’t be used here, a certificate will be generated on the fly while the Agent is pushed out to the server being monitored by SCA. On premise the customer will install a Gateway Server which communicates with SCA in the cloud and the monitored servers on-premise. The MPs are already present in the cloud and need no further attention.

For now SCA isn’t meant for real time monitoring like SCOM. Why? It is aimed at assessment of the configuration of the monitored servers. This assessment runs on periodic basis. SCA collects data on intervals of 4-8 hours. This data is analyzed once per day and uploaded to the cloud once a day. So no real time monitoring (for now that is).

However, the assessments are based on best practices. So when you want to know whether your servers are up to specs, based on BPs, SCA can tell you that.

When you want to test drive the Release Candidate of SCA, go here. All you need is a Windows Live ID. The installation is pretty straight forward.

SCA and the Future
For now SCA supports a limited set of systems/services. But that will most certainly grow in the future as well as the functionality. So for me the question is not whether SCA will deliver SCOM functionality (real time monitoring) but when.

To be continued…

Cloud and more
I look upon myself as a consultant who is at the moment specialized in SC products and especially SCOM. But ICT is an ever changing landscape. So in order to stay in business, I have to change as well. Even better, to embrace it. And to be frankly, that’s why I like ICT. Never ever a dull moment. Because the cloud is becoming BIG and all major companies are aiming at it (Microsoft will target this year +90 % of it’s total R&D budget to the cloud…) I have to take a deeper dive in it as well.

I have made that plunge and it is awesome. Even to such an extend that I am working on a new blog, all about the cloud. Don’t know when it goes live, but it certainly will. Here a sneak preview of the placeholder:

More and more SC products will move towards the cloud. First steps might seem small, but soon it will gain momentum and grow rapidly. Another thing to look at is Windows Intune, a cloud based management solution for managing Windows 7 based systems. As you can see, the sky is getting crowded…

Thinking Outside The Box: SCOM, LiveMaps & Kinect

Cameron Fuller, a fellow SCOM MVP, has demonstrated how to use SCOM, LiveMaps and Kinect together. The demonstration was shown at MMS 2011.

In order to get this configuration up & running he hired a real specialist to get the job done, his 12 year old son!

Video of this demonstration:

When you want to know more about the details how to get this configuration up & running, go here.

@Cameron and his son: a job well done! Awesome! This makes me really wonder what the GUIs will look like after ten years or so.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How To: Test Notification Settings & How To Solve Issues

Having SCOM alerting on monitored servers, services and applications is one thing.

To have SCOM send some of those Alerts out as Notifications, whether as e-mail, sms, pager or whatever Channel you prefer, is another ballgame. Many times it just works. Other times, it might become cumbersome and Notifications don’t go out anymore, or just partially. So now what?

What are the causes, and how to troubleshoot them? Or how to setup SMS or IM? Or how to use Twitter? There are a lot of good KBs and postings out there in order to aid you in getting things up & running again. In this posting I have grouped them together, in order to provide you with a single starting point.

Happy Hunting!

How To Test & Setup

  1. How to test  Notifications;
  2. Setting up IM Channel (OCS/Lync);
  3. Using Twitter as a Notification Channel;
  4. How to configure SMTP in test environments;’
  5. Sending out SMS messages with SCOM without using a mobile;


  1. Notifications Update Alert History Tool;
  2. Notification Test Tool;
  3. Subscription Copier.

How To Troubleshoot

  1. How to troubleshoot Notifications;
  2. SMS Error ‘Device Not Ready (16013)’;
  3. Notification Subscriptions Grayed Out;
  4. No e-mail: Recipient Address Is Not Valid;
  5. EventID 4503 and Notifications only partially working;
  6. GUID should contain 32 characters with 4 dashes.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Subscription Not Working: Guid should contain 32 digits with 4 dashes (xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx)

Got above mentioned error in a SCOM R2 environment.

Many subscriptions were in place and functional. One subscription did not work however. Alerts were shown in the Console, but the Alert wasn’t send out. Time to investigate the Subscription which should do that.

Opening the Subscription wasn’t a problem, but when the Criteria option was selected this error was thrown: Guid should contain 32 digits with 4 dashes (xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx).

It turned out that the Criteria was based on a Rule which was changed after the subscription had been made. Normally all is just fine, but the Rule was deleted and then rebuild. So the Subscription didn’t know anymore what Rule to target.

After having deleted the Rule and rebuild it, targeting it against the new Rule, all is fine again. Searched the internet as well for other causes of this error. What it basically comes down to is this error will happen when a Subscription has been made and:

  • The Subscriber has been removed/changed significantly;
  • The Criteria have been changed significantly, like removing a Rule/Monitor and rebuilding it;
  • The Channel used in the Subscription has been removed/changed significantly.

All these reasons do have the same underlying cause: a new GUID will be generated for the items mentioned before (Rule/Monitor, Subscriber, Channel) which won’t match the one in the earlier made Subscription. Therefore the Subscription will be broken and malfunction.

Of course, changing an existing Rule/Monitor, Subscriber, Channel won’t change the GUID. But recreating it will do so.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

True Power and how to emulate it…

Some years ago there was a TV commercial about Heinz ketchup. A man and a woman, eating French fries with Heinz Ketchup, were asked whether they ever tried ketchup from another producer. The man kept on eating and the woman asked: ‘What other ketchup?’ and continued her meal. Man and woman cracked a smile and said nothing more.

The message was clear and simple: For them there was only one ketchup, the one from Heinz. Nothing else.

Heinz, SCOM & VMware
Looking at SCOM in conjunction with monitoring VMware there is – if you ask me – the same situation going on. Yes, there are multiple vendors offering monitoring solutions for VMware and hooking it up to SCOM.

But the Heinz experience for me personally is the one coming from Veeam. Why?

Monitoring VMware with SCOM
As we all know a VMware based environment is far from simple. It consists out of one or more storage solutions, network layers, physical servers (working in concert) which are the hosts for all the VMs, the control layer (vCenter) and the lot.

Covering all these aspects in SCOM isn’t easy. And VMware hosts are picky when it comes down to installing (additional) software. So you want to hook up SCOM to it, but in such a way that it doesn’t create any additional burden nor requires the installation of additional software on any host or guest.

Also, you don’t want to introduce an additional framework which needs serious maintenance, planning and studying of your staff in order to understand and manage it. After all, you installed SCOM to reduce the workload and not to make it more heavier.

On top of it all, the complexity of monitoring a VMware environment must kept away from you and your staff. You only want to put a thermometer into VMware and have SCOM report on it. Period. Whether it’s about the storage, the VMs or the hosts, the CPUs, physical or virtual, you want to KNOW what is happening. And again, all the complexity must be out of sight and yet you want to know it ALL of your virtualized environment.

And it must be scalable. Whether you run two VMware Hosts or 250, it must be covered by the monitoring solution. The installation must be straight forward and well documented. So the complex stuff is kept away from you while SCOM will show an in-depth view of the status of your VMware environment.

For me, and many of my key customers running VMware environments and SCOM, have found the solution with Veeam. It rocks! All above mentioned issues are addressed. So I am a believer when it comes down about how to monitor VMware with SCOM. No questions there.

Seeing is believing
But how to convince the customers? Of course, I can be very enthusiastic about good products. Can tell them a lot about it. But seeing is believing. So I can show them a real life environment with VMware and SCOM. But that means traveling, planning and the lot.

Wouldn’t it be nice to show Veeam and SCOM from my laptop? My laptop is Windows 2008 R2 SP1 based, so running a VM isn’t an issue at all. But running one or more VMware Hosts from it isn’t possible. So how to go about it?

Veeam has released a zip file (one has to contact Veeam in order to obtain it)  known as Veeam nworks Demo. What it contains, or more important, what it does? Taken directly from the included guide:

‘…to allow the demonstration of the nworks Management Pack for VMware when there is no access to a running live VMware system to provide the monitoring data. nworksDEMO will ‘spoof’ as a genuine nworks Collector server, and will run standalone . With no connection to any VMware systems it will generate monitoring data to feed the nworks Management Pack for VMware. Performance graphs, topology diagrams, and example alerts from VMware systems will be created in Ops Mgr so that the nworks Management Pack can be showcased in a very simple and repeatable way…’

Let test drive it…
Like the real tool, it is simply installed. Also two MPs need to be imported and then some waiting and patience is at order. But soon the SCOM R2 Console will populate the VMware Views:



And those are not just wallpapers. These are fully clickable, like any other real item in SCOM. Nice!

Also Reports are present and fully operational:

This is really great. Now I can demonstrate VMware monitoring from my laptop! And of course, a real life demo is still possible but the first impression is the most important one. No more additional travel and planning needed for that one. Nice!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Notification partially working and nagging EventID 4503 in the OpsMgr Eventlog of the RMS?

Wow! Got this situation at a customers site. Took me a long long time to crack it. But solved it none the less.

What was the deal?


  • +6 Channels were in place (mail, SMS and the lot);
  • +30 Subscribers;
  • +30 Subscriptions.

Some people were receiving Notifications but others weren’t. Strangest thing was that there seemed to be no logic behind it at all. So some Alerts tied to Channel A didn’t get out, but other Alerts, using the same Channel, did get out.

And in the meanwhile the OpsMgr Event log of the RMS showed EventID 4503 when an Alert failed to get out:

Things I tried but all to no avail
I tried many things, like opening all Subscriptions, cycling through all screens and save them one by one. Opened all Subscribers, looking for errors, found some, corrected them but again EventID 4503 kept on nagging me… Checked out all Channels but found nothing wrong there as well.

Found some Blog postings with Google also about the same EventID but there the Notification Model came completely to a halt and the cause was totally different, so I had another, yet undefined, cause to deal with. These are the postings I am talking about which did not help out in my particular case:

So it was time for some drastic measures:

  • I exported the MP containing the Notification Model (Channels, Subscribers and Subscriptions) which is the Notifications Internal Library MP. This MP is unsealed and every change in the Notification Model is put into this MP.
  • Ran it through XML Notepad 2007, checked every entry but found nothing strange there as well. It was a hideous task since it’s just bare xml code…

Then I got even more drastic since it really made me a ‘bit’ frustrated, it looked like SCOM was getting ahead of me, something I do NOT like…

  • Documented every single Channel, Subscriber and Subscription;
  • Exported the MP (again) to be on the safe side;
  • Removed ALL Subscriptions, Subscribers and Channels;
  • Recreated ONE SMTP Channel (as documented), ONE Subscriber and ONE Subscription;
  • Test fired an Alert which triggered an Alert which was covered by the Notification Model;
  • And… BANG! EventID 4503.

Lost a battle of two BUT got WISER none the less
Even though all seemed to be lost, the last time this event happened made me a lot wiser. Why? There was no more ‘noise’ present in the MP containing the Notification Model. So the actual cause was still there but easier to pinpoint. So it was time for some reasoning:

  1. Subscription was just default as it could get, By The Book. So no issues there;
  2. The Rule triggering the Alers wasn’t the cause either. A simple Rule, no Mumbo-Jumbo there either;
  3. The Subscriber was also just fine. Nothing fancy or any other magic happening there.
  4. What was left, was the CHANNEL!  So somehow the Channel was causing all this mischief. But why? And most important: from WHERE?

Let’s ZOOM in on the CHANNEL
Channel was pretty straight forward as well. Using two Exchange servers. Talked to the Exchange guys/girls and they told me everything was just fine there. However, I have learned my lessons the hard way about presuming. So time to test it as well.

I downloaded the Notifications Test Tool and used the configured SMTP Channel to send an Alert to my internal e-mail account. Which worked! Now one could say this is not good since the Notification Channel turned out just fine. But thing is, a Channel consists out of many components which might break or cause issues as well. So all this tool told me is that the BASIC functionality of the Channel was OK, like the configured Exchange servers. But how about the deeper configuration settings of this Channel?

Especially these configurable items of any SMTP Channel may cause some serious grief:

  1. E-mail subject;
  2. E-mail message;
  3. Encoding.

Configurable Item 3 wasn’t at play here since that is all about garbled mail messages. And here, the issues occurred before a mail message was even
generated, so configurable Items 1 or 2 (or both) were the ones causing all this havoc.

How the Final Battle was won, thus ending the war with SCOM
Time to zoom into Items 1 & 2 as stated above. This is what I did:

  1. Created another SMTP Channel, but now with the default configuration for the E-mail Subject and E-mail Message configurable items;
  2. Retargeted the Subscription so it used the new SMTP Channel;
  3. Removed the other SMTP Channel so no noise wasn’t present any more;
  4. Test fired an Alert which triggered an Alert which was covered by the Notification Model;
  5. And… YES! A Notification was sent out and received by me!

Time for some experiments. Quickly it turned out the configurable item E-mail Message wasn’t any problem. When I copied the formula from the ‘problematic’ SMTP Channel into the working one, it kept on working. However, when I copied the formula from the E-mail Subject from the ‘problematic’ SMTP Channel into the working one, EventID 4503 was back again!

Let’s crush the ENEMY!
Finally! The item causing the grief was found. But WHY? When I compared the ‘problematic’ SMTP Channel with the working SMTP Channel there was only ONE difference: it contained the header $Data/Context/DataItem/AlertDescription$, which is actually the Description of the Alert as shown in the SCOM R2 Console.

Depending on the Alert the Description might contain some strange characters, or can get as lengthy as a short novel. And strange characters or lengthy subject headers might cause issues with mail messages…

Time for another experiment:

  1. Recreated a SMTP Channel but without the header $Data/Context/DataItem/AlertDescription$  in configurable item E-mail subject;
  2. Test fired an Alert which triggered an Alert which was covered by the Notification Model;
  3. And… YES! A Notification was sent out and received by me!!!

Great! I pinpointed not only the item where it went wrong (the SMTP Channel) but more important, the REAL cause, the header $Data/Context/DataItem/AlertDescription$. Nice!

Time to party!
I imported the export file of the Notifications MP, containing ALL Channels, Subscribers and Subscriptions. Adjusted the Channels based on my findings (removing the header $Data/Context/DataItem/AlertDescription$ in configurable item E-mail subject) and all was well now. All Alerts meeting the Notification criteria were sent out. No more EventID 4503 in the OpsMgr Event log to be found again. Nice!

So whenever you bump into this nagging Event and the earlier mentioned blog postings do not match your case, try this approach by removing the header $Data/Context/DataItem/AlertDescription$ in configurable item E-mail subject of the SMTP Channels and you should be fine again.

And not just that, my customer wanted to document its Notification Model in more detail. Not needed any more since I already had done so while solving this issue! So this customer was happy twice: the Notification Model was fully operational AND thoroughly documented.

Friday, March 11, 2011

SharePoint 2010 MP Tips & Tricks: How to configure the SharePointMP.Config file

The System Center Operations Manager Support Team Blog posted an article about how to configure the SharePointMP.Config file.

Even though it is not that difficult, it is different compared to configuring other MPs. The guide itself is not that detailed about that part so any additional information is welcome.

Posting to be found here.

New KB Article: Installation of SCOM R2 Authoring Resource Kit fails on .NET 4.0 enabled computers

Yesterday Microsoft published a new KB article describing above mentioned issue.

KB2518786 describes it in detail and offers a workaround as well.

New Tool: Subscription Copier

SCOM PFE Tim McFadden, has made some good tools before like the Remote Maintenance Tool. This piece of software is really great since it offers functionality which isn’t present in SCOM by default.

Yesterday he published a new one, the Subscription Copier. What it does? Taken directly from his posting: ‘Subscriptions copier is a simple tool for copying subscriptions and helping with alert escalation’.

Tool to be found here, documentation included.

Thanks Tim for sharing another powerful tool for SCOM. Great job!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals – Free Online Classes – March 29 – 31

My blog is not about virtualization but this one is really special. Already signed myself up for this one or better, three days. It will cost me three evenings (19:00 until 0:00) since I live in another time-zone (GMT+1) but there is much to be learned so it’s worth the investment.

Taken directly from the website of System Center Virtual Machine Manager:

Just one week after Microsoft Management Summit 2011 (MMS), Microsoft Learning will be hosting an exclusive three-day Jump Start class specially tailored for VMware and Microsoft virtualization technology professionals. Registration for Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals is open now and will be delivered as a FREE online class on March 29-31, 2010 from 10:00am-4:00pm PDT. We will even be highlighting SCVMM 2012 for an hour!

What’s the high-level overview?

This cutting edge course will feature expert instruction and real-world demonstrations of Hyper-V and brand new releases from System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Beta (many of which will be announced just one week earlier at MMS). Register Now!

Day 1 will focus on “Platform” (Hyper-V, virtualization architecture, high availability & clustering)

  • 10:00am – 10:30pm PDT: Virtualization 360 Overview
  • 10:30am – 12:00pm: Microsoft Hyper-V Deployment Options & Architecture
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm: Differentiating Microsoft and VMware (terminology, etc.)
  • 2:00pm – 4:00pm: High Availability & Clustering

Day 2 will focus on “Management” (System Center Suite, SCVMM 2012 Beta, Opalis, Private Cloud solutions)

  • 10:00am – 11:00pm PDT: System Center Suite Overview w/ focus on DPM
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm: Virtual Machine Manager 2012 | Part 1
  • 1:00pm – 1:30pm: Virtual Machine Manager 2012 | Part 2
  • 1:30pm – 2:30pm: Automation with System Center Opalis & PowerShell
  • 2:30pm – 4:00pm: Private Cloud Solutions, Architecture & VMM SSP 2.0

Day 3 will focus on “VDI” (VDI Infrastructure/architecture, v-Alliance, application delivery via VDI)

  • 10:00am – 11:00pm PDT: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Architecture | Part 1
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Architecture | Part 2
  • 1:00pm – 2:30pm: v-Alliance Solution Overview
  • 2:30pm – 4:00pm: Application Delivery for VDI

Every section will be team-taught by two of the most respected authorities on virtualization technologies: Microsoft Technical Evangelist Symon Perriman and leading Hyper-V, VMware, and XEN infrastructure consultant, Corey Hynes

Who is the target audience for this training?
Suggested prerequisite skills include real-world experience with Windows Server 2008 R2, virtualization and datacenter management. The course is tailored to these types of roles:

  • IT Professional
  • IT Decision Maker
  • Network Administrators & Architects
  • Storage/Infrastructure Administrators & Architects

How do I to register and learn more about this great training opportunity?

What is a “Jump Start” course?
A “Jump Start” course is “team-taught” by two expert instructors in an engaging radio talk show style format. The idea is to deliver readiness training on strategic and emerging technologies that drive awareness at scale before Microsoft Learning develops mainstream Microsoft Official Courses (MOC) that map to certifications. All sessions are professionally recorded and distributed through MS Showcase, Channel 9, Zune Marketplace and iTunes for broader reach.

Also good to know:

‘All sessions are professionally recorded and distributed through MS Showcase, Channel 9, Zune Marketplace and iTunes for broader reach.’

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

EventID 31552: Failed to store data in the Data Warehouse. Exception 'SqlException': A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server

Bumped into this issue in a SCOM R2 environment of a customer of mine. As a result the perfmon Reports missed out days of data.

Have had a similar issue before and after having cracked it, the data came back.

Some background information first. This is ‘normal’ behavior because when data is inserted into the Data Warehouse it goes through processes like these:

  1. The data is written to the staging tables;
  2. The data is processed;
  3. The data is inserted into raw tables;
  4. The data is moved to aggregated tables.

Basically, when the Perfmon Reports are not showing all data, most of the time the data is present in the Data Warehouse, but is not processed completely. Somewhere it is stuck. By removing the cause of it, the Reports will functioning again. Of course, it takes some time for the data being processed (depending on the total amount of data in the DW), but finally, the Reports end up just fine again.

Let’s get back to this posting now.

Besides the EventID mentioned in the title of this posting, the RMS showed many of these EventID’s as well:

  • 31557
    • Failed to obtain synchronization process state information from Data Warehouse database,
  • 31561
    • Failed to enumerate (discover) Data Warehouse objects and relationships among them,
  • 31569
    • Report deployment process failed to request management pack list from Data Warehouse,
  • 31552
    • Failed to store data in the Data Warehouse.

Especially the last EventID contained good additional information: ‘Exception 'SqlException': A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections’.

This MG was already running a long time without any issues. Only an update of the DNS MP had taken place, nothing else. Since the last EventID pointed the finger to the SQL server it was time to check this server out. This is what the System event log of the SQL server showed:

After having talked with the engineers running these servers it turned out that the VMs weren’t configured correctly. The VM for the SQL server ran an iSCSI initiator. But this is not OK. So they changed it in VMware itself to a raw LUN-mapping and assigned it to the VM hosting the SQL Server instance.

After that most of the errors in the OpsMgr event log were gone. Only EventID 31552 remained, coming from the Exchange 2010 MP. No more errors about the network:

Danielle Grandini, a fellow MVP, already blogged about this issue, to be found here.

However, I am not the type of person to modify SPs by hand. So I skipped this option and used another approach: I removed the culprit MP (the Exchange 2010 MP) and afterwards I deleted the whole Dataset (Microsoft.Exchange.2010.Reports.Dataset.Availability) from the Data Warehouse causing all these issues with a certain SP. Got this one from CSS a while back. I will NOT share it.

Afterwards the event log of the RMS turned back to normal again. No more issues. No warnings, no errors. And believe or not, the Reports came back to live again! So all perf data was to be found again. How nice and neat!

I only imported the Exchange 2010 MP and left out the Report MP, hoping the Reporting MP also contains this Data Set and rule. Will see that within a few days I guess. Can’t wait until a new Exchange 2010 MP ships, WITHOUT this issue…

Thursday, March 3, 2011

MVP Summit 2011

No. Can’t tell anything about it. So I am careful here. But all I can say it ROCKS!

It ended officially yesterday but our group is very fortunate to have two additional days, packed with many sessions. So MVP Summit 2011 for the SCOM MVPs last until Friday the 4th of March. Nice!

Met many new people and learned (and still am learning) tons of new stuff. Exciting days it have been with two more to go.