Monday, September 19, 2011

Management Packs: Shiny and Rusty Obsolete Cars

Before I start, I want you to know I thought this posting over and over. Like: ‘Should I post it or not?’ At the end I have decided to do so since I want my blog to be open and honest.

But also I want my blog NOT to be the place for flaming nor bashing. So this posting isn’t about attacking any one in any kind of way. I just want to share my thoughts about a component which is key to any SCOM/OM12 environment: The Management Pack. It brings the intelligence to your SCOM/OM12 environment.

The Road and the CAR…
Since no matter how fancy SCOM/OM12 is, it’s the infrastructure for your Monitoring Solution. It monitors itself. But you didn’t install SCOM/OM12 for that. You want to know how your hardware is doing, What about the server OS? Virtual Infrastructure? DNS? AD? DHCP? WINS? Exchange? The print servers?

This is where the Management Packs (MPs) come into play. The MPs are the components which enable SCOM/OM12 to monitor your ICT environment down to the nitty gritty details. For every service/application/functionality you want to monitor, you need a MP. So the SCOM/OM12 infra is like the roads and the MPs are like the cars which are customized in order to serve special purposes.

Let’s stay a while longer at this comparison. No matter how good the roads are, when you drive an old car with a broken suspension, the ride will be bad. But when you drive a new car with good suspension, you’ll have a good ride. Even when the roads aren’t that well maintained.

Same goes for MPs. They can make or break the total experience of your SCOM environment. No matter how good the SCOM/OM12 infra is. So to my opinion, the MPs must be top notch. So whenever there is a glitch in the SCOM/OM12 environment, the MPs will take care of it.

How about the MPs?
There are good things to be told to downright bad things and everything in between. Some MPs are like really shiny cars with all the polishing and extra’s, some of them are not totally OK but will still fit the bill and a few of them are just rusty, obsolete cars which must be scrapped.

As far as I am concerned, this is my personal list of them, all coming out of the car factory Microsoft:

  • Shiny Cars
    Like: Wow! I want MORE of them. Like driving a Ferrari or Rolls Royce. Everything is just perfect. Nothing needs to be done.

    - Core MP for SCOM R2
    - Exchange 2007 MP
    - Server OS MP

    - SQL

  • Budget Cars
    Like: I want to go from A to B for an economical price and reasonably safe and in comfort as well. Some polishing is needed. But the car itself feels right.

    - AD
    - DNS
    - SharePoint
    - Active Directory
    - IIS
    - Lync

  • Questionable Cars
    Like: Oops! Thought I bought a reasonable occasion but it doesn’t feel right. Should have spent a few more dollars. On the way back home I have to buy some tools and car parts…

    - ForeFront
    - DFS
    - Exchange Server 2003
    - SCCM
    - OCS 2007 R2

  • Rusty Obsolete Cars
    Like: Now I know why I only paid 10 dollars for it! Oops! Was that my left front wheel falling of? The brakes don’t react at all. Hopefully my insurance will cover the expenses…

    - WINS
    - Exchange 2010
    - DHCP
    - Print Server

Hopefully the cars coming out in the near future will become better and the last two categories (Rusty Obsolete Cars & Questionable Cars) will be gone for good. That way the total driving experience will only become better.

Wonder what you think about it. Happy driving all!


Anonymous said...

Thus far I agree with this. Cant see the third car though. I also had a lot of problems popup with the exch2010 mp and its additional service. Some mp's are also not being updated for a long time. In some cases we have waited for years to get a SCOM 2007 version MP instead of a converted MOM mp. For some programs there should still be management packs (forefront client security for one), although they do make an mp for the newer version (fep2010). The Biztalk mp is also not one that appears in the shiny car section in my opinion.
I still think it is good some people write about this as only some comments in forums from people running into issues is not enough it seems. Creating awareness and starting the discussion is the most important. And hopefully this gets picked up and get streamlined by the product groups. Just my two cents.
Bob Cornelissen

Anonymous said...

May I also remark that some product groups are also not participating quick enough in the process? For instance as far as I know there is no Print Server MP for Windows 2008 R2 and a lot of people have been asking for it and trying to get hold of product groups for some time. There are some workarounds created. I can say this is not within x days after RTM of the delivered product. This is just an example and not targetted at the specific product group.

Marc Klaver said...

I agree on this blog. But in general I don't think it is not supprising we have very rusty cars. I think with every new technology you will make initial mistakes and users (we) will always use a product differently then initialy forseen by the developers.

The bad thing is, that these rusty cars are still running (and required). They should have been replaced a long, long time ago.

There seem to be no maintenance on released management packs (with the exception of SQL?). And since we purchased SCOM just because of the management packs (created by those who know the best of a product) we would expect better maintenance and lifecycle policies of management packs.