Monday, July 30, 2012

Update Rollups explained

In a small posting the OM12 engineers explains the philosophy behind the Update Rollups.

For any one involved with any SC2012 product this is a must read since the article contains good information. The posting can be found here.

Update Rollup 2 for SC2012 is released

For more then a week now UR#2 for SC2012 (and therefore for OM12 as well) is released.

Want to know more about UR#2 for SC2012? Go here. For more information about UR#2 for OM12 go here. For a detailed installation guide about installing UR#2 one can use this posting of Kevin Holman (even though it’s about installing UR#1, the procedure is exactly the same).

Remark I
Even though the RU#2 OM12 KB article states the MPs aren’t updated that isn’t true: These MPBs (Management Pack Bundles) are higher versions:

  • Microsoft.SystemCenter.Visualization.Library.mpb
  • Microsoft.SystemCenter.WebApplicationSolutions.Library.mpb

Remark II
Every latest RU contains the previous RUs as well, as stated in this posting by the OM12 engineering team:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Holiday – Vacance – Urlaub – Vakantie – Semester – праздник - Maintenance Mode

For the next three weeks I won’t be in the cloud, whether it’s private, public, hybrid or community based.

Instead I’ll be enjoying live with my family and without any System Center component. In other words, I’ll be on HOLIDAY. Therefore my blog will be silent for those three weeks as well.

Thanks everyone for visiting my blog and your comments. After my break there will a lot to blog about like SC 2012, Private Cloud and the lot.  For any one going on holiday as well: enjoy yourself and have a good time. Until next time.

Downloadable VMs for System Center 2012 SP1 CTP2 Evaluation Now Available!

For a day one can download VMs containing the SC 2012 SP1 CTP2 evaluation. Saves a lot of time when one wants to test these products.

Want to know more? Go here.

New book: Microsoft Private Cloud Computing

Even though I have mentioned this book before, I want to give it even more exposure since it’s a very good book with much hands on advice and experience.

The book I am talking about is Microsoft Private Cloud Computing written by the best minds of this moment: Aidan Finn, Hans Vredevoort, Patrick Lownds and Damian Flynn.

I have bought this book (electronic, the Kindle edition) and it’s hard to put away. It’s written in an accessible style and contains some humor as well. The book starts from scratch talking about what exactly a cloud is. And this topic shows the way how the authors think: instead of cooking up definition number xyz of cloud computing they refer to a solid and world wide recognized source: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). So the authors know when to let the other experts talk and step aside.

From that point on the book focuses more and more on the Private Cloud and the two pillars: App Controller and Virtual Machine Manager. Rapidly they take a deep dive and talk about all the hardware enabling the Private Cloud: storage, networking, servers hosting the VI layer and so on. After that the components App Controller and Virtual Machine Manager are described in all their details along with advices how to make the best of them, combined with the public cloud, Azure.

For my profession I have read many technical books. Some of them were really good but too many of them left me with many unanswered questions. This book however is one of the best I have read until now. I learn a lot from it and many topics are covered in all their details alongside with advices based on real life experiences. It gives you all there is to know about the Private Cloud based on System Center 2012 technology. Whether you have to work with it as a system engineer, sell, design and implement it as a consultant or know about it as an IT manager. Any one involved with the private cloud based on Microsoft technologies (System Center 2012), whether you’re an engineer, consultant or manager, should buy this book.

TechNet Gallery - Resources for IT Professionals

Microsoft has a special website which allows IT Professionals to upload and download resources and applications for all kinds of Microsoft technologies, like (but not limited to) Windows Server 2008 R2, Sharepoint, Windows 7 and System Center.

The website itself can be found here. One can also search the website, for instance on Management Packs. This query shows some interesting results, like these ones:

  1. Sample management pack for Windows Azure application
  2. Management Pack Compare Util
  3. Unix/Linux Management Pack for System Center Service Manager
  4. Sample Network Management Pack for System Center 2012 Operations Manager
  5. Management Pack to extend the Data Warehouse to include your Incident logs
  6. Not a MP but a very useful script: Get List of Management pack overrides creates 2 days ago

As you can see, it’s a website which contains good useful materials.

OM12 & adding network devices: Recommended Steps

Cameron Fuller posted an excellent article about the recommended steps before adding network devices to an OM12 Management Group.

Even though those steps might seem like a lot of work, it goes way much faster compared to troubleshooting network devices which can’t be added to an OM12 Management Group. Since there can be tons of reasons why it goes wrong many times cases like that are nothing more but goose chases.

With the steps Cameron describes, one can elevate such scenario’s. Want to know more? Go here.

All credits go to Cameron Fuller who shares this information. Awesome!

Windows Server 2012 Server Manager & PowerShell 3.0 Quick Reference Guides

Some weeks ago Microsoft released some very good reference guides all about Windows Server 2012 Server Manager and PowerShell version 3.0.

Want to know more? Go here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New System Center products, new blog style!

For some time now I wanted an overhaul of my blog style. Took me some time since I didn’t want to loose the dynamic template of my blog. However, as time went by and the new System Center 2012 components became general available, it became apparent I had to do something about it. So after long thinking and testing I decided to say goodbye to the dynamic template and go for the static.

So for the last few weeks I have worked in the evenings in order to find the right style for my blog. I even used a Wacom look-a-like tablet in order to design the new background! All that time I told no one about it, in order to keep it sharp.

Yesterday evening (and night!) I set everything ready and tested it (again) in order to know for sure all’s well. And finally I gave it the green light.

Since many of my readers are US based I waited for them to ‘wake up’ before enabling the new style of my blog. Personally I am very proud of it. Has a new look & feel and also introduces the Metro style interface of Windows 8. And shows the new logo of the System Center 2012 product as well.

Of course, good ideas are never born on it self. Like this one I had some good sources of inspiration like this posting of my fellow MVP Cleber Marques who created some cool desktop wallpapers based on the System Center 2012 logo and the Metro interface. I hope Cleber doesn’t mind I used his wallpaper as the main source of inspiration for the background of my blog.

Let me know what you think about it, and when you have some comments please tell me why you think so. After all, this blog isn’t about me but for the community so it must be an accessible and easy to read blog.

SC 2012 Licensing, Let’s Complify. Part V: Last but not least: Some Q & A

Postings in the same series:
Part ITeaser
Part IILet’s meet Contoso!
Part III – Know What You Have
Part IV – Time To Do Some Math

In the last posting of this series I’ll do some Q&A containing some interesting stuff. At least, IMO it’s interesting. While cooking up this series I bumped into some interesting questions and scenario’s as well. Also I got some interesting questions from some readers of my blog which I’ll answer as well using this Q&A approach. Let’s start.

  1. When do I have to license the monitoring of network devices?

    : With OM12 I am able to monitor network devices out of the box. Do I need SC 2012 licenses for it as well, from the moment I start to monitor network devices or is it free up to a certain layer of the OSI model?

    A01: Monitoring network devices with OM12 is free up to the third layer of the OSI model, which basically means routers, bridges and switches. From OSI model layer 4 and higher one has to purchase SC 2012 licenses, Standard edition. For example, a firewall requires a SC license since such a device can be looked upon as a physical server with an OS.

  2. Can I use both SC 2012 license editions for network devices as well?

    Q02: Is there any way to use the Data Center edition of the SC 2012 licenses for monitoring network devices as well?

    A02: No, there isn’t. Per monitored network device starting from layer 4 of the OSI model or higher, you must purchase a Standard edition of the SC 2012 licenses.

  3. Does the type of hypervisor influence the SC 2012 licenses?

    Q03: My company doesn’t use Microsoft Hyper-V but Citrix Xen Server/VMware instead. Does this have any consequences for the SC 2012 licenses?

    A03: The SC 2012 licensing methodology is hypervisor agnostic, i.e., it doesn’t matter which hypervisor is being used (XenServer, vSphere, KVM, Hyper-v etc.). The only thing that is relevant is the number of CPUs that the virtualization host contains.

  4. What about SC 2012 Management Servers becoming end-points for other SC 2012 components?

    Q04: I know I don’t need a license for any SC 2012 Management Server role since I only need to license the ‘end-points’ for SC 2012. But how about this: I have two OM12 Management Servers in place and Orchestrator as well. Now I use Orchestrator to manage some Alerts in OM12. So for Orchestrator these OM12 Management Servers become end-points as well. Do I need to license these OM12 Management Servers as well now?

    A04: Indeed, when anything touched – whether directly or indirectly - by SC2012 is an end-point, it needs proper SC 2012 licenses as well. In this case you have two OM12 Management Servers in place. On itself, these OM12 Management Servers don’t need SC 2012 licenses. But with Orchestrator in place which connects to the OM12 Management Group in order to run activities against them, ALL OM12 Management Servers become end-points for Orchestrator. So in this case, both OM12 Management Servers require SC 2012 licenses. 

  5. What about Console connections. Do they need licenses as well?

    Q05: I hear different things about SC 2012 licenses for SC 2012 Management Servers. From some sources I have been told I need to license the SC 2012 Management Servers as well since I use it for Console connections as well. Is this true? I have checked all Microsoft online resources about SC 2012 licensing but I can’t find anything about that.

    A05: The answer is simple: No, you don’t need any SC 2012 license for a Console connection to any SC 2012 Management Server. The only situation where you need SC 2012 licenses for your SC 2012 Management Servers is when they become and end-point themselves for any SC 2012 component, like described in Q/A04.

  6. How about SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition? For SC 2012 it is free, when using Enterprise edition do I get a discount?

    Q06: For any SC 2012 component, SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition is free, as long as it’s solely used for hosting SC 2012 database/reporting functionality. However, for running Audit Collection Services (ACS) we need the Enterprise edition of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1. Is there any discount on it? Like: Enterprise edition – Standard edition = the price we have to pay?

    A06: SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition is free indeed. But when you want to run another edition, you’ll have to pay for it, with no discounts. The price you pay is based on the contracts and agreements your company has in place.

  7. Do I need SC 2012 licenses for the SQL Servers solely used for SC 2012 as well?

    : I have a bunch of SQL Servers, based on the Standard edition of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1, dedicated to SC 2012 in place. Since I don’t need SC 2012 licenses for SC 2012 Management Servers, are the SQL Servers in the same position as well?

    A07: No, the SQL Servers used for SC 2012, no matter what edition, require proper SC 2012 licenses. At least when you want to manage those SQL Servers by any SC 2012 component that is. When you have OM12 in place I’ll bet you want to monitor those SQL Servers as well. So they become end-points for a SC 2012 component, thus requiring SC 2012 licenses. 

  8. Are the Server OS licenses for SC 2012 servers and SQL Servers for SC 2012, free as well?

    Q08: Since I don’t need SC 2012 licenses for SC 2012 Management Servers (as long as they aren’t end-points for any other SC 2012 products) and don’t SQL Server licenses for SQL Servers hosting SQL databases and Reporting functionality solely for SC 2012 components, how about the licenses for the Server Operating System of those servers? Are they free as well?

    A08: You still need to license the Operating System of those servers, whether they are SC 2012 Management Servers or SQL Servers for SC 2012 components. No matter whether those SC 2012 Management Servers are SC 2012 end-point or not or what version of SQL Server those servers run.

  9. We use SQL HA clusters for our SC 2012 products, based on SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition. How about the licenses?

    Q09: Since we like the High Availability out-of-the-box feature of OM12, we have decided to make OM12 high available as well. Therefore we will run the OM12 database on a dedicated two node SQL Server cluster, based on SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition (Yes, SQL Server Standard edition allows HA Clustering, on a maximum of two nodes). The same goes for the OM12 Data Warehouse database which will be hosted on a dedicated two node SQL HA Cluster as well. SQL Server Reporting Services will be hosted on a dedicated SQL Server instance. So in total we need 5 SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard editions. We will use them for OM12 functionality only. Do we have to buy SQL Server licenses or not? If so, how many?

    A09: Microsoft is generous here. When SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition is solely used for hosting SC 2012 functionality, those SQL Server instances don’t need SQL Server licenses. In this case you run 5 SQL Server instances (four of them clustered in two SQL HA Clusters with two nodes each) and a single SQL Server instance for SQL Server Reporting Services, all dedicated to OM12. So all these five SQL Server instances don’t need SQL Server licenses. Please be reminded that in order to create SQL Server HA Clusters, the servers themselves require at least the Enterprise edition of Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 to be installed on those nodes which require proper licenses as well.

  10. We’re all in. I mean, we run apps in the cloud (Azure/Amazon). Those servers are managed by SC 2012. How about the licenses?

    Q10: We have multiple apps running in the cloud (Azure/Amazon). We manage those apps with SC 2012 as well. How do I cover those apps with proper SC 2012 licenses? I mean, Azure/Amazon is a PaaS cloud service offering, so I have no idea nor the means to license the servers hosting those VMs which run the apps. So I need to cover the apps (VMs) themselves, that’s how far we can go.

    A10: When you have Software Assurance (SA) in place, there is a component called ‘License Mobility’. With this you can assign SC 2012 licenses to applications running in the public cloud. With the Standard edition you can manage 2 virtual Operating System Environments (OSEs) in a public cloud, with the Data Center edition you can manage up to 8 OSEs in the public cloud. Check this website for more information.

Hopefully this series of blog postings made the new SC 2012 licensing model a bit clearer. I know, licensing can be daunting and overwhelming. From my own experience I know that even LARs/VARs can give confusing answers. So always check and double check. Use multiple sources and don’t hesitate to contact the local Microsoft office. On top of it, try to understand the new licensing model yourself. That way you stay in control and get the best prices without being in breach of contract.

A website which is really helpful with SC 2012 licensing is: This website is a great start in the SC 2012 licensing world.

This series of posting couldn’t have been written by me alone. Of course, I did the writing and cooked up the imaginary company Contoso with the SC 2012 licensing scenario, but the research and more important, the CORRECT answers and the checking of the articles before they were actually posted, is done by Microsoft Netherlands. I owe Martin Sih and Stefan Stranger a couple of beers since these two guys spent their valuable time in order to get my postings just right.

And last but not least, a word of gratitude to Cameron Fuller and Marcus Oh, both fellow MVPs. While having a conversation with them about SC 2012 licensing the idea of writing this series of postings was born. And not just that, they helped me with the first steps in this process.

So thank you guys for helping me out. That’s the true spirit of the community!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

SCOM R2 Alert: ‘SQL Server cannot authenticate using Kerberos because the Service Principal Name (SPN) is missing, misplaced, or duplicated.’

08-01-2012 Update:
Jonathan Almquist has posted an excellent posting about the technical details of this faulty monitor. To be found here

07-04-2012 Update
Even though the resolution mentioned in this posting (first posted on the 3rd of April 2012) worked for my test environment, it turns out this Alert is a bug as well. Tabish Ansari
already pointed it to me, but back then I didn’t share his opinion about this Alert, being a bug.

Case is this Monitor ‘Service Principal Name Configuration Status’ is targeted against SQL Server 2012 DB Engines. However, this Monitor runs against SQL 2008 DB Engine class as well. On the TechNet Forums this issue is explained by SME-45: ‘…it looks for the right SPNs but is unable to detect that a SQL-Server which runs as NT AUTHORITY\NETWORKSERVICE is the right one for SPN FQDN.So it sees 2 different names and complains. When SQL runs as Domain Account this logic runs perfect but for Local System and Networkservice the Script just makes no sense…’

Therefore it’s best to disable this Monitor for now since this Monitor raises false-positives.

Thanks to Tabish Ansari and the TechNet Forums.

Bumped into this issue in my test environment which I am building for the new series of blog postings about migrating from SCOM R2 CU#5 to OM12. The SQL server threw this Warning Alert in the SCOM R2 Console: ‘SQL Server cannot authenticate using Kerberos because the Service Principal Name (SPN) is missing, misplaced, or duplicated.’:

So the SPN for the SQL server was missing. Time for some action! However, the command as stated in the same Alert under the tab Product Knowledge wasn’t going to work:

In my days being a system engineer I have fought a battle or two with SPNs and those syntaxes were a bit longer. Time to search for the correct syntax.

Soon I found it on this website, all about configuring SPNs for SQL Server Site Database Servers:

In my case it translated to:
setspn -A MSSQLSvc/SCOM-DB01.scom2om12.local:1433 scom2om12\scomsql

I ran this line from an elevated cmd-prompt on the SQL server with an account with domain admin permissions. I ran for a minute and then I got the message all was fine. And indeed, the Alert doesn’t come back anymore.

Case closed.