Monday, October 14, 2013

SCOM 2012 R2, SCOM 2012 SP1, SCOM 2012 RTM & Interoperability

Friday October the 18th Microsoft will release the R2 wave of Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012. I am sure this will be a pretty awesome show with much marketing mumbo jumbo.

But even without the obligate marketing sauce it’s still an impressive feat Microsoft pulls off: just a little more then 13 months (!) Windows Server 2012 became General Available (4 September 2012) Microsoft releases an immense updated version which just more than a ‘simple’ Service Pack. I’ve seen a lot of postings stating that point of View, but this isn’t the case at all.

So Microsoft is gaining momentum and IMHO this is only the beginning. This is the face of the new Microsoft of the new company all about services and devices, combined in One Microsoft.

R2 and SCOM 2012
The same goes for SCOM 2012 R2. Even though the changes compared to other SC 2012 R2 components aren’t that big, still there are some major changes under the hood like the move from the SCOM Agent - we all came to know since SCOM 2007 RTM – to the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA) which is way much more than a name change like I already blogged about.

X-Plat (UX Agent)
Another major change is the UX Agent. Microsoft drops the OpenPegasus framework, used for the UX Agents and moves on to the new open source technology, OMI (Open Management Infrastructure). Main reason is that OMI is far more better equipped for monitoring workloads running on mobile devices and cloud based environments.

For anyone monitoring UX based workloads with SCOM 2012 (RTM/SP1) technologies this might mean some additional work. To put it simply, when you monitor UX based workloads based on the UX Agent themselves and the information they provide (CPU, NIC, logical disks and so on) there is nothing amiss. These will be simply upgraded to the new UX Agent based on OMI and you’re fine.

But when you created additional Rules, Monitors, or even Discoveries and so on, these have to be rewritten in order to work with the new UX OMI based Agent.

Already third party vendors delivering MPs in order to monitor UX based workloads have rebuilt these very same MPs in order to run with UX OMI based Agents. So prepare yourself. And no, the OpenPegasus based Agent WON’T work with SCOM 2012 R2 based Management Servers.

MMA & previous SCOM versions
Even though Microsoft has the official support statement N-1 (N being the most current version) there is good news. Since for what I’ve seen and heard, the MMA (Microsoft Monitoring Agent) is backwards compatible with SCOM 2012 SP1 & SCOM 2012 RTM (with the latest CU applied) environments.

The latter is surprise but with the RC version of SCOM 2012 R2 this is the case. Changes are this will be the same for the RTM version. I will update this posting ASAP when SCOM 2012 R2 is RTM.

And no, SCOM 2012 SP1 based Agents WON’T work with SCOM 2012 R2 based Management Servers. So the approach is the same like updating from SCOM 2007 R2 CU#7 to SCOM 2012 RTM: you begin with the SCOM Agents.

How about Windows Server 2012 R2?
Even though the Supported Configurations page for SCOM 2012 SP1 doesn’t state it AND I haven’t tested it myself yet, I suppose the SCOM 2012 SP1 Agent to work on Windows Server 2012 R2. However, TEST it first (when I have found time to test it, I’ll update the posting accordingly) before you put it into production.

When looking at running SCOM 2012 SP1 Management Servers on Windows Server 2012 R2, I personally would only go for that approach when it’s officially supported by Microsoft. And when not, stay away totally from scenario’s like these.

Previous SCOM Management Groups and upgrade paths
This one is pretty straight forward. There is only ONE officially supported upgrade path to SCOM 2012 R2 based Management Groups: from SCOM 2012 SP1 (with a certain UR level I guess). Anything else ISN’T supported.

So when you’re still on SCOM 2012 RTM (with an CU level) this is the upgrade path to SCOM 2012 R2: SCOM 2012 RTM > SCOM 2012 SP1 > SCOM 2012 R2.

Stop that train or BOARD it!
And believe me, SCOM 2012 R2 isn’t the end station. Like stated before, the train is gaining momentum so expect an updated version of SCOM 2012 R2 within the next 16 months at the most. So when you’re still on SCOM 2012 RTM level (or any SC 2012 RTM component for that matter) NOW is the time to move to the latest version. Of course, you don’t have to do that now, but plan it for the first half of Q1 2014. Otherwise the upgrade path to the future edition of SC 2012 R2 will become way too long…

After RTM and GA
As soon as SCOM 2012 R2 goes RTM and becomes GA II ‘ll update at least 3 demo/test SCOM 2012 SP1 environments. Based on those experiences I will post a whole new set of blog articles all about those upgrade experiences and potential pitfalls. So stay tuned!

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Thanks for clarifying supportability and upgrade concerns in this post. I'm glad to hear the MMA will work with 2012 SP1 MG.