Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

Hi all.

As you might have noticed this blog is a bit silent for the past few days. Why? Simply because I am enjoying a week of everything but System Center related issues, which is awesome.

From the 2nd of January I’ll be back and sharing some good things (I guess), so stay tuned.

For now I wish you all a Happy New Year!
(This photo is taken by me on the 22nd of December at the entrance of this Chinese restaurant.)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Quick Fix: Register 4.0 With IIS Windows Server 2012

Bumped into an issue where 4.0 wasn’t registered with IIS running on Windows Server 2012. Before that Server OS the solution was an easy one: simply follow this posting of mine and all is fine again.

HOWEVER, Windows Server 2012 and later don’t support that anymore and the ONLY fix is removing IIS and reinstalling it with 4.0. But that’s way too much and takes too much time, effort and resources.

Quick Fix
Thanks to Google I found two articles about how to fix this WITHOUT removing and reinstalling IIS:

    1. Open IIS Manager and select the webserver and select Modules (found under header IIS);
    2. Double click on it, so you open Modules, and remove the module ServiceModel;
    3. Go back to IIS Manager, select the webserver again in IIS, and select Handler Mappings (found under header IIS);
    4. Remove the handler svc-Integrated;.
    5. Restart IIS by using an elevated cmd prompt and issue this command: IISRESET <enter>;
    6. When IIS is running again add WCF by going to "Turn Windows Features On and Off" and enable .NET Framework 4.5 Features > WCF Services > HTTP Activation;
    7. Restart IIS by using an elevated cmd prompt and issue this command: IISRESET <enter>.

Now the SCOM 2012 Web Console will be fully functional WITHOUT reinstalling IIS Smile.

A big word of thanks to the authors of these two articles I used for this solution:


OM12 Issue: SCOM Reports Not Updated & Not Working

Bumped into an issue where the latest MPs contained Reports which weren’t uploaded at all to SCOM Reporting. Took me a while to crack it but finally I found KB2771934 which was the starting point of the solution to this issue.

Causes & fixes
As it turned out there were multiple causes which joint forces Smile in order to frustrate the SCOM Reporting process in many kind of ways.

  1. The object Data Warehouse Synchronization Server was a goner. KB2771934 helped me in fixing that;
  2. The SCOM Data Warehouse Read account was lacking proper permissions. TechNet has some good articles about it, like this one and the online deployment guide Based on that information I set the permissions as required;
  3. There were also multiple time outs where the Management Servers couldn’t write their information to the Data Warehouse database or read from it (important for SCOM in order to know what Reports to upload to the SSRS instance). After some tweaking and tuning the SQL server got a bit more space to operate which reduced these errors enormously.

Afterwards the Reports were updated again: the old outdated Reports removed since their related MPs weren’t present anymore and the newest Reports, based on the MPs which were imported lately, showed up in SCOM Reporting.

To Do List When Adding Additional SCOM Management Server To Existing MG

When a SCOM Management Group (MG) is already in place for some time and an additional SCOM Management Server is added to it later on, their are quite a few steps one must do in order to get it working properly. When forgetting one of those steps it might result in a SCOM MG showing erratic behavior.

Mind you all these steps take place AFTER the new SCOM Management Server is installed. Also good to know, this To Do List is based on OM12 SP1.

A BIG word of thanks to Bob Cornellissen for updating this posting with many new items for this list.

  1. Antivirus exclusions
    Please make sure the new SCOM Management Server uses the same AV policy as the other SCOM Management Server. So the correct folders and processes are excluded from AV scans. Check KB975931 for more information.

  2. Certificates
    When using Gateway Servers and/or monitoring servers using certificates, make sure the new SCOM Management Server gets a valid certificate as well. And don’t forget to configure it properly.

  3. Firewall
    Make sure all the firewalls, either running on your Windows Server hosting the new SCOM Management Server role and the dedicated network firewalls, accept the traffic coming from the new SCOM Management Server. Also read this posting of my fellow MVP buddy Bob Cornelissen since it might prevent a lot of hassle.

  4. Resource Pools
    Make sure the new SCOM Management Server is added to the proper Resource Pools so it adheres to the original design.

  5. UNIX/Linux monitoring
    When monitoring UNIX/Linux systems and the new SCOM Management Server will become a member of that Resource Pool, make sure it has the proper certificates in place. Not only its own certificate but also the certificates of all the other Resource Pool members. Also the other Resource Pool members must get the certificate of the new SCOM Management Server as well. Kevin Holman wrote an excellent posting about it, to be found here. Look for the header Configure the Xplat certificates.

  6. Special MPs
    Sometimes special MPs are in place, requiring additional actions on the new SCOM Management Servers. Examples are the NetApp MP, SharePoint 2013 MP.

  7. Console extensions
    Some third party tools extend the SCOM Console, like Savision Live Maps. So install those Console extensions on the new SCOM Management Servers as well.

  8. Registry and/or config file modifications
    If you have implemented custom registry or config file settings on your management servers, don’t forget to implement those as well. Often it is advisable or required to have these settings the same on all management servers in the resource pool or management group.

  9. Run As Accounts & their related Run As Profiles
    It could be that certain runas accounts are set to more secure distribution and you had selected the initial Management Server(s). If so make sure you add the new Management Server as well to the distribution of such accounts.

  10. Custom scripts modifications
    If you are using custom scripts running on management servers for custom monitoring or command based notification channels, remember to copy those to the new management servers.

  11. Custom MP modifications
    You could have custom management packs, such as Backup Unsealed MP’s, which are set to backup to a directory on disk. In these kind of cases confirm that files and directories exist and that overrides which were set to target specific management servers are also applied to the new management servers if applicable. There could be some overrides you have made in management packs which target specific management servers. These need to be evaluated if those are needed on the new Management Server as well.

  12. Custom monitoring modifications
    Check other custom monitoring you have implemented that uses certain management servers as monitoring agents, such as web page checks. Of course only in case you want the new server to do the same kind of workflows, or if a new management server is eventually going to replace an existing one.

This covers it all and enables you to enroll successfully an additional SCOM Management Server to an existing MG without bumping into issues after it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Free eBook: Introducing System Center 2012 R2

Even though this book was announced to be released in January 2014 it’s already available
cover for Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2







The book is downloadable as PDF, ePub and Mobi file. Want to know more and get if for free? Go here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Free eBooks All About System Center 2012

As we all know, Microsoft has released of FREE ebooks lately, all about the latest releases of their products. Many of those ebooks cover System Center 2012 and there are more to come.

What to think about these released ebooks all about System Center 2012 (R2):

Released Sept 2013
System Center Configuration Manager Field Experience
Released Oct 2013

Released Nov 2013

System Center Cloud Management with App Controller
Released Nov 2013

And there is even more in the pipeline:

  1. System Center: Optimizing Service Manager (coming in December 2013)
  2. System Center: Network Virtualization and Cloud Computing (coming in December 2013)
  3. System Center: Building a Virtualized Network Solution (coming in Jan 2014)
  4. System Center: Integrated Cloud Platform (coming in Jan 2014)
  5. Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 (coming in Jan 2014)

This information is copied from this webpage.

SCOM & BizTalk: Some Good Resources

Today I had to roll out the BizTalk MPs for BizTalk 2010, 2009, 2006 R2 and 2006.

On itself this MP can be a bit of challenge to get it up and running. Also because BizTalk itself can be quite complicated on itself which makes monitoring it properly through SCOM a challenge. But when the MPs are in place and properly configured you’ll get a lot of information back from it. So it’s worth the effort.

It goes without saying that both guides for both BizTalk MPs require a lot of attention. These guides aid you in configuring them properly.

None the less, additional information is welcome and I am glad that I found two additional sources of information, all about monitoring BizTalk with SCOM. One source I found myself (thank you Google Smile) and another source was given to me by someone else.

Since these sources contain so much good information I want to share them with you on my blog:

  1. Microsoft Developer Network: Monitoring BizTalk Server
    Even though this site still talks about MOM 2005 or Operations Manager 2007 (duh!!!), this site still contains TONS of good relevant information. It also sheds good light on why certain components of BizTalk require additional attention.

  2. KB2449532: Common Issues and Resolutions with the BizTalk Server Administration console
    This KB article also takes monitoring with SCOM into account and goes very deep into detailed troubleshooting in order to get your BizTalk environment and SCOM working together as they’re supposed to be.

Personally I am happy with these two resources since they start where the two BizTalk MPs stop.

Updated MP: Windows Server 2012 R2 Message Queuing 6.3

Yesterday Microsoft released an updated version of the MSMQ MP, version 7.1.10100.0. This MP supports Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Message Queuing 6.3.

MP can be downloaded from here.

This MP works from SCOM 2012 RTM or higher!

Updated MP: Windows BranchCache MP for OM12

Yesterday Microsoft released the newest version of the Windows BranchCache MP for OM12, version 7.1.10100.0, which supports Windows Server 2012 R2.

MP can be downloaded from here.

This MP works from SCOM 2012 SP1 or higher!

The Maze Of Update Rollup Packages For OM12 RTM & OM12 SP1

As we all have noticed, Microsoft is gaining more momentum per month resulting in new versions of the System Center 2012 product and the related components. On top of it all there are the Update Rollups which keep coming as well. Perhaps not on a the expected regular basis but still, there are many Update Rollups out there.

With all these different versions and their respective Update Rollups being available it’s easy to lose track of it all and even harder to get this simple question answered: What Update Rollup do I require for my current SCOM 2012 xyz environment?

Gladly Microsoft has published KB2906925, all about the available Update Rollup Packages for OM12 RTM and OM12 SP1. Per Update Rollup Package Microsoft tells what has changed (or not). So now you’re able to see on single webpage what Update Rollup your environment requires.

Since we all know that the latest two to three monthly patch cycles contained foul updates/patches and that even some Update Rollups contained issues, I have taught myself a new Best Practice: To wait at least six weeks with applying the latest available Update Rollup so at least I have some certainty that this Update Rollup contains no ‘hidden features’…

Free Guide: SCOM 2012 R2 HA options with Server 2012 and SQL 2012

Fellow MVP Paul Keely has written an excellent guide all about the options available for deploying SCOM in a HA configuration using Microsoft technologies. He starts off with a base SCOM design, and then goes through clustering, SQL AlwaysOn, Stretched Clusters and HyperV replica.

For anyone involved with SCOM 2012 designs, deployments, stress testing and optimization this guide is a MUST HAVE. Simply because this guide is based on real life experiences and is totally free of marketing mumbo jumbo Smile.

A BIG word of thanks to Paul for sharing this kind of knowledge and experience. Awesome!!!

The guide can be downloaded from here.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Updated MP: HP Storage MP

Some weeks ago I implemented the latest version of the HP Storage MP.

More then a year before that I had some serious issues with this MP since it contained too much noise, bad Discoveries and polluted the presentation in the SCOM Console. So I feared the worst.

HOWEVER… It turned out that HP had really listened to its customers since the MP has improved significantly. Examples: The noise is reduced, the MP is split up now, so you only get to see those items which are relevant to you and not – like before – presented with all the types of SANs HP delivers. Also the bad Discoveries are gone now.

So that’s a huge improvement and also the level of monitoring has become way much better. So compliments to HP for a job well done!

And now this MP is updated to the latest version in order to deliver full support for SCOM 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 (mind you, I rolled out the previous version on both type of platforms and it worked without any issues at all but the documentation didn’t list it as supported environments Smile).

When you want to know more about this MP and what’s new, go here.

Again compliments for HP for delivering good MPs for monitoring their storage solutions with SCOM. And when you do have comments on their latest version of this MP know that they listen. Simply leave a good comment on the same website and they know.

Dell MP Suite Now Qualified For System Center 2012 R2

Taken directly from the website of Dell (thank you Aidan Finn Smile): “…We have qualified all the Management Pack suites listed below on the latest version of OpsMgr and updated the documentation for R2 support…”
  1. Dell Server MP Suite
    Discover, inventory and monitor Dell PowerEdge servers (agent-based option with Windows/OpenManage Server Administrator and agent-free option using WSMAN for 12th Generation of Dell PowerEdge Servers), Chassis Management Controllers using SNMP &  iDRACs using SNMP.  
    Download: version 5.1 , Documentation

  2. Dell Client MP
    Discover, inventory and monitor Dell Client PCs running Windows and OpenManage Client Instrumentation (OMCI)
    Download: version 5.0 , Documentation

  3. Dell Printer MP
    Discover, inventory and monitor Dell Printers using SNMP
    Download version 5.0, Documentation

  4. Dell MD Storage Array MP Suite
    Discover, inventory and monitor Dell PowerVault MD Storage arrays
    Download version 5.0, Documentation

  5. Dell EqualLogic MP Suite
    Inventory and monitor Dell EqualLogic storage arrays using SNMP
    Download version 5.0, Documentation

Please mind this:
The Chassis Modular Server Correlation feature of the Server MP Suite is not supported on R2

Free eBook: Cloud Management with App Controller

Some weeks ago Microsoft Press released a new FREE e-book, all about managing your cloud (s) with App Controller.

Content: ‘…App Controller is uniquely positioned as both an enabler and a self-service vehicle for connecting clouds and implementing the hybrid computing model. In Microsoft’s cloud computing solutions, both System Center and Windows Azure play critical roles…”

And: “…This book serves as an introduction to implementing and managing the hybrid computing solutions using App Controller. It describes the basic concepts, processes, and operations involved in connecting, consuming, and managing resources that are deployed both on and off premises...’

Book can be downloaded in various formats (PDF, ePub and MOBI) from here.

COMING SOON! Free eBook: Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2

Expected in January 2014!

Microsoft Press will release a new FREE e-book all about Microsoft System Center 2012 R2.

Contents: ‘…Get a head start evaluating System Center 2012 R2 - with technical insights from a Microsoft MVP and members of the System Center product team. This guide introduces new features and capabilities, with scenario-based advice on how the platform can meet the needs of your business. Get the high-level overview you need to begin preparing your deployment now…’

The printed version can be bought at the same time the e-book becomes available through the normal channels like Amazon and O’Reilly for instance.