Friday, January 31, 2014

New WMUG NL Event: All About SCOM!

On the 12th of February WMUG NL organizes an event all about SCOM. During this event three top notch speakers will share their knowledge and experience with SCOM. Agenda:
  1. Using PowerShell with System Center Operations Manager 2012 R2
    This session is presented by the Dutch PowerShell Guru himself, Stefan Stranger. This man eats, drinks, breathes and speaks PowerShell. So you want to learn about PS? Simply go to this session.

  2. Haal de mist uit je cloud monitoring met SCOM…
    Presented by Dieter Wijckmans from Belgium. Has a lot of knowledge and presents his sessions with a touch of humor. Always much to learn from his sessions.

  3. Business Service Management for System Center Operations Manager
    Presented by Dennis Rietvink, co-founder of Savision. Has a lot of knowledge of SCOM and not only a technical level but also on the business processes side of things.

So for anyone living in the Netherlands and interested to learn something about SCOM, this is THE event to attend. Go here to learn more and register yourself.

And a BIG word of thanks to VX Company for hosting this event.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Exam 74-409 & Microsoft Virtual Academy

Got this great advice when looking for some good resources on exam 74-409, Server Virtualization with Hyper-V and System Center which I want to share with you all.

Microsoft Virtual Academy has a course which is aimed at this exam and goes by the same name:

This course is presented by two people:

  1. Symon Perriman (Sr. Technical Evangelist);
  2. Corry Hynes (President & Lead Architect).

Corry (on the right) is the one doing the most talking here and he knows his stuff inside and out.

Where some MVA courses are nothing but commercials (and a waste of your time), this course really stands out since it contains real life information and not too much marketing mumbo jumbo.

Anyone involved with Hyper-V and looking for ways to obtain more information about Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2, this course is a MUST see and a MUST do.

And of course, a very thorough introduction to the related exam.

Last but not least, this course is FREE!!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Connecting SCVMM 2012 R2 With SCOM 2012 R2? Don’t Forget The Legacy MPs…

When connecting SCVMM with SCOM there are certain requirements to be met. On the SCOM side of things for instance you need the SQL, IIS and Server OS MPs to be in place. Otherwise the SCVMM MP – imported when integrating SCVMM with SCOM – won’t fly because of their references.

My test lab however runs for now only the ‘Latest & Greatest’. So it’s Windows Server 2012 R2 and all the SC 2012 R2 components. So why import MPs referring to older technologies? Let’s keep it lean & mean.

However, the SCVMM 2012 R2 integration with SCOM 2012 R2 didn’t succeed at the first run. This is the error message I got:

Yes, ALL the required MPs themselves were already imported. Only the parts referring to older technologies (IIS 2003 and IIS 2008) weren’t imported simply because they’re not present in the test lab.

However, the SCVMM MP refers to these older MP components and when missing it results in a failure of their import which bombs the fist integration attempt.

Until the SCVMM MP uses references to newer versions of the IIS MP, you’ll have to import these older IIS MPs. Otherwise the integration between SCVMM 2012 R2 and SCOM 2012 R2 won’t fly at all.

Quick Trick: Where Is SQL Server Configuration Manager After Updating To WS2012 R2?

A SQL 2012 Server running Windows Server 2012 RTM was successfully upgraded to Windows Server 2012 R2. All was well after the upgrade. SQL Server functioned just fine. But at a certain moment I required SQL Server Configuration Manager for some additional configuration tasks.

However, it turned out SQL Server Configuration Manager was missing!

SQL Server Configuration Manager is nothing but a snap-in for the MMC, residing in the ~\Windows\System32 folder. Even though the file itself (SQLServerManager11.msc) is still present, the registration was gone during the upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2.

Since the snap-in worked a repair of the installation wasn’t required. None the less, I wanted this SQL Server to be in good order. So I used this quick and dirty approach to remedy it:

  1. On a SQL server running the same version of SQL Server (2012 SP1) and installation features I opened the folder C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft SQL Server 2012;
  2. Copied the folder Configuration Tools to the same folder on the SQL Server with the missing link to SQL Server Configuration Manager.

After this all was fine again and all the correct links (with the correct icons!) were back again.

Windows Server 2012 R2: Installing Certificate Authority? Don’t Forget The Last Steps…

I installed an Enterprise CA on a Windows 2012 R2 Server. But when I tried to start the MMC for it I got this error message: Cannot manage active directory certificate services. The system cannot find the file specified: 0x800700002 (WIN32: 2 ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND).

As it turns out, when installing any CA role on Windows Server 2012 R2, additional configuration tasks are required, as shown in Server Manager:

Click on the link of that message and follow the required steps in the Wizard. Afterwards your CA will be up and running.

New Posters: WS 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization & Storage

Microsoft has published new posters which provide a visual reference for understanding key private cloud storage and virtualization technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2. They focus on understanding storage architecture, virtual hard disks, cluster shared volumes, scale-out file servers, storage spaces, data deduplication, Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, and virtual hard disk sharing.

Posters available for download:

  1. Hyper-V and Failover Clustering Mini Poster
  2. Scale-Out and SMB Mini Poster
  3. Storage Spaces and Deduplication Mini Poster
  4. Understanding Storage Architecture Mini Poster
  5. Virtual Hard Disk and Cluster Shared Volumes Mini Poster
  6. Virtual Hard Disk Sharing Mini Poster
  7. Windows Server 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization and Storage

Go get them from here.

New MP: SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services

Some days ago Microsoft released a new MP for monitoring SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services, version This MP runs from OM12 RTM and higher versions.

What the MP does? Taken directly from the webpage:

Monitoring Pack for SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services enables monitoring of the following features:

  • Instance of SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services running in one of these modes:
    • Multidimensional Mode
    • Tabular Mode
    • PowerPivot Mode
  • SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services Databases
  • SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services Database Partitions

Want to know more? Go here.

Update Rollup #5 For System Center 2012 SP1 Is Available

Microsoft released Update Rollup #5 for System Center 2012 SP1, to be found here.

However, BE CAREFUL with applying this update rollup package since Microsoft’s track record for the quality of these updates – like the patches released per month – isn’t that rock solid anymore.

This update rollup package contains NO updates/fixes for:

  • App Controller;
  • Service Manager;
  • Service Provider Foundation.

Affected System Center 2012 SP1 components are:

  • Data Protection Manager (2 issues fixed);
  • Virtual Machine Manager (10 issues fixed);
  • Orchestrator (4 issues fixed);
  • Operations Manager (8 issues fixed).

KB2904680 describes what’s in store for SCOM 2012 SP1 in this rollup update:

  1. An error occurs when you run the p_DataPurging stored procedure. This error occurs when the query processor runs out of internal resources and cannot produce a query plan.
  2. By default, data warehouse bulk-insert commands use an unchangeable 30-second time-out value that may cause query time-outs.
  3. Many 26319 errors are generated when you use the Operator role. This issue causes performance problems.
  4. Diagram component does not publish location information in the component state.
  5. Renaming a group works correctly on the console. However the group appears with the old name when you try to override a monitor or scope a view based on group.
  6. SCOM synchronization is not supported in the localized versions of Team Foundation Server.
  7. An SDK process deadlock causes the Exchange correlation engine to fail.

I advise you all strongly to be careful with this update rollup package. Read all the available documentation twice and install it in lab environments FIRST before moving to production. With this I would wait at least 4 weeks in order to see there aren’t any hidden ‘features’ which cause serious issues in your production environment.

Update Rollup #1 For System Center 2012 R2 Is Available

Microsoft released Update Rollup #1 for System Center 2012 R2, to be found here.

However, BE CAREFUL with applying this update rollup package since Microsoft’s track record for the quality of these updates – like the patches released per month – isn’t that rock solid anymore.

This update rollup package contains NO updates/fixes for:

  • App Controller;
  • Orchestrator;
  • Service Manager;
  • Service Provider Foundation.

Affected System Center 2012 R2 components are:

  • Data Protection Manager (3 issues fixed);
  • Virtual Machine Manager (13 issues fixed);
  • Operations Manager (10 issues fixed).

KB2904678 describes what’s in store for SCOM 2012 R2 in this rollup update:

  1. An error occurs when you run the p_DataPurging stored procedure. This error occurs when the query processor runs out of internal resources and cannot produce a query plan.
  2. Data warehouse BULK INSERT commands use an unchangeable, default 30-second time-out value that may cause query time-outs.
  3. Many 26319 errors are generated when you use the Operator role. This issue causes performance problems.
  4. The diagram component does not publish location information in the component state.
  5. Renaming a group works correctly on the console. However, the old name of the group appears when you try to override a monitor or scope a view based on group.
  6. SCOM synchronization is not supported in the localized versions of Team Foundation Server.
  7. An SDK process deadlock causes the Exchange correlation engine to fail.
  8. The "Microsoft System Center Advisor monitoring server" reserved group is visible in a computer or group search.
  9. Multiple Advisor Connector are discovered for the same physical computer when the computer hosts a cluster.
  10. A Dashboard exception occurs if the criteria that are used for a query include an invalid character or keyword.

I advise you all strongly to be careful with this update rollup package. Read all the available documentation twice and install it in lab environments FIRST before moving to production. With this I would wait at least 4 weeks in order to see there aren’t any hidden ‘features’ which cause serious issues in your production environment.

Installing App Controller 2012 R2? Don’t Forget To Remove The Old SQL Server Agent Jobs

When you install App Controller 2012 R2 and refer to a SQL Server instance that hosted a previous version of the App Controller SQL database you’ll get this error during the installation phase where you to configure the SQL Server database: App Controller SQL Agent jobs installed. App Controller instances cannot share SQL Server instance.

This issue – and other caveats where you might bump into – are described in the Release Notes of App Controller. The cause for this particular error message is that both SQL Agent Jobs (CloudManagerDailyJobGroomer and CloudManagerOrphanedJobMarker) belonging to the previous installation of App Controller are still in place.

Simply remove those two SQL Agent Jobs and you’re fine.

  1. Open SQL Server Management Studio and logon with an account which has sufficient permissions > go to SQL Server Agent > Jobs;
  2. You’ll find a long list with jobs, locate both jobs related to App Controller:
  3. Right click them and select Delete. Repeat this step for the other job as well.

Now the installation of App Controller will run just fine.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Quick Trick 01: Installing SCVMM Using DKM – How To Get The Correct Distinguished Name

When installing SCVMM 2012x it’s simply Best Practice to use Distributed Key Management (DKM) to store the encryption keys, even when SCVMM is installed on a single server.

Why? Simply because AD is a wonderful robust mechanism you already have so why not use it to store the required encryption keys for SCVMM? And many times later on it’s decided that SCVMM is way to critical to have it running on a single server. In situations like these it’s better to have those encryption keys stored in AD since it makes it far more easier to cluster SCVMM.

But many times people find themselves confronted with the installer of SCVMM telling them the required container can’t be made or located:

Even when the container is present and the required permissions properly configured as described by this TechNet article, it looks like the installer doesn’t work. Many times this error occurs because the entered Distinguished Name (DN)  is incorrect.

ADSI Edit to the rescue
Simply use ADSI Edit (used to create the same container) to get the proper DN following these 4 steps:

  1. Start ADSIEDIT with proper permissions, connect to Default naming context and select the container where you want to store the SCVMM encryption keys;
  2. Right click the folder > Properties > tab Attribute Editor > double click distinguishedName
  3. Copy the value of it and paste it in the Installer of SCVMM
  4. Now you know you’ve got the correct DN value. So when the SCVMM returns an error again at least you know you’ve entered the correct value for the DN which makes troubleshooting (incorrect permissions on that container) far more easy Smile.

Get Your Microsoft Virtualization Certification For FREE!!!

For a limited time Microsoft offers a LIMITED set of FREE vouchers to take exam 74-409, which gets you a certification in Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center.

For what I’ve heard this exam is a tough one but doable when you are an IT professional who is responsible for designing, implementing, managing, and maintaining a virtualization infrastructure.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Poor Man’s Test Lab + Windows Server 2012 R2 & Intel 82579 Gigabit NIC: Some Magic Required…

The nerd and a big pile of computers…
In the old days, being single and not having to care for anyone but myself, I had many computers running. Yes, the bill I paid to the company delivering the so much required juice for all those machines was happy with me being their customer. I ran almost all the software published by Microsoft back in those days, allowing me to learn a lot and also to know what I didn’t like at all.

All these computers, switches and so on were to be found in the whole house: the living room, a separate room and even in the bed room. Guess I was a geek in those days…

Single > living together > married > kids
Yes, that happened to me. And I am happy with it. But something had to give. So the Omni presence of the computers was reduced. Step by step it happened. First the computers retreated to the dedicated computer room.

When that was done, it wasn’t the end of it all but the start of the second phase. So soon the number of computers was reduced to only a few, stripping down the labs I had running to the bare essentials and sometimes even less.

But I didn’t care since my life was changing a lot and room had to be made for the kids

Loving Moore’s Law
Back in those days multiple computers were required in order to build yourself a proper test lab. But now, thanks to the ever speeding developments (hard- and software wise) this isn’t needed anymore.

Powerful processors have become cheap, same goes for high speed memory and SSD drives. So even for a relatively small budget one can build him/herself a very decent test lab running on a single computer. Combined with a proper hyper visor and you’re in business.

Desktop as a poor man’s test lab
Some time ago I purchased myself a powerful computer running a good CPU, 32 GBs of high speed RAM and two 256 GB super fast SSD drives. This PC became my test lab, running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 with Hyper-V, allowing me to run many VMs.

WS 2012 > WS 2012 R2 and no network!
Soon the upgrade to Windows Server 2012 happened and some time ago, the upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2. Even though Windows Server installs great on a huge set of different hardware, I had issues.

Actually, the same issue I experienced when installing Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and upgrading it to Windows Server 2012 RTM.

And now, upgrading to Windows Server 2012 R2 I was bitten by the same issue again: the NIC didn’t install!

NOT a Windows issue but Intel is a bit unfriendly…
However, as it turned out, it’s not a Windows issue at all. The system I use is meant to be a desktop. The Intel mobo has an onboard NIC, the Intel 82579 V Gigabit LAN. Even though the drivers are updated to support Windows 8.1 x64, these drivers DO NOT work with any Windows Server OS version. Simply because the driver blocks it!

Along came the community
However, I am not the only one, ‘pushing’ desktop systems to their limits and even beyond. So soon I found this posting by Ivo Beerens – which aided me in the past – all about getting this NIC to work on Windows Server 2012 RTM.

However, for Windows Server 2012 R2 things have changed slightly. I have adjusted the required steps in order to get it working for Windows Server 2012 R2. None the less, without Ivo’s posting I couldn’t have ake it work, so a BIG thanks to Ivo Beerens!

Taken directly from HIS posting. In RED are the changes required for Windows Server 2012 R2:

  1. To be able to modify the drivers you need to run the the following commands:
    • bcdedit -set loadoptions DISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
    • bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING ON
  2. Reboot the system
  3. Download the Intel drivers from the motherboard vendor or from Intel
  4. Extract the files to a temporary folder
  5. Open the folder PRO1000
  6. Open the folder Winx64
  7. Open the folder NDIS64
  8. Open the e1d64x64.inf file, I used Notepad++  to edit the file
  9. In the [ControlFlags] section delete ALL the 3 lines
  10. Select and copy the three E153B lines found under the header [Intel.NTamd64.6.3.1]
  11. Paste the 3 lines in the [Intel.NTamd64.6.3] section below the %E155ANC lines
  12. After the modifications the e1d64x64.inf file must look like this:
  13. Save the file
  14. Install the driver. This is where I used another method:
    1. Device Manager > select the disfunctional network device > Properties > Driver > Update Driver > choose Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer > Have disk > Browse > and select now the modified file (e1d64x64.inf).
    2. You’ll get the warning about installing an unsigned driver, ignore it. Follow the wizard and soon the NIC is in working condition!
  15. Enable the driver integrity checks and disable test signing again by using the following commands:
    • bcdedit -set loadoptions ENABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
    • bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING OFF
  16. Reboot the system.

And now your poor man’s lab is ready to ROCK!!!

Again, all credits go to Ivo Beerens since his posting pointed me in the right direction.

What Do YOU Think About The Exchange 2013 MP?

Update 2014-01-27
Talking about bad luck. As it turns out there were some issues with SkyDrive preventing people to access/modify the file. However, SkyDrive is back online now and fully functional. So to all the people out there, please submit your comments and I’ll see to it that it’s send to the proper people at Microsoft.

Hi all. Just wondering whether I can get good feedback from the community about the Exchange Server 2013 MP.

For myself I have an opinion about this MP. But this time I want to know what YOU think about it, based on personal real life experiences and not because someone else says/thinks so.

When I get some good feedback I’ll send that to the program managers involved with this MP. But only when I get some good information, like:

  1. Only first hand experiences;
  2. Actable information and detailed explanations;
  3. Screenshots when needed to explain a certain issue;
  4. Size of your Exchange 2013 environment (amount of servers involved, roles etc);
  5. Impressions of the MP:
    • What’s good about it and why?
    • What’s not so good about it and why?
    • What’s lacking and why?
  6. Time you have this MP in your environment;
  7. Overall experiences with this MP;
  8. Rating from 1 to 5 (1 = bad, 5 = excellent).

I tried to create a OneNote notebook on my SkyDrive but all I got were errors. Therefore I have created a Word document on my SkyDrive which you can use to enter your information and – when applicable – screenshots.

Since this document is open to anyone I hope all goes well and the document won’t be misused. Also remember when using screenshots to cover sensitive information like server names and so on.

Looking forward to receive some valuable feedback.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mother Of All Documents

Thanks to the blog of Thomas Lee I found a very interesting document, a FULL PDF of all the Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 documentation as found on the Microsoft TechNet Library.

Like the webpage of Download Center states:

I have downloaded this file and I am happy to have all this information in a SINGLE document. Considering the wealth of information it contains it isn’t that big actually but still takes up 110 MBs. And be careful with printing it since it contains 7970(!) pages Smile.

File can be downloaded from here.

Getting Started with System Center 2012 R2

Last Friday Microsoft published a new set of documents all about Getting Started with System Center 2012 R2.

This documentation is mainly targeted at audience who is new to System Center 2012 R2 and want to know more about it. It’s a good stepping stone to the more technical documentation found in the TechNet Library.

Documentation to be found here.

Microsoft Monitoring Agent 2013 Update 1 Preview

Last Friday Microsoft made the new PREVIEW version of the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA) available for download, version 1.60.1.

As you already know, MMA is capable of functioning WITHOUT a SCOM Management Group to report to. In that case it’s used as a part of Application Insights for Visual Studio Online, as a stand-alone monitoring tool.

Of course, the MMA is capable of operating with SCOM as well and is backwards compatible with older SCOM versions like SCOM 2007 R2 environments:

Please check out MMA Compatibility Matrix for more detailed information. And don’t forget to check out the requirements of the MMA as well:

Want to know more? Go here.

Elvis Re-entered The Building

The past
Some years ago when I started working with SCOM 2007 RTM it was a bumpy ride. Many ‘undocumented features’ were present in the RTM version of SCOM 2007, resulting in strange behavior of the SCOM environment.

Combined with MPs like the Exchange 2003 one, using the ‘fabulous’ Self Tuning Threshold (STT) Monitors (which were completely ditched in the last version of that MP since STT didn’t live up to its promise), you had an interesting mix...

Let’s Bing it…
So I needed information. Badly. But where to start since we’re talking about the undocumented features here. So Google became my best friend and soon I found some places on the web which contained really good information.

Blogs run by people like Anders Bengtsson, Cameron Fuller, Stefan Stranger, Kevin Holman, Pete Zerger and David Allen. Back then those were only names to me, now I consider them as friends Smile. Also their blogs helped me to get my own blog on track.

Where did it go?!
As time moved on, the list of good blogs changed. Some were added where others were removed. But one blog stayed for me on top of my personal list since it contained really helpful information. Deep technological understanding of the inner workings of SCOM combined with a rock solid explanation, and that for every posting, made this blog so special and really stand out. Also the pace of the postings being pumped out was amazing.

Since some blogs – which were good as well -  were removed from the internet, I went to certain lengths to preserve the postings from that blog in particular and others in general.

Whenever a new and interesting posting was added, I copied the contents into a Word document, gave it a proper title and saved it locally on my notebook. Later on I moved all those documents to my SkyDrive account so I could access that information from anywhere.

And man, those documents have really helped me on numerous occasions!

Elvis left the building
However, as time moves on things tend to change. So that particular blog which really rocked, became a bit silent because of a career move of the author of that blog. Other blogs took over but never got to that level in a consistent manner.

Even though new postings were added, the pace had grown less regular and the content was missing out on the deep technological level. Which was totally understandable since the author had moved from a deep technical approach to a more sales driven one.

Elvis is back!!!
The first days of this year really started well for me. First I got my MVP award for the fifth year and on the second day of 2014 I read a posting on this particular blog stating the author is back in his old role, Premier Field Engineering!

The same posting also stated that his blog would reflect that career change as well. And until now he has kept his word. Five postings have been added all on the same level like they were before!


Ladies and gentleman, the KING OF SCOM is BACK!!! Let’s rock this joint!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

System Center Universe 2014 – Europe: Confirmed Speaker!

Last year I was sad since MMS to be terminated by Microsoft. So it’s good to see alternatives came to be, among them the System Center Universe event, presented in three parts of the world:
  • USA, January 30th;
  • APAC, March 13th;
  • Europe, September.

Even though the SCU events aren’t as big in size as a former MMS event, the content rocks! So content wise they really measure up against the former MMS. Simply because the speakers who present there are among the best we know, and they share their knowledge and experience openly with the audience.

With some help (THANK YOU!) I have done my best to board that train as a speaker for SCU Europe 2014 and it hasn’t been in vain! Just about an hour ago I got the e-mail telling me I am one of the confirmed speakers for SCU 2014 Europe!

This is AWESOME news. And no, I don’t consider myself being a super speaker or to be one of the best out there. But I have a lot of knowledge and experience to share and I’ll do my UTMOST best to present a session that’s SCU 2014 worthy!

Hope to see many of you at SCU 2014 Europe in September.

New FREE (!) MP Authoring Tool For IT Pros

For a day now a new FREE MP Authoring tool for IT Pros is available for download. This will be the tool recommended by Microsoft since they partnered with Silect in order to build this new tool.

Basically it means it will replace VAT (Visio Authoring Tool) which won’t be recommended anymore nor supported. I don’t regret it since VAT wasn’t a good tool at all. It forced me to use other MP authoring tooling, so I am happy about the demise of it.

The new tool looks very promising and resembles the previous SCOM 2007 MP Authoring tool somewhat. You can download the tool from here (after some registration). Again, the tool is FREE so don’t let this screen fool you after you have filled out the form:

Simply click on No Thanks. This will bring you back to the main screen where you started. But now you’ve received an e-mail message containing the download link for the tool.

Download it, install it and use it. Already Stefan Stranger and Kevin Holman blogged about these two steps in more detail so no need to repeat myself:

  1. Stefan Stranger:
  2. Kevin Holman:

Happy MP authoring!

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Blog By Colleague

A colleague of mine – Peter Smit – has decided to start blogging as well. His first posting is out there right now, all about a commercial Management Pack he wrote by himself.

This is MP is aimed at monitoring Derdack Enterprise Alert and is already sold to quite a lot of customers running SCOM and Derdack Enterprise Alert.

Peter Smit is a real crack when it comes down to MP authoring. Already I have learned tons of new tricks from him. Somehow he makes MP authoring looking simple, while it’s a challenge to get it right. But he knows it inside and out, so I am happy to have him as a colleague, awesome!

I am convinced he’ll be posting interesting articles about SCOM and MP authoring. So stay tuned and follow his blog, to be found here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 & WMUG NL

2014 is going to be an exciting year for WMUG Netherlands.

Why? Glad you ask, so let me tell you a bit more.

First of all, just before the end of 2013, WMUG Netherlands got two new active members on board: Adnan Hendricks and Guido van Brakel. These are two serious IT Pro’s with a lot of knowledge and experience. So it’s an honor and a privilege to have these two onboard.

Action packed agenda
For 2014 we have many new topics on our agenda. So many new meetings will be organized. Some of these meetings will be presented as online webinars and others will be in the more traditional format, one where you have to travel and be able to meet with your fellow peers.

The first event is already open for registration! On the 22nd of January Microsoft Virtual Machine MVP Didier van Hoye will present a demo heavy webcast about Troubleshooting Hyper-V Live Migration performance issues. Didier will explain the options you can configure and optimize when Live Migration performance is slow, also features like VMQ an RSS will be covered.

Go here for registration.

And believe me, there’s much more in the pipeline, so stay tuned!

Monday, January 6, 2014

BizTalk 2006/2009 MP: Let’s Make Some Noise…

The BizTalk MPs for BizTalk 2006/2009 and 2010 do have serious issues, causing Alert storms. Which is really bad.

BizTalk 2010 MP? Problem already solved!
Gladly for the BizTalk 2010 MP my fellow MVP buddy Bob Cornelissen has built an add-on MP for the BizTalk 2010 MP which addresses this issue, to be found here. What is does, is disabling the Rules which cause the Alert Storms, and replace them by new ones which don’t create Alert Storms. This MP works awesome.

How about BizTalk 2006/2009?
However, for the earlier versions of BizTalk (2006 and 2009) the same issue is at hand. And for this MP there wasn’t (until now Smile) a MP which reduces the noise. However, a customer of mine has to monitor an application environment, running different versions of BizTalk, among them older versions.

And yes, their SCOM environment was hammered down because of the Alert storms caused by the buggy Rules present in the BizTalk 2006/2009 MP.

Gladly I know Bob on a personal level as well so I contacted him and asked him for the ‘recipe’ of his BizTalk 2010 Noise Reduction MP. Which he shared with me. Based on that information I made a new MP (using Notepad ++), which disables18 Rules which are potential candidates to create Alert Storms, and recreates them WITHOUT the ‘feature’ which are the culprit for those very same Alert storms. Took me some time since I had to recreate the Rules one by one in order to remove the part which create the Alert storms.

But the result is very good. The Alert storms are gone while the rest of the BizTalk MP is maintained.

These are the Rules which are disabled and recreated WITHOUT the Alert storm potential:

  1. Core Alert: WARNING - An adapter raised an error during message processing
    (This Rule is disabled by default)
  2. Core Alert: ERROR - FILE-Receive-Message Suspended
  3. Core Alert: ERROR - FTP-Receive-Message-Suspend
  4. Core Alert: ERROR - HTTP-Receive-Message Suspended
  5. Core Alert: ERROR - An inbound message encountered a routing failure
    (This Rule is disabled by default)
  6. Core Alert: ERROR - A message that is part of an interchange is suspended by a receive pipeline due to a processing failure
  7. Core Alert: ERROR - A message going to a one-way Send Port is being suspended. The Send Port configuration corresponding to the message was not found
  8. Core Alert: ERROR - A message that is part of an interchange is suspended by the receive Pipeline due to routing failure
  9. Core Alert: ERROR - Messaging Engine has suspended message. Failed to correlate a response message to an existing request message
  10. Core Alert: ERROR - MQSERIES-Receive-Message Suspended
  11. Core Alert: ERROR - MSMQ-Receive-Message-Suspended
  12. Core Alert: ERROR - An outbound message is being suspended by the adapter
  13. Core Alert: ERROR - A response message is suspended
  14. Core Alert: ERROR - Windows SharePoint Service adapter failed to delete processed message
  15. Core Alert: ERROR - Windows Sharepoint Services adapter failed to archive the processed message
  16. Core Alert: ERROR - SOAP-Message Suspend
  17. Core Alert: CRITICAL ERROR - BizTalk SQL Agent Job Failed - Tracked Message Copy
    (This Rule is disabled by default)
  18. Core Alert: ERROR - SQL-Receive-Message-Suspended

MP can be downloaded from here.

A BIG thanks to Bob for providing me the information how he built the noise reduction MP for BizTalk 2010.

Always test MPs in a non-production environment in order to see whether they work as expected. This MP is made available as-is for the community, so I don’t provide special support for it. Just make sure to test it yourself.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fifth MVP Award!

Yesterday was a special day. Not only the first day of 2014 but also the day I got my fifth MVP Award!

It even surprised me since in 2013 I’ve been criticizing Microsoft in some postings and tweets. Never aimed at persons but more at the way processes are executed. Never meant to flame or bash but to point out the weaker spots, hoping that it will land and – finally – will result in better services and products.

Yet Microsoft showed to have a big heart and to look at the bigger picture here, which I really appreciate. So I am a MVP again!

And of course, a BIG word of thanks to all the readers of my blog. Without your comments, feedback and remarks this blog would be nothing but an empty shell.

Last but not least even BIGGER words of thanks and appreciation for my wife since she enables me to grow and excel. Without her aid I wouldn’t be in this spot at all.