Thursday, November 17, 2016

We’re Using SCOM 2012 R2. Do We Upgrade To SCOM 2016 Or Move To OMS?

Update (11-17-2016): Based on some valid feedback from a reader I added a section about costs. Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

This kind of question I am asked by many customers today. In their own environment they’re running SCOM 2012 R2. They know SCOM 2016 is GA and that OMS has also a lot to offer.

Good bye SCOM & hello OMS?
So why not skip SCOM 2016 all together and move their monitoring into OMS? Simply because OMS also uses the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA), uses Intelligent Packs (IPs, the OMS equivalent of SCOM MPs) and offers a Gateway as well (AKA OMS Log Analytics Forwarder).

On itself a logical question, which isn’t answered that easy however. Simple because it depends on how you’re using SCOM today.

SCOM = Monitoring. OMS = Log Analytics +++
To put it simply, SCOM is a pure bred monitoring tool with some basic log analytics capabilities. On the other hand OMS is a super enhanced log analyzer, with some (still basic) monitoring capabilities folded into it.

So when you’re using SCOM in order to monitor workloads, distributed applications and so on, whether on-premise or in the cloud or anything in between, SCOM is still the place to go and the product to use.

Rich Alerting required? SCOM is the product to use
Also when you have SCOM alerting people when something is wrong with the monitored environment, SCOM is still the product to use. Also because at this moment OMS has only some basic alerting capabilities built into it. Whereas SCOM has by default predefined Alerts (based on the MPs imported), OMS doesn’t have that so most of the Alerts have to be pre-defined manually by you. Which is quite a challenge because you have to think up every possible situation requiring an Alert.

Log analytics required? OMS!
However, when you require a powerful log analytics tool with many preconfigured solutions, like security & auditing, SQL Assessment, AD Assessment and so on, OMS is the product to use. Or better, service.

The speed, dashboarding and possibilities to ‘dig through the collected data’ is totally awesome and unmatched by SCOM. And believe me, SCOM will never get to that level, ever.

So when you require hard log analytics capabilities, OMS is the place to be.

SCOM & OMS. Better together
Good thing is, SCOM & OMS can be combined. So you have the power of SCOM (rich monitoring and alerting) and the log analytics power of OMS. So you’ve the best of both worlds.

As we already know it’s quite easy to attach SCOM to OMS and from there, have a (sub)set of SCOM monitored servers (whether Windows or Linux) uploading data to OMS as well.

So now you have the power of SCOM and OMS. Totally awesome. The fun thing is, you can try this for free. OMS still offers a free data plan. It’s limited in the solutions it has, but still it will give you a good insight of the capabilities and power of OMS.

This brings me to another important topic: costs.

When your company already has a Software Assurance licensing agreement with Microsoft, changes are they have licenses for the entire System Center suite as part of the same SA. Leveraging OMS will result in an incremental cost on top of your current System Center licenses. Or you will wind up using the ingestion model at $2.30 per GB.

So it’s certainly worth the effort to find out whether your company has a SA in place with licenses for the entire System Center suite. When that’s the case you may use OMS for lower costs than expected.

If not, there is still the free data plan available, allowing you to test drive some OMS functionalities for free.

SCOM 2012 R2 or SCOM 2016?
When you’re on SCOM 2012 R2 level I strongly advise to upgrade to SCOM 2016. Why? There are many reasons, this is the Top 3:

  1. Mainstream support
    For SCOM 2012 R2 it ends on 11th of July 2017,
    For SCOM 2016 it ends on 11th of January 2022.

  2. Growth of capabilities and functionality
    What do you think? Will Microsoft add new capabilities and functionality to SCOM 2012 R2 or SCOM 2016? Exactly! So SCOM 2016 has more of a future ahead of itself compared to SCOM 2012 R2.

  3. Know what the future will bring? No?
    Neither do I. But it’s better to prepare yourself for it. Thus rolling out ‘the latest & greatest’ is a better approach, compared to holding on to SCOM 2012 R2 up an beyond July 2017. Sometime, many times earlier than expected, you end up with an unsupported product. Meaning it isn’t covered by SCOM 2012 R2 but SCOM 2016 instead. Ouch!

The future
Microsoft goes by the mantra ‘Cloud & Mobile First’. So it’s evident that OMS will keep on growing BIG time. Things we’re missing at this moment (like real monitoring, objects and health states included) with rich Alerting, are most likely to be added sometime in the future. Until then however, SCOM is the product delivering this functionality out of the box.

So SCOM still has a valid business case, and will have that for the years to come. None the less, it can’t and won’t hurt to take a look at OMS and start using it (the free data plan is a good start). Also combine it with SCOM and go from there.

What surprises me the most is the pace of growth in OMS. In less than two years, tons of new features are added. And that pace of growth won’t lessen. I know that for sure. So we’ll see new features, improvement of the existing ones and so on.

When running SCOM 2012 R2 for rich monitoring and Alerting, SCOM is still the product to use. However, this doesn’t exclude the usage or use case scenario’s for OMS.

OMS delivers rich and enhanced log analytics capabilities. Combined with SCOM you’ve yourself a rich monitoring and log analytics platform at hand, so now you can drill deep into the very core of your IT assets, then you ever imagined.

It will be an exciting journey, starting with SCOM 2016 on-premise and OMS in the cloud.


Wilson328 said...

One thing you didn't mention was cost: Most companies will have licenses for the entire System Center suite as part of their Software Assurance licensing agreement with Microsoft. Leveraging OMS will result in an incremental cost on top of their current System Center licenses. Or you will wind up using the ingestion model at $2.30 per GB. Many companies may not want to pay the additional expense for OMS if they already own a SCOM license.

Unknown said...

You can get an OMS Rider added to your EA w/ SA

Marnix Wolf said...

Hi Wilson328

Thanks for your valuable feedback. I've updated my blogposting accordingly.