New preview management packs for Windows Server 2012 R2

SCOM, System Center, Active Directory, SCOM 2012, Windows 2012 1 feedback »

An interesting link showed up in the Microsoft Downloads page. Seems like our SCOM 2012 environments will be more than ready for the upcoming R2 of Server 2012. Microsoft has just released *preview* MPs for the all the major infrastructure components in R2 like AD, DNS, DHCP, RDS, Hyper-V and so on. Most of the packs are only updated to include support for R2, but some of them have new features.
Here is summary of the MPs with new features:

AD LDS MP
Discovery of AD LDS instances, configuration sets, and application partitions
Monitoring the availability of AD LDS instances and application partitions
Monitoring replication between AD LDS instances
Monitoring AD LDS server availability from AD LDS clients
Client Perspective Monitoring
Replication Instance Topology Report
Instance Info Report
DFS Replication MP
Support for clustered namespaces
Support for clustered replication group members
Agentless monitoring

DHCP MP
DHCP availability monitoring
IP address range consumption monitoring
Policy IP range health

File Server MP
Support for:
Deduplication
FSRM
NFS
SMB

Server MP
Fixed MaxConcurrentAPI issues.
Changed Cluster Discovery to only discover volumes and resource type “Physical Disk”.
Added performance rules and reports for Windows Server 2012 R2 that target Windows Server 2012 R2 Operating System

As mentioned, the other MPs for AD, DNS, Failover Cluster, Hyper-V, WSUS, RDS, NLB, are updated to support for Windows 2012 R2.
As usual you can find all the monitoring scenarios in the MP guides.

Most likely by the time of the release of the RTM of Server 2012 R2 these packs will be updated again, but for now you can download the preview bits from the Microsoft download page here.

Enjoy!
Ivan

Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 Preview bits available

SCOM, DPM, SCVMM, Service Manager, System Center, SCOM 2012, Windows 2012, Configuration Manager Send feedback »

Since a few hours the Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 Preview bits are available on MSDN and TechNet. SO we can go ahead and download those files. It could be that relating to what access you have to these platforms you will see a few which are yet unavailable, but they will be available soon. In my case I could access all of them. B)

Also available are the preview of Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Preview, and the SQL 2014 CTP1 preview also seems to be here already if you are a die hard SQL fan.

SO now we can start playing around with some Windows and System Center R2 products and see what changed and what we like :p

Savision Live Maps Mobile Access for SCOM

SCOM, System Center, SCOM 2012 Send feedback »

Savision is of course known for its Live Maps software which helps to visualize the health of objects in your SCOM monitoring in a way everybody can understand what is going on. Savision has since a long time also had a Web Console where the dashboards could be viewed through an http(s) connection. From SCOM and other notification tools which add-on to SCOM we are used to pushing alerts towards some IT staff, sometimes based on the source of alerts in relationship to their function within the IT organization for instance. What Savision now adds is a mobile solution to view the overall state of only the maps you are interested in and receiving notifications if such a map changes state. This reduces a lot of alert noise. Currently the mobile apps are available for Android and IOS. The Windows Phone version is still in development and is expected at a later date.

In the article below I will list some lessons learned and of course some features of the product. Pictures are kept large, so we can see whats going on. B)


My environment for this run:

On the backend I am using a single SCOM server version 2012 SP1 UR2 and using Savision Live Maps 2012 version 1.2.1. As my mobile device I used an iPad mini.


Preparations:

In general, before starting you should read the Savision Installation Guide where the basic installation steps are listed for the server side and client side (the Installation guide can be found on the Savision training center page). Also refer to this article from Savision founder Dennis Rietvink on the mobile access feature with explanations on how it works (http://www.savision.com/resources/blog/mobile-access-system-center-operations-manager). A little further below here I also have an architecture picture which will show the involved components and how they fit together.


Getting the server side working:

I am keeping this part short as it is just following the install guide steps and some additional steps are mentioned.

  • When running the full installer of Savision Live Maps 2012 version 1.2.1 we install the Live Maps authoring console, because we need some maps and register the product.
  • At the same time I installed all other Savision Live Maps components as well.
  • I enter all required information, like pointing the web console to the SCOM Web Console, entering management server details.
  • Also at some point the popup comes for the account to use with the mobile access service. This account is used to register mobile devices, so needs SCOM Admin access (I used the SDK account here).
  • When configuring the Savision Web Console, make sure you select the Forms based authentication.
  • At the end of the procedure be sure to first open up the Authoring Console and register the product with your license key.
  • Create some maps (I already had some).
  • My Savision Web Console was installed on port 52909 as usual (I did not change that for this environment).
  • Open up the SCOM console and in the Monitoring pane go to the Live Maps Mobile folder and select the Mobile Device Notification Service discovered inventory view and it should list the service and be in a green healthy state.
  • So what is needed now is to provide access for the mobile devices to access the Savision Web Console URL. So I published this specific web console to a URL on the outside (in my case I did not bother to go with SSL for the temporary environment, but it is advised to do so) and in this case I published it at port TCP 52909 all the same.
  • Just make sure the web traffic from mobile device ends up at the Savision Web Console on the correct port. You can test this by using a regular browser on the mobile device or your laptop from the outside and login through the forms based authentication screen and make sure the account you use has access to the maps in the dashboard you are interested in.
  • The account used to access Live Maps can be an Operator account for instance, so does not need to be an administrator.
  • Also for the notifications to work the server where the mobile device notification service is located must be able to access the internet on port 443 (usually this works already).

This takes care of the three items in the middle and to the right of this architecture picture (copied with permission from Savision blog):

Now let’s get to work on getting the mobile device talking to this backend. &#59;)


Going to the client side:

Alright, this is where I will start to make it visual for you, as I had some lessons learned here as well. Also some things were specific for my situation and my type of device.

So let’s start by starting up the iPad mini and going to the App Store. Do a search for “Savision”.

At first it did not find anything, because it was searching specifically for iPad Apps.
:idea: Lesson learned: Select the other tab to find the iPhone Apps and there is the Savision Live Maps app. In this picture it is already installed, but if you haven’t got it already just click the Install button.

Next up is the configuration.

So first enter the server name. Make sure the http or https is correctly used and if you are using the port number, like I did, also include that in the URL. It is the same as what you used in the browser to access the system. Enter the domain name for the user. Enter the user name. Enter the password for this user.

The very next thing to do is to click on the Views line here. At this moment you will see a small popup that the device is being registered. This will run for a few seconds and you will see the Favorites Picker screen (see below). However I want to point out at this moment the Allow Notifications option. By default this is turned off. So turn this on at this step or go back to the configuration after you selected the maps you want to keep an eye on through this app. You can check that a device is registered also from the SCOM side (see even further below, we will get to that later).

:idea: However in this case I got an almost immediate error “Couldn’t register”. After researching and trying different situations and options together with Savision Support we found that it was due to an Ampersand sign ( & ) I had in the password for the account I was using first. Savision will list this as a bug and solve this in a future release. So for this specific version, make sure you do not have an ampersand in the password.

Now we want to be able to select which Live Maps we are interested in. Use the search function to look for the maps. In this case I find 4 maps and tap their names to select them all. Next tap on the Save button.

This should be the first result. It should bring the state of the maps you selected to the app. Tap on the refresh button to refresh faster if you are in a rush.
Now let’s get back to the notifications side. When clicking the Configuration button below you can enable the Allow Notifications option. This was shown a few pictures back above.

Lesson learned: At this point I started to break stuff on the SCOM side in order to get a state change of the dashboards and to receive an alert on my mobile device. I did see the state of the maps changing in the application, but I did not see any alerts. It turns out that on the iPad (and iPhone) there is another place to configure how notifications show up on the device. So here goes for the next steps.

On the iPad I went to the general Settings.

Select the Notifications tab and find the Live Maps entry on the right hand side.

:idea: Lesson learned: In my case there was no Live Maps entry here. And disabling and enabling notifications in the Live Maps app did not help. Together with Savision Support we actually found out there is a bug where this can occasionally happen (in their case also on an iPhone). They will fix this in a future version update. I found the workaround is to remove the app completely from your device and to re-install it again.

Normally selecting the Live Maps entry in the notifications area should bring you to this screen. Here you can select several options for the alerts, like the style etc. These are the options I used in this case.

At this point I first made the maps I am interested in green again and made sure the app also saw this change. Let’s try to break stuff again. I have a monitor on a machine in my environment which will go red and fire an alert, because of an issue I have been too lazy to fix for the moment, so I can reset its health to make stuff green again and within a short time it will turn red again. So leave the iPad and wait for a number of minutes.

There we go. Yes I cropped the image a lot, but you can see the notification in the middle. If I unlock the screen and on the iPad I sweep from the top down there is also another notification screen where I can see stuff:

Yes there are also other icons there I will discuss at a later time. Let’s focus on this one first!

So open up the Live Maps app from the notifications area or just open the app.

Refresh the screen if it doesn’t display the changes yet (It will do that, its just not polling every second… :roll: ). Here we can see two maps have gone red. Actually in this case the Netherlands map is nested into the Europe map. We can see there are arrows, where we can move into more details as for the alerts available (remember that a health state change doesn’t require an alert to be there, although in many cases there is). This is an important thing actually to notice. As long as the health state changes it will show up here and you know something is going on, even if an alert was not created or if somebody manually closed the alert without fixing the problem. It happens.

In any case the alerts belonging to this map are now retrieved. This can take a few additional seconds, so don’t panic right away. Here is the list of alerts we have. Only one in my case. Let’s tap on it and move into the details of it.

Here is the alert. I did join two screens together here which makes the screenshot longer, but it has a scroll bar normally.

Yes this server happens to have a Forefront 2010 client on it and it has a job which tries to push the SCEP 2012 client without first removing the old software. It doesn’t like that. Will fix that later.



So, now as promised what does this look like from the SCOM side?

I have touched upon the discovered inventory view right above this one which lists the state of the Mobile Device Notification Service. It was green. Nothing more to see there. What we are seeing in this discovered inventory view, with name Registered Mobile Devices, are the devices registered through that Live Maps app on mobile devices. My buddy Michiel from Savision Support was connected and my own iPad is listed here. We can see the type of device and version and the owner name (as entered in the device). Also we can see that this device has Notifications Enabled (while the one from Michiel has not). Also it lists the user and domain used to connect, which you entered in the configuration of the mobile app on your mobile device. And just to show you on the left hand side you can see the 4 Live Maps I used in this case, both dashboard and list type maps.

One nice feature from an admin perspective is that you can actually see which maps are in the users list by right clicking this device in this view and opening a Diagram View. It will list the maps the user selected there.


Conclusion:

I like the idea of this mobile app and I also like the idea of making it very easy to use. Also it shows me only the alerts and health states I am interested in. Even if there are no alerts configured for a certain health state change which impacts my applications nonetheless. It notifies you if the state of one or more of the maps changes.

In general I use Live Maps to create overall dashboards to use in the NOC and helpdesk and for managers to look at. These are always multi layered dashboards where you can zoom into maps/lists/dashboards one or more levels underneath which reflect specific services or applications or distributed applications. Some IT staff only needs to be notified about a limited set of these IT services and this mobile access also gives the possibility of only selecting those maps and be notified only for those and find related alerts for only these services.

A very nice product and addition to your toolset!

Note:
The Mobile access feature is part of the Enterprise license of Live Maps 2012. However if you run Standard and still want to be able to use this feature without upgrading to the Enterprise version, because you have no use for the rest of the Enterprise features (such as Bing Maps integration and SC Service Manager integration), just send me an email.

Note 2:
BICTT is a long time Gold Partner of Savision and always deeply involved in feature requests, testing, troubleshooting, promoting and teasing the people at Savision.

Note 3:
Much thanks to Michiel Rens from Savision Support for working through some tests with me. Thanks to Dennis Rietvink for letting me use his architecture picture. And thanks to Savision for creating great stuff and always taking and giving direct feedback and applying it into their products!



Happy monitoring!
Bob Cornelissen

Updated solution for OM12 SP1 UR#2 Web Console Error: System.Reflection.ReflectionTypeLoadException: [ReflectionTypeLoad_LoadFailed]

SCOM, System Center, SCOM 2012 Send feedback »

My friend and fellow MVP and Savision enthusiast Marnix Wolf blogged about this issue and a quick solution provided by Savision last month. However the solution is now updated.

The Issue:

  • You run SCOM 2012 SP1 UR2
  • You run Savision Live Maps for SCOM 2012 version 1.2.0
  • When accessing the SCOM Web Console you get the following error:

    System.Reflection.ReflectionTypeLoadException: [ReflectionTypeLoad_LoadFailed]



The cause:

There was an incompatibility in the Savision Summary Widget with the UR2 update for SCOM.

The previous solution:

Savision quickly released a newer version of their Summary Widget mp (version 1.2.1.0) within a few days and blogged about it here.

The update to this solution:

Savision released version 1.2.1 on the 13th of June 2013. The separate management pack files can not be downloaded anymore from their website. Simply download the full Savision Live Maps for 2012 version 1.2.1 from their website here and run the upgrade to the latest version and make sure that the Summary Widget management pack files are upgraded to 1.2.1.x version.

After you install the Savision Authoring console version 1.2.1 you can find the two management pack files in the following path (if you used a different install path you will be able to find it now I guess): "C:\Program Files\Savision\Live Maps for OpsMgr 2012\Authoring Console\Management Pack" . Current versions today are 1.2.1.22 for these two files.

Savision did fix a few other issues between 1.2.0 and 1.2.1 release. There is a link to the release notes next to the download link on their website.

Conclusion:

Now you can enjoy your monitoring and dashboarding of course! B)B)
And thanks to Savision for the updates.

Bob Cornelissen

SQL File Disk Performance Management Pack for SCOM

SCOM, SQL, System Center, SCOM 2012 Send feedback »

Purpose

This management pack brings together I/O statistics for SQL data files and log files directly from the SQL virtual file stats view into SCOM where you can report on these for any period of time. It can collect data from SQL 2005, 2008 and 2012 data files.

Introduction

Starting SQL 2005 SQL DBA’s have the possibility to use Dynamic Management Views and Functions to monitor the health of a server instance, diagnose problems, and tune performance. This management pack is specifically geared towards the sys.dm_io_virtual_file_stats view, which returns I/O statistics for data and log files. The view is used by DBA’s to view current counter values for each database file (data or log). It is a current point in time and these values are cumulative values since the last restart of the server. This management pack collects these values for use in viewing and reporting. There are no health state changes or alerts connected to these values. There are short time performance views and two reports with double Y axis to display longer term data. The long term data is translated from cumulative data into amongst others IOPS for each point in time.

Files
You can find all management pack files, optional override management packs and the management pack guide explaining it all in the zip file attached in the TechNet Gallery page. The current version of this management pack is 1.0.2.48 and released on the second of June 2013.

General

This Management Pack is provided free of charge by the authors to the System Center and SQL community.

Written by Bob Cornelissen, David Scheltens, and Pavel Dzemyantsau

The Management pack can be found here:
SQL File Disk Performance Management Pack for SCOM.

Enjoy!

New Savision whitepaper by Damian Flynn, Unraveling the Network with SCVMM 2012 SP1

SCOM, SCVMM, System Center Send feedback »

Savision has a tradition of providing free whitepapers to the community about System Center related topics written by industry specialists. A few months ago I was discussing with them about a new free product they were releasing (Cloud Advisor for System Center Virtual Machine Manager), and they asked me who would be a very critical and vocal reviewer of its possibilities. I directly pointed them to my fellow SCCDM MVP Damian Flynn. In the end this resulted in Damian writing a whitepaper for Savision and the community at large about Virtual Networking in SCVMM 2012 SP1. Mind you this whitepaper does not talk about the Savision product, but about SCVMM features and in a practical way.

This is something new in VMM and sometimes hard to figure out on your own, but it is a very important subject which will prepare you for the future of networking within virtual networks. And dont forget that the future is already here with SCVMM 2012 SP1. I have found that Damian Flynn is one of those people who knows what he is talking about and this is certainly one of those subjects he is the absolute authority on.

This free whitepaper can be downloaded from the Savision site from here:
Unravelling the Network with SCVMM 2012

Also Damian will be giving a webinar (on two dates for your convenience) where he explains more about the subject and will be available for questions. See the link above for the registration details for those webinars.

And again also from my side a big thank you to Savision for providing the community with these great resources! And a very warm thank you to Damian Flynn for clearing up the mist around this subject and helping everybody understand what this is about!

Jalasoft released the new Xian SNMP Device Simulator v4

SCOM, SCOM 2012 Send feedback »

Jalasoft released the new Xian SNMP Device Simulator v4.

This is a grrrrreat SNMP network device simulation tool which was and still is free of charge. It is great for instance for playing around with network monitoring in SCOM. I have been playing with previous versions a lot for testing and demo purposes. The great and innovative engineers at Jalasoft have now created a new version of this tool (v4) with some architectural changes and new possibilities and an expanded set of default available devices to simulate. It is now based upon agents which get installed on Windows machines with multiple IP addresses; and one console of this tool in the same network will manage these agents and start the devices you want on the IP addresses you select. It is very easy and quick. I will write more about this soon and provide some examples.

But for now here are the announcements:

The announcement on the Jalasoft blog

Explanations on the architecture and installation and use of the product from the Jalasoft blog

And a press release for the same

This will improve our possibilities to play around with network monitoring and for demo purposes. Thank you very much Jalasoft!

Bob Cornelissen

SCOM 2012 SP1 UR2 now also for Gateways

SCOM, System Center, SCOM 2012 2 feedbacks »

As announced a month ago the UR2 update rollup for SCOM 2012 SP1 was released. One of the known issues of this update was that the gateway servers did not get their agent distribution folders updated. This was because there were no fixes for the bits of the gateway role itself. However of course the gateways do have the agentmanagement folder where the SCOM agents and their latest update can be found. This caused that folder to not be updated with the latest agent fixes. Simple workaround was to copy those newest files from an updated Management Server. Meanwhile Microsoft worked on a fix. A week ago Microsoft released through WSUS the UR2 update package for SCOM Gateway servers.

Good luck!
Bob Cornelissen

Exchange 2013 management pack for SCOM released

SCOM, Exchange, System Center, SCOM 2012 Send feedback »

This was one highly requested MP that we have been waiting for. The Exchange 2013 Management pack for SCOM is now released. It works on SCOM 2007 R2 and SCOM 2012. The released version today of this management pack is 15.00.0620.030

For those who knew the Exchange 2010 management pack and its special correlation engine: the correlation engine is gone now! B) :p :D (Yes, I am happy with that!!).
A Quote from the post:

“If you are familiar with the Exchange 2010 Management Pack, you know that it had a service called the correlation engine that ran on the Root Management Server. It basically correlated health data from all monitored Exchange components. In the Exchange 2013 Management Pack, the correlation engine is no longer used”

This is the TechNet blog post:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2013/05/14/exchange-2013-management-pack-released.aspx

The download can be found here:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39039

The Management pack guide online version can be found here:
Exchange 2013 Management Pack Guide

We will probably write more about this mp later when we had more experience with what it looks like in real life. It looks like they have kept the number of views very low at least.

Bob Cornelissen

Getting more out of your DPM monitoring through SCOM

SCOM, DPM, System Center, SCOM 2012 1 feedback »

If you are monitoring DPM 2012 through SCOM 2012 and you have multiple DPM servers setup you might want to gain more insight into the status of the backup service as a whole and point to the issues at hand from a central location. In that case I would like to bring to your attention a blog post (and more to come) from my good friend and fellow System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP -> Steve Buchanan.

In his post he shows us how we can take advantage of the Distributed Application feature of SCOM, whereby you can link the health status of separate objects together into one Distributed Application. This creates a single location where your application can be viewed and the status of the objects is combined and can be reported on with Service Level Agreement views and availability reports. A good entry for any higher level dashboards where you can see the status of other central services as well.

Go and see Steve's blogpost here:

DPM as a Distributed Application in SCOM.

Enjoy your backups and your monitoring at the same time!

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