SCOM Trick 9 – Maintenance mode tooling

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As I have said in SCOM Trick 7, the use of maintenance mode is important. But not always will somebody use the normal SCOM interface (or web interface) to start maintenance mode right before they start working on the machine. To be honest a lot of the times machines get placed in maintenance mode when the alerts start flowing in during planned work and they quickly place the machine into maintenance mode. In any case, you can actually schedule maintenance mode, or include it in scripting. Here are some resources to get you started.

Maintenance mode history report

Remote maintenance mode mp
by running a script on the agent, makes event log entry that gets picked up.

MCS maintenance mode mp

Put a group into Maintenance Mode

Maintenance Mode powershell script

Remote Maintenance Mode GUI tool

Cluster and maintenance mode

Stopping maintenance mode

SCOM Maintenance Mode Tool

Schedule a group of URLs (or one) into maintenance mode

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SCOM Trick 8 – Who enabled maintenance mode

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One of the questions that get asked after people start using maintenance mode in SCOM, especially in bigger environments, is to provide an overview of who put something into maintenance mode.

Somebody wrote a management pack for this!
Maintenance Mode History Report Management Pack

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SCOM Trick 7 – Use Maintenance mode

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One of the great features in SCOM is the ability to place a machine/device or part of it in maintenance mode whenever you are working on the machine and you do not want it to generate alerts while you are doing your stuff. For instance during a planned change. This also avoids unnecessary red and yellow health states which affect your SLA availability reports. One more thing is that it tends to not stress out helpdesks and ticketing systems if you try to avoid sending them unneeded alerts (sometimes they do not know you are playing with the machines).

In many cases a whole machine will be placed into maintenance mode. As of SCOM 2007 R2 setting maintenance mode for a machine only has to be done in one place and not in three places like before.

You can enable maintenance mode from any state view by clicking the desired machine/device/website/database and selecting Start Maintenance Mode in the actions pane or by right-clicking and selecting that option. This can also be done right from an alert view, but I always prefer to be clear on where I select it.

From there you can select if it is planned or not and what the reason is. You can start it, stop it or change the duration.

Something to NOT do is place management servers in maintenance mode. Unless you know what you are doing.

In some cases when you have a health explorer that will not turn green and manually resetting it does not help and in some cases it is just at the rollup stages where it will not turn back to green… you can try to place the machine in maintenance mode for 15 minutes and after that time it will re-calculate the health state.

In an upcoming Trick I will list some of the tools you can use for maintenance mode, scripts, powershells, management packs and so on.

Just remember to use maintenance mod.

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SCOM Trick 6 – VMware monitoring

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A question that pops up a lot is if we can monitor VMware with SCOM. There are actually several options that deliver different levels of monitoring.

I am sure there are more possibilities, but these are the most well-known I think.
My personal favorite is still Nworks as the most complete and robust system.

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SCOM Trick 5 – SCOM Books

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My opinion is still that books are a great resource to learn about a product. Also for SCOM there are a few around:

  • System Center Operations Manager 2007 Unleashed
    A very complete book about SCOM, written by MVP’s
  • System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Unleashed
    A follow-up on the previous book that builds on top of it, adding R2 pieces of information, but also authoring and more
  • Mastering Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007
  • Monitoring Exchange Server 2007 with System Center Operations Manager

My personal favorites (and many with me) are the two Unleashed books which are the most complete and clear to read for SCOM admins of all levels.

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SCOM Trick 4 – Learning SCOM

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What can you do when you want to learn about SCOM? Well there are a lot of possibilities.

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SCOM Trick 3 – Where to ask questions

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Once in a while you will have a question. Something will not work as expected. You discover a bug or SCOM does not react as expected. You might be looking for something special. Well first of all I would suggest to check out the official documentation and the management pack guides and perhaps a book on the product (is another trick :) ). After this you could go over to several community resources. Just to name a few:

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SCOM Trick 2 – Management Pack Guides

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So what would be the first thing you do after installing SCOM or when you find a new management pack? For most that would be to load the management pack and see what happens. This is usually followed with a lot of alerts coming in and trying to find out what happened or you find out that you do not see any health state of the application you are monitoring with that management pack.

So the first thing you should do when you start with a management pack is to read the management pack guide. It usually tells you some specific points to watch out for before, during and after loading the management pack. This is also true for community packs and software vendor management packs. Usually these have to do with runas accounts and profiles and overrides and enabling discoveries and monitors or disabling them.

Where can you find management packs?

  • When you download a management pack usually there is a second download link for the guide.
  • In some cases the management pack guide is included in the downloaded msi and when you extract it during installation the guide gets located at the location of extraction.
  • On TechNet the online management pack guides:
  • Through the SCOM console.
    Go to scom console – Administration – management packs. Select download management packs. Next search for a product like “Active Directory”. Open the list below and find the product you are looking for (in the example “Active Directory Server 2008”). On that line move your mouse to the right to the column of Information. Just click in that empty space and it will give you the possibility to download the MP guide.

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SCOM Trick 1 – Product documentation

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Alright, let’s face it… we are all IT people. So to generalize, we are stubborn and do not read manuals unless we are forced to. We install products and start clicking away. Until we hit a wall somewhere or we start complaining about something that is not there in a product while it is actually there, but we cannot find it. So in the rare occasion that we actually do not find something on our own and we have no other choice than to read the documentation, or when others tell us to first read about the subject before asking questions… Here are the online product documentation locations:

The TechNet library for System Center products

The TechNet Library for SCOM 2007:

The TechNet wiki

Other locations of documentation are community sites and a lot of sub-sites of the above. But these will be covered in other SCOM Trick posts.

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SCOM Tricks overview

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I will post a series of entries here in a series called SCOM Tricks. They will all start with the title "SCOM Trick" so they are easy to recognise.

The purpose of the SCOM tricks is to have a number of short articles that just discuss one small aspect of SCOM. So these can be places where you can find stuff, things you can adjust, helpful things, solutions to common issues, howto’s and more. Many of these will be well known within the community, but as we come across so many people asking the same questions and asking for directions on the same kind of issues, I think it is well worth bringing this together in a series of small posts to bring them all to attention. A number of these will just cover a number of links to more extensive posts made somewhere else as pointers to where the information can be found. The entries will not be in any particular order. Links to all related posts in this series will be posted here in the list below and can also be found through the Category "SCOM Tricks" on the right-hand side in the list. The list below will list a few posts for the coming days. Some of the posts will reflect my personal opinion on things and they are by no means complete guides (feel free to suggest additions/changes). Entries in the list below that do not have a link enabled are still to come, but at least you know what is coming B)

Any remarks, additions, corrections and of course "tricks" are very welcome so do not be afraid to contact me.

SCOM Trick 1 – Product documentation
SCOM Trick 2 – Management Pack Guides
SCOM Trick 3 – Where to ask questions
SCOM Trick 4 – Learning SCOM
SCOM Trick 5 – SCOM Books
SCOM Trick 6 – VMware monitoring
SCOM Trick 7 – Use Maintenance mode
SCOM Trick 8 – Who enabled maintenance mode
SCOM Trick 9 – Maintenance mode tooling
SCOM Trick 10 – SCOM console renew
SCOM Trick 11 – Seeing old or unmonitored entities
SCOM Trick 12 – Diagnostic logging
SCOM Trick 13 – SPN
SCOM Trick 14 – Troubleshoot grey agents or management server
SCOM Trick 15 – cross platform agent troubleshooting
SCOM Trick 16 – 1106 event from HealthService
SCOM Trick 17 – SCOM 2007 R2 and SQL 2008 R2
SCOM Trick 18 – Removing management packs
SCOM Trick 19 – Remove SCOM agent command
SCOM Trick 20 – Increase console refresh rate
SCOM Trick 21 – Enable agent proxy
SCOM Trick 22 – Only seeing 7 days of alerts
SCOM Trick 23 – Edit company knowledge
SCOM Trick 24 – Antivirus exclusions
SCOM Trick 25 – Report export to PDF in A4 format
SCOM Trick 26 – Seal a management pack
SCOM Trick 27 – Un-seal a management pack
SCOM Trick 28 – Creating test events
SCOM Trick 29 – Web Console Issues
SCOM Trick 30 – Monitor Network Devices
SCOM Trick 31 – Monitor server hardware
SCOM Trick 32 – Monitor Oracle
SCOM Trick 33 – Service Level Dashboard
SCOM Trick 34 – Move SCOM databases
SCOM Trick 35 – SCOM Licensing
SCOM Trick 36 – Capacity planning
SCOM Trick 37 – Backup RMS encryption key
SCOM Trick 38 – Gateway
SCOM Trick 39 – RMS reconnect to SQL feature (post CU4)
SCOM Trick 40 – SNMP
SCOM Trick 41 – the Default MP
SCOM Trick 42 – Getting notified
SCOM Trick 43 – Collation
SCOM Trick 44 - Live Maps
SCOM Trick 45 – ReSearch This MP
SCOM Trick 46 – Green machine MP
SCOM Trick 47 – SCC Health Check reports
SCOM Trick 48 – Certificate validation
SCOM Trick 49 – Monitoring CentOS
SCOM Trick 50 – Reporting
SCOM Trick 51 – Dashboarding possibilities
SCOM Trick 52 – Agent in pending management
SCOM Trick 53 – New Report Operator role
SCOM Trick 54 –

Bob Cornelissen

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