Archive for August, 2012

Operations Manager 2012: Network Monitoring

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Discovery, monitoring, visualisation and reporting. Key takeaway; OpsMgr will help IT Operations gain visibility into the network layer of service to reduce meantime to resolution. All the required MPs, dashboards, and reports are built in-box. Server to network dependency discovery with support for over 80 vendors and 2000+ devices certified. It supports SNMP V1, v2c and V3. There is support for IPv4 and IPv6 endpoints.

Supported devices:
•Load balancers


Process of identifying network devices to be monitored. Designed to be simple, without the need to call in network admins.
You can run the normal discovery wizard to discover network devices. There is also a Discovery Rule that you can configure n Administration/Network Management. This can run on a regular schedule. You can pick a management or gateway server to run the rule, and you set the server resource pool for the monitoring. Note that the design guide prefers that you have a dedicated network monitoring resource pool (min 2 Mgmt servers) if doing this at scale.

There are two discovery types, which are like the types of customer MSFT has encountered. You list the IPs of devices and do explicit discovery. Alternately, you can do a recursive discovery which crawls the network via router ARP and IP tables. That’s useful if you don’t know the network architecture.

You’ll need runas accounts for he community strings … read only passwords to MIBS and SNMP tables in the network devices. It does not need read-write private strings. Using a runas account secures the password/community string. You can have a number of them for complex environments.

You can import a text file of device IP addresses for an explicit discovery. You can use ICMP and/or SNMP access mode to monitor the device. ICMP gives you ping up/down probe monitoring. SNMP gives you more depth. An ISP won’t give you SNMP access. A secure environment might not allow ICMP into a DMZ. You can set the SNMP version, and the runas account for each device. During discovery, OpsMgr will try each community string you’ve entered. It will remember which one works. In some environments, devices can send trap alerts if they have failed logins and that can create a storm of alerts … SO BEWARE. You can avoid this by selecting the right runas account per device.

There are retry attempts, ICMP timeout, SNMP timeout. You also can set a max device number discovery cap. This is to avoid discovering more than you need to in a corporate environment.

You can limit the discovery to Name, OID, or IP range. And you can exclude devices.

You can also do the discovery on a regular basis using a schedule. Not important in static environment. Maybe do it once a week in larger or more fluid environments. You can run the discovery rule manually. When you save the rule, you have the choice to run the rule right then.

What’s Discovered

•Connectivity of devices and dependencies, servers to network and network to network
•VLAN membership
•HSRP for Cisco
•Stitching of switch ports to server NICs
•Key components of devices: ports/interfaces/processor/ and memory I think

The process:

Probing (if not supported, it’s popped in pending management for you to look at. If OpsMgr knows it then they have built in MIBS to deal with it) –> Processing –> Post Processing (what VLANs, what devices are connected, NIC stitching mapping).
•Works only on Gateway/management server
•Single rule per gateway/management server
•Discovery runs on a scheduled basis or on demand
•Limited discoveries can be triggered by device traps – enabled on some devices. Some devices detect a NIC swap, and the device traps, and OpsMgr knows that it needs to rediscover this device. Seamless and clever.

Port/Interface Monitoring

•Volumes of inbound/outbound traffic
•% utilization
•Discards, drops, Errors

Processor % utilization

Memory counters (Cisco) and free memory

Connection Health on both ends of the connection

VLAN health based on state of switches (rollup) in the VLAN

HSRP Group Health is a rollup as well

Network Monitoring

•Supports resource pools for HA monitoring
•Only certain ports monitored by default: ports connecting two network devices together or ports that the management server is connected to
•User can override and monitor other ports if required


4 dashboards:
•Network summary: This is the high level view, i.e. top 10 nodes list
•Network node: Take any device and drill down into it.
•Network interface: Drill into a specific interface to see traffic activity
•Vicinity: neighbours view and connection health.


5 reports:
•Memory utilisation
•CPU utilisation
•Port traffic volume
•Port error analysis
•Port packet analysis

Behind the scenes they normalise data, e.g. memory free from vendor A and memory used from vendor B, so you have one consistent view. You can run a task to enable port monitoring for (by default) un-monitored discovered ports (see above).


You can author custom management packs with your own SNMP rules. They used 2 industry standard MIBS and it’s worked on 90-95% of devices that they’ve encountered so far. Means there’s a good chance it will work on future devices.

Install the Data Protection Manager Central Console in SCOM2012 to manage backups

August 26, 2012 Leave a comment

The latest release of Microsoft’s enterprise backup product, System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager (DPM), took a logical approach to scaling the management of many DPM servers. IT pros know that to manage the backup status of more than a few computers or applications at once, you can save a lot of time with a central backup management solution.

Rather than create a new kind of console or dashboard to roll-up the status of many backup servers, DPM uses the System Center 2012 Operations Manager (SCOM) console to present a high-ground view of all backup operations in your organization. With the DPM management packs loaded, SCOM 2012 becomes the “Central Console” for DPM.

The Central Console is a new feature in System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager (DPM). This article covers installing the Central Console and specific features uniquely enabled by this integration. Figure A shows a DPM alert view in the SCOM console, a feature of the Central Console solution.
Figure A1

Installing the DPM Central Console

You can’t install the Central Console on a computer running DPM server, and the SCOM console needs to be installed on the computer where you are installing the Central Console. A SCOM management server meets the requirements and is an easy location in which to run this feature. (In a high capacity environment, you would architect a dedicated computer for the Central Console.) Here are the steps to deploy the DPM Central Console feature:
• From the desktop of a SCOM management server, run Setup.exe in the SCDPM folder of the DPM 2012 installation media.
• Select to install DPM Central Console and a wizard will launch.
• After the welcome screen, select the Central Console Opt-In Option to install both server and client components.
• During installation, DPM setup will set some registry keys, create some firewall exceptions, import some management packs, and create a default role-based access configuration.
• After installation, run the VMM console, pointing it the first time to the DPM server.

After installing the DPM Central Console, you might be searching ‘for the console’. As mentioned, there is no new dashboard style view, rather a deep integration between the existing SCOM console framework and the DPM servers it is managing. In addition to familiar alert views, state views, and agent tasks–like many applications and their respective management packs–the DPM management pack adds some unique features. Microsoft extended the SCOM console with both scoped links to DPM console elements and some hybrid dialogs that only appear in Central Console mode.

Using the DPM Central Console

After installing the Central Console, a view folder in the SCOM console, System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager is created, as seen in the left side of Figure A above. There are many well-organized alert and state view folders focusing on specific aspects of DPM health. Figure A shows the All Alerts view; the alert details concern a failed DPM replica creation. A goal of the Central Console is to monitor actionable DPM alerts relating to replica creation, synchronization, and recovery point creation. The management pack for DPM filters out alerts that do not require an action, such as a synchronization job in progress.

The way you are supposed to use the component integration is that you administer DPM from SCOM, using the features of the Central Console. You should only need to run the full DPM console for specific administration tasks, such as adding storage.

Here’s an example of how the Central Console removes the need for you to open a DPM console to fix a replica creation error. When you select a DPM alert in an alerts view in SCOM, context-sensitive alert actions appear in the tasks pane. Figure B shows, on the left, the tasks pane for DPM alerts for protected computers or resource groups. The task pane gives you one-click access to launch a consistency check job against the protected computer or resource group.
Figure B
Figure B shows, on the right, a confirmation dialog box from the DPM Central Console integration that the job has been launched. By selecting On Exit, Launch The Jobs View To Monitor The Progress Of Jobs and closing the box, the View Jobs tool will appear as seen in Figure C-another piece of custom integration between SCOM and DPM.
Figure C3

The Scoped DPM Console

A unique example of the cross-component integration between SCOM and DPM is the Scoped DPM console. This refers to a context-relevant mini-version of the DPM console that is invoked by the “Troubleshoot protected server” alert task. It’s a time saving and information-focusing feature that invokes the DPM console scoped to the selected server, in effect, showing all the alerts in DPM, but just for the selected server. Figure D shows a scoped DPM console launched from the OpsMgr console task-the DPM console is scoped to the alerts from one protected computer.
Figure D4
Another scenario enabled using custom integration is the “Take recommended action” alert task. With this feature, a DPM alert may contain a link to a task — this task will invoke a situation-specific recovery action when one exists. For example, the recommended action alert task for a DPM recovery volume threshold exceeded alert is to invoke a custom dialog box that lets you modify the disk allocation for the DPM protection group from the SCOM console.

New IPD – Operations Manager 2012(Beta)

August 17, 2012 Leave a comment

The Infrastructure Planning and Design team is pleased to announce that the IPD Guide for System Center 2012 – Operations Manager (Beta) is now available for download! here