What’s New in SCOM 2012 Network Device Monitoring

25/08/2011 Leave a comment

In the old days Winking smile when we used Operations Manager 2007 R2 to monitor network device we ware limited to network device availability (online or offline). if we wish to know more, we could used the xSNMP management pack .this MP helped us monitor the availability of ports and interfaces and performance related issues. But xSNMP MP covers only few devices like Cisco, HP ProCurve , Juniper etc. moreover discovery of network devices is limited to SNMP V1 & V2 only. if we wish to monitor SNMP V3 we must use third party applications that extend OM2007 (like JalaSoft).

So what changes have been made to network monitoring in OM2012 ?

  • Extended device monitoring
  • Multi vendor support and multi protocol support.
  • Resource pools
  • Discovery
  • Server to network dependency
  • Dashboards and reporting

Extended Device monitoring

Unlike Operations Manager 2007, Operations Manager 2012 is a game-changer with a new network device monitoring engine. OM2012 extend those capabilities to a large number of vendors and devices (provide port monitoring for devices that implement interface MIB (RFC 2863) and MIB-II (RFC 1213) standards.)
OM2012 provides the ability to discover and monitor network routers and switches, including the network interfaces and ports on those devices and the virtual LAN (VLAN) and Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP) groups that they participate in. further more, OM2012 can monitor Firewalls and load balancers.

Multi vendor support and multi protocol support

Microsoft published an Excel spreadsheet that lists the devices, vendors, model names, and versions of network devices that have extended monitoring capability. The Devices worksheet includes processor and memory columns for each device to indicate whether Operations Manager can provide extended monitoring for either or both aspects for each device.


Resource Pools

Resource Pool is a feature in OM2012 which gives us the ability to monitor non-windows devices in a high availability mode. The concept behind this feature is that we can select management servers and group them in a pool, and then assign network devices to be monitored by the pool. If a server goes down from that pool, it will automatically failover any monitoring that is occurring on that management server to the other members of the pool.


The network discovery process is a great change compared to SCOM2007, it allows us to discover multiple devices using discovery rules. the discovery deals with different community names just like run as account and allows us to discover sets of devices and individual network devices in the same rule.
There are 2 types of discovery:
Explicit – OM will discover specific network device that was specified in the rule.
Recursive – OM will discover the devices specified as well devices found in the ARP table of those devices.
I preferred explicit rather then recursive discovery, because recursive will discover devices that we don’t need to monitor and as a result, will increase the administrative workload and the management server workload.

Server to network dependency

Server and network dependency is part of the vicinity dashboard, and it’s actually a dynamic map that show us contextual network map. we can choose whether to display computers that connected to the network devices. the map can be scoped to number of hopes from the selected network node.

Dashboards and reporting

Well, how can one explain this ? I thought that a a picture is worth a thousand words…








Useful links :



Categories: OpsMgr2012 Tags: ,

SCOM 2012 Beta installation–Step by Step guide

04/08/2011 2 comments

Although there is very good quick start guide that comes with the Beta version,  I thought to bring my own experience from the field.

first we need to get the Beta version, while downloading I thought that it would be best to start reading the quick start guide and to take notes for prerequisites that I need to take BEFORE I start the setup process.


Active Directory:
I created the following users

  • SCOMAction – OM Action Account (I’m Using Domain Admin Member)
  • SCOMSDK – OM Config & Data Access Service Account (must be local admin on the server)
  • SCOMDR – Reporting Read Account
  • SCOMDW – Reporting Write Account
  • SQLSVC – SQL 2008 Service Account
    Server Operating system:
    Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (VM hosted on Hyper-V, 2 CPU’s 2Gb Memory.)

The New SCOM 2012 server will include:
Management Server, Web Console, Reporting, Management Console & Databases

Server Roles & Features:

.NET Framework 3.5.1

IIS Role with: (We must install IIS before installing the ASP.Net 4.0)


Installation of the web console requires that ISAPI and CGI Restrictions in IIS be enabled for ASP.NET 4. To enable this, select the web server in IIS, and then double-click ISAPI and CGI Restrictions. Select ASP.NET v4.0.30319, and then click Allow.

Install the .NET Framework 4 – Download here

Install Microsoft Report Viewer 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package (Used for OM Console)

Install Hotfix 976898 (Used for OM Console)

SQL 2008 R2:

Install SQL 2008 R2 with: SSRS, Full Text Search and SQL Agent. do not forget to set the SQL Agent to automatic. SQL Agent is required for Application Advisor reports publishing AND only when you select the “Reporting Server” option during setup.

Set the SQL server collation to SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS.

Installation Process:

1. run the SCOM2012BETA.EXE.


2. when the extract process finished the setup screen appears


!!! the Release Notes open the OM2007 R2 release note !!!

3. Click the install link



select all the check box above

choose the installation folder, I used the default path



Opps….I missed one of the steps above – Install Hotfix 976898 (Used for OM Console)

enter the SQL server name that will host the OperationsManager DB


enter the SQL server name that will host the OperationsManagerDW DB


select the SQL server reporting instance, before selecting next I recommend to check if the reports web site is responding. open IE and go to  http://localhost/reports web site.


select the web site which will host the web console.


select your favorite authentication mode


set all OM account


choose your preferred settings



and that’s it.


after several minutes, we got the setup complete screen




Microsoft did a great job on the SCOM2012 installer. easier installation process and all prerequisites are checked during install with a very useful information about the problem and how to solve it without leaving the setup process.

Categories: OpsMgr2012 Tags: ,

SCOM2007 Performance monitor data and alert description

28/07/2011 Leave a comment


Yesterday I got a question about adding a specific data to an alert description. the problem was with a custom performance counter rule for  “% Processor Time”. Every time the total CPU is above 95% in the last 2 samples an alert is generated. the problem with this monitor is that the sampled value in not part of the automatic generated alert.

If we take a closer look, we will see that the alert description have a value filed, but this filed indicate the number of samples taken and not the last value that was monitored.



every alert have additional information, to view this info we will need to open the alert.
under the alert description there is a link named “view additional knowledge” , clicking on it and choosing the “Alert context” tab will show us more information.


and here it is, the “last sampled value” parameter.

The question now is: “How can we take the “Last sample Value” from the alert context and use it in the alert description?”

when clicking the image button the last sampled value is not part of the populated data.


?!?!?!?….did we worked for nothing ? if the data available in alert context, how can we get it? which parameter can we use to show it in the description.


the easy way I found is to check the alert data using get-alert cmdlet.

get-alert | where{$_.Name –eq ‘my alert name‘}

and here it is:


changing the alert description and adding $Data/Context/SampledValue$ solved the problem

Instance $Data/Context/InstanceName$
Object $Data/Context/ObjectName$
Counter $Data/Context/CounterName$
Has a value $Data/Context/SampleValue$
At time $Data/Context/TimeSampled$

Categories: OpsMgr Tags:

The Operations Manager 2007 R2 Admin Resource Kit is now available

15/06/2011 Leave a comment

Microsoft Operations Manager product team just announced the availability of the System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Administration Resource Kit over on their blog.

The System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Admin Resource Kit includes three tools designed to help improve the Operations Manager Administrator experience.

Included: Schedule Maintenance Mode, Clean mom and MP Event Analyzer.

  • Scheduled Maintenance Mode – Ability to schedule and manage maintenance mode in the management group.
  • Clean Mom – Helps remove all installed R2 components.
  • MP Event Analyzer – MP Event Analyzer tool is designed to help a user with functional and exploratory testing and debugging of event based management pack workflows like rules and monitors.

The resource kit can be found on the Microsoft Download site here .

Categories: OpsMgr Tags:

SCOM Authoring console and the mysterious Microsoft.SystemCenter.Library.mp version 6.1.7221.61

07/06/2011 1 comment

Updated – 13/08/2011

Microsoft released a new KB Article that allows us to download the latest version of the Microsoft.SystemCenter.Library management pack. now we can reference it in the Authoring Console.

NOTE: Do not import the Microsoft.SystemCenter.Library management pack into your management group. You do not have to do this. In fact, in a very limited set of circumstances, importing this management pack can result in the need to restore the Operations Manager database from backup.


After upgrading my SCOM server to CU4 I can not open any management pack using SCOM authoring console, the following message appear “ Referenced management pack not found…”


OK, lets try to locate the file…the file is not part of the installation files of CU4 and is not part of any MP that is available to us on System Center Marketplace (the new pinpoint site). the only file with a same name is located under “c:\program files\system center operations manager 2007” and the date point to an old file (unfortunately MP files are missing the version property).

What is really happening here?
It is possible that SCOM team update the MP without replacing the file?

The answer we looking for is in CU4_Database.sql script. the management pack is updated directly via SQL!!!


that mean that every time we export an unsealed MP, the version of Microsoft.SystemCenter.Library.mp will be 6.1.7221.61.


1. Do not use the authoring console “Import MP from..”

2. Export the MP from the SCOM console.

3. Open the XML file using text editor and change the version of the referenced MP from:

<Reference Alias="SystemCenter">


<Reference Alias="SystemCenter">

4. Save the file and open it using the authoring console.

Categories: OpsMgr Tags: ,

Operations Manager 2007 R2: The Notification challenge

02/06/2011 Leave a comment

Recently, more and more customers want more granular/complex notification using SCOM 2007. As you probably know, notification in operations manager is based on 4 different channels (E-Mail, SMS, IM and Command). These 4 channels can be used to deliver alerts based on specific criteria (the criteria are part of a subscription).

Subscription = what to send + to + how

The Criteria in the subscription changed from OpsMgr SP1, and luckily OpsMgr team add some great features to the product like: send alerts that “raised by a specific rule or monitor” or “raised by any instance in a specific group or class”. Despite these changes, it still hard to set up alerts based on the needs of our enterprise, especially if we dealing with large and complex environment.

That’s why i can clearly say that it’s hard to get notification to work as we want and in most cases, without fully understand the object oriented class model of OpsMgr, it’s even harder.

I made a list of “What most of my customers wants”

1. Ability to manage and maintain notification information in a reliable and simple way.

2. Ability to limit (in some cases) the notification to only one alert. For example, when we have a server with IIS role that hold several web sites, all web site are monitored. When IIS stop working we will get alerts for all the web sites hosted on the same server.

3. Trace which alert was send to a recipient, when and how (Mail, SMS, Etc.).

4. Ability to set up on-call list. (Duty Roster)

5. The Ability to let IT personal to route alerts to others in case of a vacations (like out of office mechanism).

6. Ability to ensure notifications reaches the designated personal using two way communication and escalation

Most of the above are not present in Operations Manager, and with the problems that we had we needed to search for alternatives.


One of the products that I tested was SNS++ from Highnet Systems, in the beginning we needed to use a command channel to send our notifications, but after several meeting with Highnet guys they started to develop a connector that connect with the universal connector that ships with SCOM R2.

Now after successfully implemented SNS++  (very simple to do I must add) at several customers, most of my notification problems are not part of Operations Manager 2007, all alerts are forwarded to SNS++ and with the Smart Routing feature of the product we can deliver any alert to any recipient base of message filters in SNS++.

For more information you can visit Highnet Systems.

Categories: OpsMgr Tags: ,

Speed up console launch – Operations Manager 2007 (SCOM R2)

30/05/2011 Leave a comment

Recently I came across complaints from customers about SCOM console. the problem is that the console launch slower than before. 
Every time I checked the complaints in my lab or on other customer sites I have not encountered the problem they experienced.

Looking for another problem I had recently, I came across this post.  as a result of an upgrade to CU4, environments that are not connected to the Internet will experience slow opening of the interface. The problem, as I understood it, is related to parameters related to DotNet applications.

Using the solution proposed by François Dufour the console launches fast as before.

Categories: OpsMgr Tags: