SCSM – Get Service Request Object From Any Nested Child Runbook Activity

When you are starting to automate stuff in your cloud environment you probably use SMA for automation and Service Manager to trigger the necessary runbooks in SMA. As this is really great stuff you will start facing many new challenges because you have to script in PowerShell to achieve your goals. Depending on your architecture and your strategy and how you plan your runbooks you will end up with more or the far better way is – less problems.

One strategy I follow is to have just one parameter which is the runbook ID to pass from the runbook activity template to the SMA runbook in Service Manager.  So imagine, you pass the runbook activity ID to your SMA runbook and you want to get some information from the parent work item like the service request. If you have the runbook activity placed directly on the service request itself it is not a problem like in this example…


You can write a few lines of code like this….


…and the result will look like this…


As you can see you will get the ID from the parent work item. In this case the service request SR2067.

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Microsoft Azure Operational Insights – Mobile App Available


I have blogged previously about Microsoft Azure Operational Insights which is still in a preview stage and you can test it free of charge. Microsoft did already a great job visualizing all the data collected by the Intelligence Packs. At this moment you are also able to have all this information on your Windows Phone. The release of the Microsoft Azure Operational Insights Mobile App allows you to look at all the available information on your mobile device.

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SCSM – SMLets “The criteria could not be parsed. See inner exception for details.”

If you are using the SMLets from codeplex in combination with PowerShell remoting to retrieve information from Service Manager it could well be that you hit this error:

The criteria could not be parsed. See inner exception for details.

    + CategoryInfo          : OperationStopped: (:) [], InvalidCriteriaException

    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : The criteria could not be parsed. See inner exception for details.

+ PSComputerName        : Computer1

In my case the setup consisted out of 2 infrastructures like a TEST and an INTEGRATION which were supposed to be identical. In both environment we had SMA and Service Manager installed. I wanted to run a PowerShell workflow in SMA to retrieve the service request id from a newly generated service request. The fun part was that executing the code within the INTEGRATION environment did not cause any problem but if I executed the code in the TEST environment I faced the error above. The code part which generated the error was:


$SRID = “SR445”

$SRClass = Get-SCSMClass –Name “System.WorkItem.ServiceRequest$”

$SRObject = Get-SCSMObject -Class $SRClass -Filter “ID -eq $SRID”

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Microsoft Azure Operational Insights – Search Data Explorer Cheat Sheet


At TechEd Europe Microsoft officially announced Microsoft Azure Operational Insights. If you are not familiar with it check my previous posts about this new “tool”. Behind all these sexy dashboards there is also a very powerful search engine called “Search Data Explorer”. It uses a search window where you can enter a query to get any result you want / need.

The syntax of this query reminds a bit of PowerShell but it was specifically developed for Azure Operational Insights.

An example looks like this…


Microsoft offers already predefined queries for all installed Intelligence Packs, so you just need to pick the right one.

For example the Capacity Planning queries look like this…


But as always it is better to understand what is going on behind the scenes so that you can customize the result the way you want it. Daniele Muscetta (PM at Microsoft) as written excellent posts how you can build your queries and explains all the possible commands / syntax. You can find the posts here:

    Daniele has written very detailed and long posts which is very useful at the beginning and after you get the idea you just need some sort of notes. For that reason I tried to summarize everything in one single cheat sheet so you can keep it on your desk for reference. It looks like this…


    I hope it provides some help.

    Download the PDF version from TechNet Gallery.

    Update 6.11.2014 Version 1.1:

    • Just eliminated some typos / changed some minor wording

    Update  7.11.2014 Version1.2:

    • Corrected field name Type is case sensitive
    • Added new sample
    • Formatting issues fixed

    TechEd Europe 2014 – SCOM Sessions


    I wish I could have attended the TechEd Europe 2014 in Barcelona but since I had the chance to go to TechEd NA 2014 in Houston I already got a good picture what is going on. For those who also could not attend TechEd in Barcelona there is luckily Channel 9 who publishes all the session recordings. But there are still some highlights which cannot be recorded like meeting the SCOM product team and of course the networking and community meet ups.


    For those of you who also could not attend TechEd in Barcelona here the relevant SCOM sessions on Channel 9:

    Introduction to the NEW Microsoft Azure Operational Insights Service with System Center Operations Manager

    This TechEd Europe 2014 session covers how Operations Manager as a platform has been extended with Microsoft Azure Operational Insights Preview (previously known as System Center Advisor), a next generation cloud service that provides log collection, search, dashboard visualization and operational intelligence for modern IT operations. Come to this session and see how easy it is to collect machine data/logs and explore them.

    System Center Operations Manager: Monitoring in a Modern World

    This session illustrates how customer needs for monitoring are changing and how Microsoft is investing in System Center Operations Manager and System Center Advisor to address these updated customer needs.

    Building Highly Effective Dashboards in System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager

    This session covers the brand new innovations in the Operations Manager dashboard infrastructure that allows you to build custom dashboards for any audience.

    Using System Center for Dynamic Application Mapping

    Dynamic distributed applications can make System Center the key to streamlining your IT Operations Programs. Microsoft partnered with BlueStripe to deliver complete, multi-tier application management in System Center. In this session, learn how to deliver: Live, dynamic application discover/mapping, monitoring, and alerting in Operations Manager; Application management across platforms (Windows and non-Windows systems) and architectures (physical, virtual, cloud, and hybrid cloud); and Application management for Azure Hybrid Cloud. BlueStripe automatically discovers, maps, and monitors all the components that make up your distributed applications, regardless of platform or physical location. Learn how to build live dynamic application views that cross Azure and the datacenter, how to use these application maps within System Center Operations Manager, and how to apply application context to provide business services for Service Manager and application performance-focused run books using Orchestrator. You’ll also preview an integration of live distributed application maps into Azure Pack.

    Management Pack Authoring for IT Professionals

    Monitoring infrastructure is a crucial function in any datacenter. Due to the complexities involved, IT administrators have traditionally either requested services from consultant firms or bought pre-packaged management packs to monitor their infrastructure. Come learn how MP Author, a free management pack authoring tool can be used to create robust management packs that adapt to the needs of your business. Also, come see how MP Author integrates with MP Studio to address the complete lifecycle of a management pack.

    Could well be that not all sessions are right now available online but within the next few days they will.

    Microsoft Azure Operational Insights – Connecting Without SCOM


    I previously blogged about Microsoft Azure Operational Insights (MAOI). There are two ways you are able to connect to MAOI, first and best way :) is using SCOM to connect using it’s built-in connector. Another and very easy way is to just install the Microsoft Monitoring Agent and connect this agent directly to MAOI. How this works?  I just want to show you here.

    First create a Organizational Account or a Microsoft Account here .

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