SCOM 2012 – New Dashboard Community!

It has been a moment since my last post. This happen because, I was first building my new home and now finishing migrating my (real) home / house in a side-by-side migration scenario. Of course I need to reconfigure the new infrastructure but luckily I am not dual homed anymore. At this very moment I am in the process of decommissioning my old home / house. It takes a lot of time to reconfigure all the new settings, sadly I could not find the furniture autoexec.bat and my only export and import wizards were my family and friends :).

You might have seen on the SCOM product team blog that they are asking about YOUR experience, opinion and suggestions for using different SCOM components like web console, SC Advisor, Storage / Network features etc. these very important questionnaires will influence the future of SCOM and therefore I urge you to answer these surveys and deliver them as much information as possible to make a great product even a greater product. It really counts!

This time I would like to focus on another topic. Microsoft delivered with SCOM 2012 SP1 UR 6 and SCOM 2012 R2 UR2 new dashboard widgets. Some of these widgets are customizable using PowerShell like the PowerShell Grid Widget and the PowerShell Web Browser Widget . Having a PowerShell based widget let’s you basically build any kind of dashboard you like. Microsoft is working hard on improving the dashboards and creating new widgets. I am sure there will be more coming up but at this point in time there is already a huge amount of new widgets to explore.

If you haven’t heard about the new dashboard capabilities I highly recommend watching these recordings:

In every SCOM project I face the same problem. How should I display the data properly in a dashboard? I am sure you are familiar with this question/situation. Wouldn’t it be nice if there would be a central place were you could publish and share your dashboard management packs, dashboard ideas, dashboard scripts or download any pre-built dashboards / scripts for SCOM? Microsoft has recognized this and created a TechNet Gallery space where you can start uploading your sources

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At the moment this space does not contain a lot of scripts, but in the near future it will become the place for all dashboard related (re)sources. Please bookmark this page, upload your dashboard management packs and scripts so everyone in the community can benefit from each other and becomes a Mr. Incredible Dashboard…

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There will be much more coming up in this area and I will also try to provide as much content as possible.

Let this place become the central hub for all SCOM dashboard related (re)sources!

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SCOM 2012 – Find Workflow From Windows Event

When you are deploying SCOM agents to many servers from a test or prod environment, it could happen that a server administrator steps up to you and tells you that he has many strange event log entries which are probably from SCOM. Like in this example here…

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Posted in Configuration, Management Pack, Troubleshooting | 1 Comment

SCOM 2012 – Console Crash On Windows 7 x86 (32-bit)

Today I ran into an issue which I would like to share. The customer had Windows 7 clients fresh and nicely installed including SCOM 2012 SP1 console. Every time we tried to start the SCOM 2012 SP1 console Windows Error Reporting (WER) would kick in and the console crashed. The clients had Windows 7 32-bit installed and the SCOM console was also the 32-bit version.

I check the Reliability Monitor and it looked like this…

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I clicked View technical details and found this error…

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SCOM 2012 – Check DNS Servers And DNS Records / IP MP

In today’s world of IT everything is still heavily depending on DNS. It can be the most sophisticated application / technology if DNS does not work all other parts also won’t work. SCOM offers a good DNS MP which monitors essential parts of your DNS infrastructure. Something that is missing and I think makes sense is to check the DNS records and it’s corresponding IP on a selection of DNS servers.

So let’s say you have 1,2 or more (external) DNS servers which contain all the same DNS A-Records and IP’s. Your goal is to check if these records exist and also have the expected IP address on each of these selected DNS servers. If any of these parameters don’t match, something is wrong and you would like to receive an alert.

I created a PowerShell monitor to execute a script which will call nslookup to make the DNS resolution. Why nslookup ? Well, since every server has nslookup and PowerShell on board therefore it is a good couple to use it.

For a better understanding of the situation I’ll show you an example.

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SCOM 2012 – MAS Tool V 1.0

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I had a requirement to have some sort of tool to easily enable and disable subscriptions and also close alerts in one shot. Of course my first thought was to use PowerShell, but soon I figured out that there is a lack of functionality.

If you try to disable and enable a subscription you will be asked if you want to send the alerts which were generated while the subscription was disabled or just send the new alerts. Using PowerShell it will be not possible to configure just sending the new alerts. Well, yes if you are going to use .NET it will be possible. Tim McFadden has blogged about this problem and is also providing a tool for it. I needed a more granular approach where you can enable and disable just single / multiple / all subscriptions and just sending the new alerts, without getting the old alerts and basically ending with an alert storm.

In addition I needed a way to close all alerts in one shot from any kind of resolution state. This is why I added a second functionality, where you can select one or more resolution states and then set them to the Closed resolution state. When you close the alerts created by monitors, make sure you have some sort of “reset monitor” tool in the background which automatically resets the monitors to healthy e.g. Orchestrator in this blog post here.

Finally I ended up with this simple GUI Tool called MASTool (Modify Alert and Subscription Tool)…

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Posted in Configuration, Software, Tool | 3 Comments

SCOM 2012 – New PowerShell Web Browser Widgets Using Agent Location

Microsoft has shipped the long awaited and promised widgets for building new and cool dashboards. The System Center Operations Manager Team has released a short documentation and a bit more details you will find on TechNet Wiki:

One information which you won’t find is, that these widgets are NOT ONLY available for SCOM 2012 R2 UR2 but also in SCOM 2012 SP1 UR6. Microsoft has shown it at Tech Ed NA 2014 on a slide in session DCIM-B329

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As I am exploring these widgets, there are two widgets I really got into (and as I have seen also others) because they will allow you to do almost anything. One is the PowerShell Grid Widget and the other is the PowerShell Web Browser Widget.

My goal is to click onto a computer object and then displaying its location on a map like Bing Maps or Google Maps. To realize this, I remembered that you can provide latitude and longitude to the SCOM 2012 agent to set its location. So why not use this information? It seems that Tao Yang had a similar idea as I, but was choosing the more complicated way :) .

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Posted in Dashboard, Management Pack, Script | 1 Comment

SCOM – “Alert subscription data source module encountered errors while running”

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Life is like a box of chocolates you never know what you are gonna get. This famous sentence is very true for the IT business also.

Recently I had been configuring subscription using a PowerShell script and command channel for a customer environment. The day after, the customer called, that he has lots of alerts “Alert subscription data source module encountered errors while running”…

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