SCSM – Adding Activities Using SMA / PowerShell Workflow

For the past couple of weeks I have been doing some automation stuff using Service Management Automation (SMA) and therefore PowerShell in conjunction with Service Manager. I like PowerShell very much, especially if I can interact with other systems. As you might know in the “old” days you would use Orchestrator and Service Manager to start your datacenter automation project.  This was very handy because you already had all parts delivered by Microsoft like Orchestrator Integration Packs to build your runbooks and also a connector to integrate the runbooks into Service Manager. In the current days you have SMA and Service Manager but no connector unless you use the SMA Connector from Cireson  combined with their Self-Service Portal to unleash the full power of all components (SCSM, SMA, PowerShell).

Depending on your automation / process you will sooner or later need to find a way to add dynamically activies (manual, review, parallel, sequential etc.) to your service request in Service Manager. Just to understand what I am talking about, here a screenshot of my service request…

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I had the requirement to add dynamically a sequential activity into a given parallel activity and the sequential activity should contain a review activity followed by a SMA runbook activity. It should look like this…

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In my case dynamically means, to trigger a PowerShell script / workflow (a certain number of times) which will create this basic activity framework. To fulfill this task I installed / will use the smlets from codeplex on the SCSM server.

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Jalasoft – Xian SNMP Device Simulator V5

At some point in your SCOM career you need to have quick access to a network device because you either need to show the SCOM network monitoring capabilities, develop a SNMP management pack or you might need to build some custom SNMP monitors or rules. I think it is always a pain to carry a switch / router with me :) or to get access in a customer environment. For such and more reasons, companies like Jalasoft created a SNMP Device Simulator.

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This May Jalasoft released version 5 of their software and I would like to give you a short overview of this clever and mature software.

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SCOM 2012 R2 – Web Console Error “Connection session is not found”

Today while installing SCOM in the lab faced a strange issue. When I tried to open the web console I faced this error…

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Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.DataAccess.DataProviderException: An error occurred executing the command: [Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.Security!DeclaredAssemblyDataProvider/GetAssemblies] in provider: [Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.Security.DeclaredAssemblyDataProvider, Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.Security, Version=7.0.5000.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35]. : Connection session is not found.

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SCOM 2012 – Example Agent Health Check Dashboard Using PowerShell Grid Widgets

In this post I would like to show you what the benefit is of having PowerShell integration in dashboards. The days before having the PowerShell widgets you mostly needed to export your PowerShell queries / results into some sort of text file / Excel sheet etc. to display the result. For example a common request is to have a list of grey agents or list all agents that do not have the proxy setting enabled on your monitored agents etc. Because of that I created some sort of health check dashboard which let’s you display common request in one single spot.

The requests I get a lot are:

  1. Display all servers from the domain which do not have a SCOM agent installed
  2. Display all agents which do not have an Active Directory computer account. E.g. this means either there is a server decommissioned but the agent is not deleted in SCOM.
  3. Display all grey agents which the watcher node cannot contact.
  4. Display agents which do not have the proxy setting enabled.

I created a simple grid dashboard with 4 cells…

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SCOM 2012 – Fun Jukebox Dashboard With PowerShell Widgets

I am currently experimenting with the PowerShell widgets and trying to figure out what you can do and what you cannot do. My funny idea was to create a Jukebox dashboard where you can select a song and PowerShell will play it using the “beep sounds”. Yes I know SCOM is a monitoring tool but the thing I wanted to find out if we can add some sort of sound / beeps / voice to the PowerShell Grid Widgets / dashboard.

The setup is simple, I used 3 Image Widgets and two PowerShell Grid Widgets. It looks like this…

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If you want to see it in action I recorded a small video. I had to re-record the sound from my local system, because the RDP connection beeps were just awful…

There are two things I use for the sounds, for the voice itself  “Please select…” I use the System.speech assembly and for the sound I use the [console]::beep() function. For the music I found the samples here so all the credits to the authors.

You can download the scripts in the TechNet Script Center here.

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SCOM 2012 – Display & Download MPs Using PowerShell Widgets

A nice and sexy way to have the latest management packs at your fingertips is using the new PowerShell widgets.

The SCOM product team shows in their example how you could list the management packs using the PowerShell Grid widget. Stanislav Zhelyazkov also provided a script to fully download all management packs with PowerShell. I used some code from these guys to connect to the management pack list and getting all MPs.

I slightly changed the code to create a custom object and for getting the ID of the MP and displaying it in the PowerShell Grid widget. Combining the PowerShell Grid widget with the new PowerShell Web Browser widget we have immediate access to the management pack download sites.

Clicking on any of the MP’s listed will direct you to the Microsoft Download Center…

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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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