SCOM 2016 – Upgrade Notes from the Field

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Upgrading from SCOM 2012 R2 to SCOM 2016 is theoretically no such big deal. BUT sometimes you could face issues at the customer’s infrastructure, which force you to take some extra hurdle. This post should give you a high level overview of different migration scenarios and additionally some pitfalls you could meet upgrading to SCOM 2016.

High level upgrade path

There are 3 ways to upgrade a SCOM 2012 R2 environment.

1. Side-by-side migration (“Slow Motion”)

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  • This is probably the way which has almost no risks, but takes a long time to finish and has a consequence that you loose old data. Why is this? You install a brand new SCOM 2016 management group, having brand new databases (OperationsManager / OperationsManagerDW / OperationsManagerAC). If needed you also install separate Web Console, Reporting and if needed the ACS role also on a dedicated (management) server. I think the best option is to install all these SCOM 2016 roles on a brand new Windows Server 2016 server and the databases on SQL Server 2016. This way you have the latest and greatest technologies available and you are armed for the next couple of years. Having this in place you are able to dual-home (multi-homing) the agent which is sending data to both management groups SCOM 2012 R2 and SCOM 2016. There is a good article on TechNet Wiki how to configure multi-homing if you have multiple AD forests or here if you have agents deployed in the same AD forest. As soon you have the new management group up and running you need to migrate all management packs, channels, subscriptions, overrides, roles etc. There are ways to export and import this stuff, but I recommend if you are choosing this upgrade path, then I would start configuring SCOM from scratch. Especially creating new overrides and documenting them will give you a chance to have a well configured and documented SCOM environment. One huge advantage of this upgrade path is, that you are able to upgrade to new versions of existing management packs, implementing new management packs and testing them thoroughly with no impact on your production SCOM environment until you switch management group and turn on notifications. This approach has also few disadvantages:
  • It takes usually a long time to finish this migration.
  • There are 2 management groups to maintain.
  • The amount of work to tune the management packs should not be underestimated.
  • Dual-homing an agent could lead to some more stress on the agent server.

2. SCOM In-place only upgrade (“Big Bang”)

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  • If you decide to go for an in-place upgrade you are taking a much faster but also “risky” path, which needs more pre-work, testing and in case of failures also some plans to revert the changes using backups and/or VM snapshots. An in-place upgrade is in theory not that much of a problem and also fully supported by Microsoft. The first step is to run the SCOM 2016 setup on a management server which will discover the roles on the management server and upgrade the server itself and also the SCOM databases to SCOM 2016. If you managed to successfully upgrade the first management server / management group, then you go for the next management server, ACS Collector, Gateways, Console, Web Console and Reporting Server. As soon you have upgraded all components you are all done. Sounds easy, but believe me, there are plenty of things that could fail. This approach has also few disadvantages:
  • Because you upgrade SCOM only, the operating system stays the same. Of course you could theoretically in-place upgrade the operating system as well, but I really don’t encourage you to do so. If you need to upgrade SCOM and the operating system as well, please check the next upgrade option.
  • All your SCOM configurations bad or good will stay. If your management group is badly configured it will stay badly configured – an upgrade won’t change anything.
  • You need to check if the management packs work with SCOM 2016, especially third party or community MP’s. Please ask the vendor BEFORE you start the upgrade.
  • Make sure you meet the system requirements for SCOM 2016 .
  • Remember there are also 3rd party connectors in SCOM which might are not supported by SCOM 2016.

3. SCOM In-place upgrade and OS upgrade (“Big Bang++”)

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  • If you decide to go for an in-place upgrade and you also want to upgrade the operating system to Windows Server 2016 in your environment, then this is an elegant way to achieve this goal. The risks are the same as “in-place only” upgrade but in addition you need to have a good plan how to switch the SCOM agents and ACS Forwarders to the new management servers. Before you start upgrading, make sure you have new Windows Server 2016 servers installed, which will become the new management servers. Step 1 is to run in-place upgrade on an “old” SCOM 2012 R2 management server (make sure it meets SCOM 2016 system requirements). If this is finished upgrade the other SCOM 2012 R2 management servers to SCOM 2016 and also ACS Collector, Gateways, Console, Web Console and Reporting Server. Step 2 if your management group is upgraded successfully install SCOM 2016 management servers on the fresh installed Windows Server 2016 servers. Depending on your SCOM environment, but if you have ACS installed, you could also install ACS Collector on a additional dedicated SCOM 2016 management server running on Windows Server 2016. Step 3 move the Windows / Linux agents, ACS Forwarders to the new management servers / ACS Collector. Step 4 uninstall the “old” management servers from the management group. If you have Web Console and/or Reporting installed you could simply uninstall the features from the “old” SCOM servers and reinstall it on new Windows Server 2016 server pointing to the SCOM 2016 deployment. I recommend uninstalling Reporting and Web Console BEFORE you upgrade the management group. This scenario has the same problems as an “in-place only” scenario but additionally you have to be aware of few more things:
  • Switching the Windows / Linux agents or ACS Forwarders to the new management servers could take some time and depending on the amount of “clients” Step 3 needs to be planned carefully.
  • If you don’t have the agents controlled by the SCOM Console you need to prepare some PowerShell scripts for moving the agents / ACS Forwarders to the new management servers.
  • Remember to install certificates for Linux  or Windows agents monitoring on the new management servers.
  • Remember to set the SPNs for the new management servers.
  • If you changed settings (Registry)  on your old management servers, check if you need to make these settings on your new management servers as well.

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SMA – Migrating SMA Runbooks (SMART Toolkit) Annoying Confirmation

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To migrate SMA runbooks from one environment to another you probably want to use SMA Runbook Toolkit to export and import the runbooks and assets, you can find the download here. This toolkit is a collection of PowerShell scripts which are few years old but still work perfectly with SMA 2016. After you downloaded the toolkit and extracted it, there is e.g. the SMART\Import and Export Tool\SMART-IE-GUI.ps1 to export and import your runbooks with a PowerShell GUI…

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…and the GUI looks like this…

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One problem you might encounter is, that you would have to confirm the execution of a child script Import-SMARunbookfromXMLorPS1.ps1 for each script you want to import…

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…to circumvent this annoying step, you need to unblock the files in PowerShell. How can you do it? Well you just need to get all files in the SMART directory and use Unblock-File cmdlet to unblock the script….

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…after this step the import runs without interruption. This problem happens not only to the SMART tools, but also could happen to any other module you download from an external source.

SCOM 2016 – System.Data.SqlClient. SqlException, Exception Error Code: 0x80131904 Login failed for user

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Sometimes there are things you won’t understand. I tried to install a new SCOM 2016 management server in a virgin Azure VM (Windows Server 2016). The necessary SQL Server 2016  was placed on another Azure VM (Windows Server 2016). Well this is nothing special and I have installed SCOM a gazillion times, BUT now I faced this error…1

…of course I checked the setup log as suggested and I found this error…

[21:17:34]:    Error:    :Exception running sql string [NOT DEFINED]: Threw Exception.Type: System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException, Exception Error Code: 0x80131904, Exception.Message: Cannot open database “OperationsManager” requested by the login. The login failed.
Login failed for user ‘RETURNONE\Stefan’.
[21:17:34]:    Error:    :StackTrace:   at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnectionTds..ctor(DbConnectionPoolIdentity identity, SqlConnectionString connectionOptions, SqlCredential credential, Object providerInfo, String newPassword, SecureString newSecurePassword, Boolean redirectedUserInstance, SqlConnectionString userConnectionOptions, SessionData reconnectSessionData, DbConnectionPool pool, String accessToken, Boolean applyTransientFaultHandling)
    at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnectionFactory.CreateConnection(DbConnectionOptions options, DbConnectionPoolKey poolKey, Object poolGroupProviderInfo, DbConnectionPool pool, DbConnection owningConnection, DbConnectionOptions

I double checked the permissions for my account, so it has sysadmin permission on the SQL Server but repeating the installation ended up in the same error. After a while I found the solution, I unregistered and registered msiexec program on the SCOM server like this…

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…the I executed the setup again (make sure you always use elevation ;))and the installation succeeded. Thanks to Abu-Obaid who delivered the solution, all credits to him. I hope this will save you some time!

SCOM – Editing SPN Quickly

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If you are dealing with SCOM, you know that there is a lot to install and configure before it runs smoothly. One step during the installation process, is to configure the SPN (Service Principal Names) in Active Directory. In fact you need to set SPNs per SCOM management server and if you are hosting the web console on a dedicated server you also need to set an SPN (and Kerberos constraint delegation) correctly, so authentication will work properly. But how should the SPNs look like? Well, Kevin Holman (Microsoft) published  while ago an awesome post how they should look like. It will answer probably most of your questions. If not, just drop me a comment 🙂 .

There are different ways to mess with SPNs settings. First born tool is SetSPN.exe, which has been around for a while and can be considered “classic”. A more modern way of doing SPN registration is to use PowerShell of course. In terms of SCOM, if you are using a domain account for System Center Data Access Service then you could use PowerShell cmdlet Set-ADUser to  to register SPNs. It would look like this…

Get-ADUser -Filter 'Name –eq "[DAS Account]"' | Set-ADUser -ServicePrincipalNames  @{Add="MSOMSdkSvc/[MgmtServerFQDN]"}
Get-ADUser -Filter 'Name –eq "[DAS Account]"' | Set-ADUser -ServicePrincipalNames  @{Add="MSOMSdkSvc/[MgmtServerNetBIOS]"}

But if you more into GUI’s or you need to troubleshoot quickly, it might be faster to use the Active Directory Users and Computers console. You need to turn on Advanced Features

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…check the Attribute Editor on your System Center Data Access account and select the servicePrincipalName property…

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There you have a quick and nice overview, what has been configured on you service account. In addition you are able to add and remove obsolete SPN’s. Hope this helps :).

SCOM / OMS – MP University 2017 Recording

Sielct

Yes, Silect did it again! Few days ago Silect Software provided MP University 2017, an online event packed with sessions from well known names like Kevin Holman, Brian Wren and Aditya Goda from Microsoft, Marnix Wolf from Didacticum and Mike Sargent from Silect. What I like about this event is, that it is not marketing instead the sessions are packed with very deep content of MP authoring and as it seems to start touching OMS as well Smile. If you missed this event I encourage you to watch the recordings online on Youtube.

MP Authoring Basics and Silect MP Author

 

MP Authoring using Fragments

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Azure Zurich User Group – Speaker

I am very happy to have a session at the Azure Zurich user group meetup in Zürich, Switzerland. I will have a session about Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) which will give you an overview how OMS works and what it is capable of in a private, hybrid and public cloud scenario. The session is split into two parts to have enough room for discussions and some drinks. Please join us and share this user group event. You can find all information on their Meetup site here.

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Hope to see you there!

Experts Live Café – Microsoft IT Pro Switzerland User Group

In one of my previous posts I announced the birth of the Experts Live Café Microsoft IT Pro Switzerland User Group which took place for the first time on April 7th in Bern. We (MVP Stefan Johner and I) didn’t know how many people would join us and if the event will run smoothly. Honestly, we were overwhelmed by the audience (more than 30 attendees!), their feedback and how strong the community mindset was. If you want to browse some photos or watch the sessions you are very welcome to do so.

This event gave us an extra boost to organize the second user group meeting, which will take place on July 7h in Bern / Switzerland.

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We will have two sessions held by Alain Schneiter about modern user data management and MVP Samuel Zürcher who will talk about Office 365 identity and authentication. As you can see there are awesome sessions waiting for you. The location will be right next to the train station in Bern about 5 minutes walking distance (https://www.effinger.ch/). In addition to a cozy place and interesting sessions, Microsoft Switzerland sponsors Subway sandwiches and Experts Inside offers some cold beers and drinks. I hope we will see you at the event and please use the meetup group to register for this free event. If you still not sure, if you should attend or not, there will be a raffle and you could win a free ticket to Experts Live Europe, Berlin.

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Welcome is anybody who likes to have food for the brain and stomach – we hope to see you!