SCOM 2012 R2 Technical Preview 2 – What’s New?

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Few days ago Microsoft released the technical preview of it’s Windows Server and System Center stack. One thing I am very interested in is SCOM, if there is anything new.

If you download SCOM in comes on a pre-configured VHD including the latest Windows Server (2016) TP2, SQL Server 2014 and SCOM 2012 R2 TP2. So there is no extra configuration necessary and you can start testing right away.

So what’s new?

GUI / Interface / Web Console

The console and also the web console do not show any changes in appearance or design. The version of SCOM 2012 R2 TP2 is 7.2.11097.0 as it shows on the help screen.

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Even in the dashboard or widget section I did not find anything new…

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Management Packs

Out of the box TP2 has 100 management packs installed. Most versions are higher than before, the only management packs which are equal to the current SCOM 2012 R2 version are the following management packs…

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PowerShell Cmdlets

Comparing the cmdlets there are no changes. SCOM 2012 R2 TP2 contains 173 cmdlets and if I compare them against my current SCOM 2012 R2 (OM01), there is no difference.

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Services

The Windows services are still the same as in the current SCOM 2012 R2 version.

Connectors

Out of the box the Azure Operational Insight connector is named correctly and also integrated out of the box…

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Functionality

Here comes the fun part, I found TWO ONE improvement / feature.

Download Management Packs

Update 07.05.2015: Thanks to @rem8 for telling me that this task also exists in the SCOM 2012 R2 version, so this is NOT NEW in SCOM 2012 R2 Technical Preview 2! My mistake 😦

There is a task to download the management packs to your server / client locally from Microsoft via management pack download wizard…

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If you click “Download Management Packs”, you will be able to select a directory where the MPs should be saved….

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…and if you click “Add” you get a familiar dialog to select the MPs from the online store from Microsoft…

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…after you click “OK” all the *.mp files will be downloaded…

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Now you have the management packs offline available. Very handy wizard and functionality!

Maintenance Mode Scheduler

Up to now it was not possible to schedule maintenance mode in the future. Of course you could use scheduled tasks and PowerShell scripts or third party tools to do this, but depending on the approach it was not resilient, reliable and flexible. Go to “Administration”  and you will find a new option called “Maintenance Schedules”…

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This kicks off a wizard to select the objects to put into maintenance mode…

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…the default class is “Computer” (Microsoft.Windows.Computer), which is probably the most used class to use for this purpose. You could also pick any other object of any available class. As you can see I am able to pick my SCOM server to put into maintenance mode, which you NEVER EVER should do if you just have one management server! It would have been perfect if Microsoft would have avoided to be able to select the management servers in this wizard or at least shoot a warning or so.

On the next page you are able to select the schedule…

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After you set the schedule, you need to give it a name and select the reason. In addition you are able to “Enable/Disable” this maintenance mode schedule…

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Finally you see you entries in the console…

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I was wondering where SCOM saves these entries, so I explored the OperationsManager Database and found these probably most important tables among others. As you can see in dbo.MaintenanceModeSchedule we see your previously created entry…

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…this is linked to the dbo.ScheduleEntity table….

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..which is linked to the dbo.BaseManagedEntityId…

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…there is also a view dbo.MaintenanceModeView, which shows the objects in maintenance mode…

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…and also some stored procedures to start and stop the maintenance mode or grooming out the maintenance mode history etc….

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I am happy to see that Microsoft is adding some new features to SCOM, especially that there is now a maintenance mode scheduler available that works. It is something that was really, really missing. Hopefully there will be more improvements and enhancements in the upcoming releases. I hope this gives you a good overview of SCOM 2012 R2 Technical Preview 2.

7 Comments

  1. Hi Stefan
    Very interesting article about the tech. preview of scom. about the maintenance mode Scheduler: is there any Chance, that Microsoft will deploy this Feature in the current operations Manager 2012R2 Version? or do we have do wait for the new System Center 2016? 😦

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