SCOM 2016 RTM – What’s (REALLY) New

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Up to the final release of SCOM 2016 it was not clear what will be within this box. There were even some surprises, like the new web console (almost) without Silverlight. I thought I will write a post, were I put all this information together and link it to blog post which I have previously written or other community members provided, so you will have a single spot to find detailed information. I used the TechNet overview from here and pimped it with additional information. I hope you find it useful.

Improve desktop console performance

    • With the release of System Center 2016 – Operations Manager, we have made performance improvements to state and diagram views in the Operations console to improve load performance (these improvements are in addition to the alert view optimizations).

[Stefan Roth] I have not tested SCOM 2016 in a large environment, but in my lab in feels like Microsoft improved these experiences drastically.

Send E-mail notifications with external authentication

    • Operations Manager now supports sending notifications from an e-mail server, either within the organization or external and configuring a Run As account to authenticate against an external messaging system.

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[Stefan Roth] If you check your Channel configuration you can find a new setting, which allows you to specify a RunAs Profile to specify an account for authenticating against external mail server.

Non Silverlight Web console (except Dashboard views)

    • With the release of System Center 2016 – Operations Manager, we have removed the Silverlight dependency from all the Web console views except Dashboard views. This feature provides the following value:
      • No more Silverlight prerequisite to access Operations Manager Web console
      • Operations Manager Web console can be accessed from multiple web browsers like Edge, Chrome and Firefox
      • Performant experience
      • Dashboard views are still dependent on Silverlight, which can be accessed through Internet Explorer with Silverlight plug in.

[Stefan Roth] Fellow MVP Marnix Wolf has already written a blog post about. I hope this console gets updated and finally all Silverlight parts will be replaced with some upcoming URs.

Access Schedule Maintenance Mode from Monitoring pane and maintenance mode from client side

    • Schedule Maintenance mode is a feature released in System Center 2016 – Operations Manager to suspend monitoring of an object during regular software or hardware maintenance activities, such as software updates or hardware replacements. Entities can be put to maintenance in older versions of Operations Manager, but they cannot be put into maintenance mode at a future time. The newly created Maintenance Mode Scheduling wizard gives the ability to choose different types of entities to put into maintenance and to schedule maintenance at a future time.
    • With the release of System Center 2016 – Operations Manager, Operators can access the “Maintenance Schedules” feature from the monitoring pane without the dependency on administrators to schedule maintenance at a future time. We now supports allowing a server administrator to set the agent-managed computer in maintenance mode directly from the computer itself, without needing to perform this from the Operations console. This can be performed with the new PowerShell cmdlet Start-SCOMAgentMainteannceMode.

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[Stefan Roth] Microsoft moved the Maintenance Schedules to the Monitoring section so Operators are able to set schedules. In previous TP versions it was placed within the Administrator section which would not have allowed to schedule maintenance modes other than administrators.

Management Pack Updates and Recommendations

    • We have added a new capability to Operations Manager to assess the management packs. Operations Manager includes a new feature called Updates and Recommendations, to help you proactively identify new technologies or components (i.e. workloads) deployed in your IT infrastructure that were not monitored by Operations Manager or are not monitored using the latest version of a management pack. For more information about Updates and Recommendations see Management Pack Assessment.

Alert data management

    • With the release of System Center 2016 – Operations Manager, you get better visibility of the alerts being generated in your management group which helps you reduce alerts that you don’t consider actionable or relevant.
      • This feature provides the following benefits:
        • Identify the number of alerts each management pack has generated.
        • Identify the number of alerts generated by a monitor/rule with in each management pack.
        • Identify different source/s (along with alert count) which have generated an alert for a particular type of alert.
        • Filter the data for the desired duration so that you can understand what was happening during a particular period of time.
        • This information enables you to make informed decisions on tuning the thresholds or disabling the alerts which you consider noisy.
        • This feature is available for members of the Operations Manager Administrators role from the Tune Management Packs screen in the Operations console.

Extensible network monitoring

    • In System Center 2016 – Operations Manager, we include a tool which will allow you to create a custom management pack to monitor generic network devices (non-certified as of Operations Manager 2012 R2) and include resource utilization metrics, such as processor and memory. Or you can create extended monitoring workflows for an existing network device already monitored by your management group. This tool enables customers to generate a management pack for their network devices to get extended network monitoring. In addition to the current extended monitoring support for Network devices (Processor and Memory monitoring), this tool enables customers to add monitoring of additional device components such as fan, temperature sensor, voltage sensor and power supply.

[Stefan Roth] After installing SCOM 2016 UR1 this tool seems not to be available on the media, as other fellow MVPs confirmed. It might be shipped with upcoming URs.

UPDATE 19.10.2016: Microsoft just released the tool as a separate download, see here for more details.

Monitoring Nano Server and workloads

    • In the System Center 2016 – Operations Manager release, we have included support to monitor Nano Server:
    • Discover a Nano Server and push Nano-compatible agent to the server from the console
    • Monitor Internet Information Services (IIS) and Domain Name System (DNS) roles
    • Supports ACS security audit event collection
    • Support Active Directory Integration for managing agent assignment
    • Deploy the Nano-compatible agent manually using a PowerShell script included in this release
    • Manage updating the Nano-compatible agent directly from the console as you do today with the Windows agent, or manually on Nano Server using a PowerShell script included in this release
    • For specific instructions on how to configure System Center 2016 – Operations Manager to monitor Nano Server, see Monitoring Nano Server.

[Stefan Roth] Thank you Daniel Orneling for his great post on monitoring Nano server.

Scalability improvement with Unix/Linux agent monitoring

    • Operations Manager includes improved scalability in how many Unix/Linux agents that can be monitored per Management server. You can now monitor up to 2X the number of Unix/Linux servers per Management server, against the previously supported scale.
    • Operations Manager now uses by default, the new Async Windows Management Infrastructure (MI) APIs instead of WSMAN Sync APIs. To take advantage of this scalability improvement, you will need to create a new registry key “UseMIAPI” on Management servers monitoring Linux/Unix systems by performing the following steps:
      1. Open the Registry Editor from an elevated Command Prompt.
      2. Create registry key UseMIAPI under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft Operations Manager\3.0\Setup.
    • If you need to restore the original configuration of WSMAN Sync APIs, you can delete the UseMIAPI registry key.

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[Stefan Roth] This comparison tables are taken from TechNet and as you can see the amount of UNIX / Linux agents are twice as much per management server and gateway server. It also seems that the URL monitoring also increased (not confirmed, it could be also a typo).

Extend Operations Manager with Operations Management Suite

    • With Microsoft Operations Management Suite you can extend your management capabilities by connecting your Operations Management infrastructure to management and analysis services provided through your Azure account. The main scenarios for connecting System Center 2016 – Operations Manager to Microsoft Operations Management Suite include
      • Configuration Assessment
      • Alert Management
      • Capacity Planning

Partner Program in Administration pane

    • Customers can view certified System Center Operations Manager partner solutions directly from the console. Customers can obtain a view of the partner solutions and visit the partner websites to download and install the solutions.

What’s new in System Center 2016 Operations Manager UNIX/Linux monitoring

New PowerShell Cmdlets

    • There are new cmdlets available for handling scheduled maintenance modes as also setting telemetry functionality.

[Stefan Roth] Fellow MVP Marnix Wolf has written an excellent post about these new cmdlets.

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