SMA Authoring Toolkit – Some Runbooks Are Not Showing Up

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When you are creating runbooks in SMA (Service Management Automation) and you are using the SMA Authoring Toolkit available on PowerShell Gallery, you might have also have faced a very annoying bug. If you have a certain amount of runbooks in SMA and you are browsing through the runbook list in ISE you simply cannot find certain runbooks. Trying to refresh the list does not work at all.

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If you open SMA to browse the runbook list you can see them all published and in a “healthy” state. So there is no reason not to show up.

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OMS – Custom Solution “SCOM Effective Configuration”

I had been very busy lately so this blog has been quite for few days, but now I would like to provide a custom OMS solution. My goal was to build a solution which shows you the effective configuration of a monitor or rule, based on a group of objects in SCOM. I created two parts, one is a PowerShell module to collect all the data from your SCOM management server and ingest it into your OMS workspace. For visualizing the data I created a OMS view which looks like this…

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How does it work? Great question, so let’s start with the data collection.

SendEffectiveConfiguration PowerShell Module

I published the module on PowerShell gallery, which you can find here.

The module supports the following parameters:

  • GroupDisplayName

This parameter accepts any existing group in SCOM, that contains objects. E.g. Windows Server 2012 Computer Group.

  • ManagementServer

Set your SCOM management server here.

  • CustomerID

CustomerID is the workspace id where you want to analyze your data.

  • SharedKey

SharedKey ist the primary key for the corresponding workspace.

So the command executed would look like this:

Send-EffectiveConfiguration -GroupDisplayName  “Windows Server 2012 Computer Group” -ManagementServer SCOM -CustomerId [WorkspaceID] -SharedKey [PrimaryKey] –verbose

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OMS – Where Can I Find the Sealed OMS MPs / Intelligence Packs?

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Sometimes you need to have the sealed version of management packs / intelligence packs which get’s downloaded from OMS. You might need them as reference in your custom management pack solutions or maybe just to explore it. You can find the management packs in your C:\Windows\Temp folder on your SCOM server.

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As you can see the name of the files corresponds to the solutions in OMS.

I hope this quick tip saves you some time.

SCOM 2016 – Network Monitoring MP Generator Tool

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In one of my previous posts, I covered SCOM 2016 TP5 – What’s New and one of the topics mentioned was, that Microsoft will provide a tool to generate SNMP management packs. A what? Ok, let me explain. You are able to monitor network devices via SNMP. Well this is no magic and pretty common these days. SCOM 2012 provided a new rebuild SNMP stack for monitoring network devices. The magic was / is, that you just need to discover the device and SCOM will take care of the rest, meaning it will discover model, type, cpu, memory, network traffic and a lot more. There is just one problem, because there are so many devices available, SCOM cannot support all devices to the same level. What does that mean? There are “Certified” devices for SCOM which will be monitored very deeply and there are “Generic” devices which are just monitored in a less deep way.

  1. Basic Monitoring – This includes “Availability Monitoring” and “Port/Interface monitoring” for all network devices that have implemented the interface MIB (RFC 2863) and MIB-II (RFC 1213) standards.
  2. Extended Monitoring – This includes monitoring Processor and Memory components of the network device. This level of monitoring is currently available only for network devices certified by Microsoft, as those components could be discovered and monitored mostly through private MIBs.

As you can see there will be missing information depending on the device support. To close this gap, Microsoft created a command line tool to generate a management pack which will monitor these missing things.In this example here, I will kind “abuse” this tool to monitor a Windows Server via SNMP. Because I don’t have a network device and I want to do a bit more advanced stuff we will create a SNMP MP for a Windows Server 2012 R2. Some of you SCOM guys will now yell at me – “That is not possible, because you cannot discover Windows Servers via SNMP in SCOM!”. Of course it is!

How does this Network Monitoring MP Generator Tool work at a high level view? Well, basically you provide an OID (Object Identifier) for the target, an OID for the value you want to monitor and then you need to set thresholds for triggering alerts. That’s it, the tool itself will create all necessary information in the background. So let’s start, first we prepare our target server for monitoring…

Step 1 – Install SNMP service

On your Windows Server go to Add Roles and Features wizard and select SNMP Service in the Feature section, it will look like this…

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After you installed the SNMP service, open the Services MMC and open the SNMP service, select the Security tab and configure the SNMP settings like below, in this example I will provide a read-only community string public

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So, now we are able to query our Windows Server with the “password” / community string public and getting all the SNMP information.

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Azure Automation – ISE Add-On Editing Runbooks

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Well it has been a while since last post, because there is a lot going on in my private life as also in my job. But now some “tasks” are completed and I will have more time for community work again. Microsoft product machinery is running at high speed in all areas. One tool I really appreciate is the ISE add-On for Azure Automation. I have written quite a lot of runbooks in the past for SMA using regular ISE and Visual Studio but a tool for writing runbooks which integrates into the SMA environment is missing. This add-On integrates seamlessly into your ISE environment and lets you write runbooks for Azure Automation in different flavors like regular PowerShell scripts and PowerShell workflows and executes them using Azure Automation. As a target you are able to choose either Azure itself or a Hybrid Worker Group. Joe Levy (PM Azure Automation) has already written a post about this add-on. I would like to dive a bit more into this.

How does it look like?

As you can see it seamlessly integrates into ISE…

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SCOM – Authoring History and System Center Visual Studio Authoring Extensions 2015

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I usually don’t blog about new releases of management packs or similar things, but this time I feel I have to do so. If you have been working for some time with SCOM, you know there is a (long) history behind authoring MOM/SCOM management packs. Back in the days where MOM 2005 used to rule the monitoring world, you had these AKM management pack files which could not be changed or authored outside of MOM. In 2007 when SCOM 2007 was released, Microsoft changed that concept to the sealed (MP extension) / unsealed (XML extension) management pack concept which is still valid up to this point. In the same wave Microsoft released the widely loved Authoring Console which was a GUI driven approach and more or less intuitive to work with for an IT Pro.

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SCOM – Silect Software / Infront Consulting MP University Recordings

On August 12, Silect Software and Infront Consulting hosted a webinar about MP authoring with all the big shots in the management pack authoring space. I did also attend the webinar and the content was just awesome. If you mist the event, you are able to watch the recordings on YouTube. All of these guys did an awesome job and I highly recommend watching these recordings.

Brian Wren MP Best Practices

MP Best Practices

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