Power BI – Introduction Part 1

I had already written in the past, that I like to combine new technologies to build new solutions. There are new technologies coming which might get not that attention yet they would deserve. My recent attention got caught by Power BI. I had some sort of idea what Power BI would be but not in detail so I did some research to get a better picture. My intension is to give you a brief idea what Power BI for Office 365 and Power BI is, because I will do some future blog posts on Power BI and will refer to this post. Power BI for Office 365 will not be my focus, because it is somewhat “old” and too tight up.

Microsoft Power BI is a collection of online services and features that enables you to find and visualize data, share discoveries, and collaborate in intuitive new ways. There are two experiences now available for Power BI: the current experience, generally referred to as Power BI for Office 365, and a new experience for Power BI, currently offered as a public preview.

So there are TWO Power BI thingies out there.

  • Power BI integrated into Office 365
  • Power BI (I call it “standalone”)

The Power BI for Office 365 version is the older and probably more known version of the Power BI family, than the new Power BI version which currently is in a preview version available. So what are the main differences?

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SCOM – New SQL Server Management Pack Dashboard Capabilities

3 days ago Microsoft published a new SQL Server management pack version. In every new MP version there are fixes for some bugs or new monitors / rules and support for new SQL Server versions. This MP is a bit different and I would like to spread the words about a very welcome new summer gift. The new management pack contains not only new default SQL Server dashboards (which look btw. awesome!), we actually get the opportunity to use the same kind of dashboard for all groups respectively objects in SCOM.

Just here few impression of the new default summary SQL Server dashboard…


…and if you double click on a tile from the dashboard above, it drills down to a detailed instance dashboard…


There are more default dashboards to explore, but you can also build these kind of summary / detail dashboards yourself! I would like to show a simple example for domain controllers.

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NiCE Datacenter Tag 2015 – Session “Operations Manager Dashboards – Neue Widgets und Möglichkeiten”


This blog title looks probably a bit strange to you because it is in German. The company NiCE is organizing a “Datacenter Day” in Munich and there will be all kind of topics presented by Microsoft, partners and people from the community. I will be having a session about the new widgets and its capabilities in SCOM called “Operations Manager Dashboards – Neue Widgets und Möglichkeiten”.

According to Microsoft, 60% of System Center customers are actively using System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) today. While there are many different System Center events available, only a handful of them focus predominantly on SCOM and new products like Azure Operational Insights (OpInsights) for big data analytics. As a leading System Center ISV in Germany, NiCE will be hosting an event in conjunction with Microsoft to address the above mentioned gap. The objectives of the event include:

  • Present and discuss the latest developments and news on SCOM and OpInsights
  • Hands-on tips and tricks for using SCOM in large environments
  • Illustration and recount of the common System Center integration scenarios
  • Present partner extensions for System Center
  • Provide top content in German for the DACH region

The detailed agenda looks like this (subject to change):


If you are interested in attending this event it will held on:

February 17th 2015 at Microsoft München,Konrad-Zuse-Straße185716 Unterschleißheim.

Microsoft Azure Operational Insights – Mobile App Available


I have blogged previously about Microsoft Azure Operational Insights which is still in a preview stage and you can test it free of charge. Microsoft did already a great job visualizing all the data collected by the Intelligence Packs. At this moment you are also able to have all this information on your Windows Phone. The release of the Microsoft Azure Operational Insights Mobile App allows you to look at all the available information on your mobile device.

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TechEd Europe 2014 – SCOM Sessions


I wish I could have attended the TechEd Europe 2014 in Barcelona but since I had the chance to go to TechEd NA 2014 in Houston I already got a good picture what is going on. For those who also could not attend TechEd in Barcelona there is luckily Channel 9 who publishes all the session recordings. But there are still some highlights which cannot be recorded like meeting the SCOM product team and of course the networking and community meet ups.


For those of you who also could not attend TechEd in Barcelona here the relevant SCOM sessions on Channel 9:

Introduction to the NEW Microsoft Azure Operational Insights Service with System Center Operations Manager

This TechEd Europe 2014 session covers how Operations Manager as a platform has been extended with Microsoft Azure Operational Insights Preview (previously known as System Center Advisor), a next generation cloud service that provides log collection, search, dashboard visualization and operational intelligence for modern IT operations. Come to this session and see how easy it is to collect machine data/logs and explore them.

System Center Operations Manager: Monitoring in a Modern World

This session illustrates how customer needs for monitoring are changing and how Microsoft is investing in System Center Operations Manager and System Center Advisor to address these updated customer needs.

Building Highly Effective Dashboards in System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager

This session covers the brand new innovations in the Operations Manager dashboard infrastructure that allows you to build custom dashboards for any audience.

Using System Center for Dynamic Application Mapping

Dynamic distributed applications can make System Center the key to streamlining your IT Operations Programs. Microsoft partnered with BlueStripe to deliver complete, multi-tier application management in System Center. In this session, learn how to deliver: Live, dynamic application discover/mapping, monitoring, and alerting in Operations Manager; Application management across platforms (Windows and non-Windows systems) and architectures (physical, virtual, cloud, and hybrid cloud); and Application management for Azure Hybrid Cloud. BlueStripe automatically discovers, maps, and monitors all the components that make up your distributed applications, regardless of platform or physical location. Learn how to build live dynamic application views that cross Azure and the datacenter, how to use these application maps within System Center Operations Manager, and how to apply application context to provide business services for Service Manager and application performance-focused run books using Orchestrator. You’ll also preview an integration of live distributed application maps into Azure Pack.

Management Pack Authoring for IT Professionals

Monitoring infrastructure is a crucial function in any datacenter. Due to the complexities involved, IT administrators have traditionally either requested services from consultant firms or bought pre-packaged management packs to monitor their infrastructure. Come learn how MP Author, a free management pack authoring tool can be used to create robust management packs that adapt to the needs of your business. Also, come see how MP Author integrates with MP Studio to address the complete lifecycle of a management pack.

Could well be that not all sessions are right now available online but within the next few days they will.

SCOM 2012 – PowerShell Grid Widget & Web Console Pitfall

In the past posts I have blogged about the new dashboard widgets primarily about PowerShell Grid & Web Widget. As in every technology there are cases were you stumble on some errors. This happens to me while playing with the PowerShell Grid Widget.

The following code should list all processes which have a CPU value and display them in the PowerShell Grid Widget. Displaying few processes is not a fancy thing and it worked in the SCOM console itself but as soon I opened the SCOM web console I faced an ugly error.

The script looks like this…


In my opinion a nice simple script, which should run without any problem in the widget. Well, in the SCOM console it works without any issue…


But how does it look in the web console? Well, not as pretty…


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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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