SMA – Error “Root element is missing”

While I was building SMA runbooks in the past couple of months I bumped into this rather strange error. So happen few days ago, I tried to call (invoke) a child runbook, from a parent runbook function. SMA returned an error “Root element is missing” I simplified the structure so it looks like this…

Function Call:


It seems, that you are not able to call a PowerShell Child-Runbook within a function in the Parent-Runbook workflow . Why would you want to do that anyway? Well, I wanted to prevent code duplication and simplify the code,  therefore I dumped everything into a function.

The same, more widely known error happens, if you try to call a runbook within an inlinescript, for example like this…

Inlinescript Call:


If you try to call the runbook via cmdlet Start-SmaRunbook it is possible to start the Child-Runbook in both cases…

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System Center – RSS Feeds Collection

It doesn’t matter If you are new to the System Center stack or if you have been working many years in the System Center field, we all share the same problem. How are we keeping up with this massive amount of information dropping in every single day? There are so many excellent sources out there but you have to find it and get informed if there is a new article or blog post.

I think staying up-to-date is essential for must of us, especially if you are working as a consultant. So, how are we staying ahead? Well, I like Twitter very much when it comes to interact with the community and getting information immediately. In my opinion Twitter is the fastest source for getting information almost in real-time.

One other source which everyone knows about, but somehow not a lot of people are using are RSS feeds. This technology started about 15 years ago and was developed further up to now. RSS feeds are based on XML and publish the blog or website in a structured way. Almost any blog / website has such a functionality and if enabled it lets you collect all the published content in a very comfortable way. You can use many applications for displaying RSS feeds like Internet Explorer, Outlook or dedicated applications like Feedreader . You can use Feedreader online or install it on your Windows box.


Feedreader (Online)


Feedreader (Client)


I would like to share my (personal) feeds which I collected and tried to categorize by topic and / or technology (download the OPML file at the end of the post). I tried to collect as many good and reliable sources for staying up-to-date in the System Center field. If I missed any valuable source it was not my intention, let me know and I will add it.

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Orchestrator – Another Useful Runbook for SCOM 2012 SP 1

There are certain situations respectively alerts where you can not decide to override or not to override. You would like to see the alert for a certain time but then it should disappear after a short time. I think you know what I mean. I am talking about the informational alerts. Those alerts are somehow useful but also harassing me in a certain way therefore I decided to make a small runbook which will clean up informational alerts older than a day.

Let’s rock the blog…

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Orchestrator 2012 SP1 – PowerShell 3.0, Run .Net Activity and Get-SCXAgent

New things are not always good things or at least old habits change. I had been working on some runbooks in Orchestrator 2012 SP1 and needed to run PowerShell 3.0 and the .Net Activity. 

I installed Orchestrator 2012 SP1 on Windows Server2008 R2 which has PowerShell 2.0 installed natively. Then I wanted to use the Get-SCXAgent cmdlet and hit an error:


As I am a good person I installed PowerShell 3.0 and started to build the runbook. Well, somehow I didn’t get the result I expected in my output.  Next, I started digging around to see what’s wrong. If I executed the command in a regular shell (PowerShell 3.0) everything worked fine. I came across a post from Karl Prosser where he describes the problem.

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Orchestrator – Getting Data from SCSM via SCORCH to SNMP to SCSM

In this post I would like to show how to interact with Service Manager objects to get information from SNMP devices and put data back into Service Manager. A customer needed a solution to get serial numbers from different network devices into his Service Manager form to have the most valuable data available for those devices.

If you already using network monitoring in SCOM 2012 then you know that you get all kinds of data on the network object. Here an example of the properties of a switch in SCOM…


What SCOM not does, is discover other properties which might be useful e.g. the serial number of the device. The serial number is just another system object ID (OID) on the networking device which can differ between each vendor or even between model types from the same vendor. That means for a HP switch Pro Curve type A you will have a different OID for the serial number than for a HP switch Pro Curve type B.

Now how do I get the serial number into a Service Manager form?

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SCOM 2012 – Maintenance Mode by Powershell, Orchestrator & SCOJobRunner

If you browse the web and you search for a solution to start maintenance mode in SCOM you will find many solutions. There are different approaches which are based on Powershell or Orchestrator but my intention was to to combine all of those and also utilize SCOJobRunner, Just for fun Smile

The idea looks like this…


The basic concept is to offer the user a kind of GUI where he/she can enter or select the required information and then triggering a runbook without the need of any SCOM permission.

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