WAP – Get Windows Azure Pack Websites via PowerShell

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Windows Azure Pack was Microsoft’s first attempt to bring Azure into your on-premise datacenter. The things you can do with it are limited to IaaS VM, PaaS databases and PaaS websites. In addition there is Service Bus and some networking part which is necessary for the IaaS / PaaS services. Of course there are other required parts, like Service Provider Framework (SPF), SC Virtual Machine Manager etc. Because my job is to automate things using PowerShell, I have sometimes the need to get data out of systems like in this case WAP as my data source. If you look a bit closer at WAP and you want to get information about configured SQL databases or MySQL databases there is a rich set of PowerShell cmdlets available and these modules are installed on the WAP admin servers…

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…so what you could do is use PowerShell remoting and query these server for information. If you want to get information about provisioned VM’s you simply could query VMM using its own cmdlets to gather information.

One other way you could get information out of WAP, is to use the Public Tenant API. This API provides information about tenant specific information, therefore you need to provide a subscription to get detailed information about that specific tenant. MVP Ben Gelens has written a fantastic PowerShell module to get all sorts of information from the WAP Public Tenant and WAP Admin API you can find the module here https://github.com/bgelens/WAPTenantPublicAPI . I have tested it and it works like a charm.

So but what is now the point of this post? Well, so far we have seen, that we can get information about SQL Server and MySQL databases using these PowerShell cmdlets using the Admin API, for VM’s use VMM as a data source, but what about websites? There are also modules installed on the web controller servers itself, e.g. the WebSites module…

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…and the WebSiteDev module…

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…to get infos about websites from the system just use these cmdlets above.

One more elegant way to pull website information is going through the endpoint REST API (Web Site Cloud REST Endpoint) which you need to provide when adding the website resource to the admin portal. It depends how you configured, it but as an example you can find the settings you configured on the web controller server you could execute the Windows Azure Pack Websites MMC and find all different settings…

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SCSM 2016 / SCOM 2016 – SCOM 2016 Console Crashes After SCSM 2016 Console Installation

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Have you ever installed System Center Service Manager 2016 and System Center Operations Manager 2016 console on the same system? Depending on the installation order, the SCOM console will crash with multiple errors like this…

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…and the console will appear empty or crash totally. We had the case, that the SCOM console was installed first and the SCSM console afterwards. It is a known issue and MVP Eric Berg as blogged about it in German, check his post here.

Because this error has massive impact and I was also affected by this nasty bug I will re-write it in English and pimp this post with some nice screenshots :).

The problem is the Analysis Management Objects (AMO) 2014 package which is being installed by the SCSM 2016 console installation. What you could do, is uninstalling the Analysis Management Objects (AMO) 2014 package and run a repair installation of the SCOM console.

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A better workaround is the following (taken from Eric Berg’s blog)…

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Experts Live Switzerland 2017 – Speaker

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I am very proud to be speaking at Experts Live Switzerland 2017. I will have a talk together with my buddy Jonas Feller from itnetX. We both have gained a lot of experience in the past, doing on-premise automation projects and this is also the title of our session

“On-premise Automation using System Center Service Manager (SCSM), Service Management Automation (SMA) and PowerShell”

We will highlight some conceptual aspects, but also show some technical automation kung fu kicks you might want to be aware of. In addition we will discuss some approaches and tools, which can avoid some headache and trouble. The event takes place May 17th in Bern, so save the date and hopefully you join our session. The session is held in German.

What is Experts Live Switzerland and how does it fit into the entire Experts Live stack?

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SCOM – Extensible Network Monitoring Management Pack Generator Tool

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Microsoft just released the Extensible Network Monitoring Management Pack Generator tool which allows you to build custom SNMP management packs. In my previous post SCOM 2016 TP5 I have written a post about the prototype of this tool which was command line driven. I addressed some missing parts like a GUI, custom SNMP components and handling more complex SNMP values. Guess what?! Microsoft listened and released a GUI based (and also a command line based) tool to create your own SNMP management packs..

Both tool have the following features:

  1. SNMP_MPGenerator tool has an inbuilt MIB browser. Users can load MIB files, search through the Object Identifiers (OIDs) of the component they wish to add workflows for and create rules and monitors.
  2. Users can add monitors and rules for device components such as Processor, Memory, Fan, Temperature Sensor, Power Supply, Voltage Sensor and Custom device components.
  3. This tool would also support custom devices in addition to already supported devices like Switch, Router, Firewall and Load Balancer.
  4. Users can define monitors and rules for multiple devices in a single project file and generate a single Management Pack for all of their devices.
  5. As mentioned above, this tool would also include the command line executive NetMonMPGenerator.exe for users who wish to generate MP through command line interface.

The tool is free and comes with a detailed documentation how to build an MP. I just have clicked through the tool and it seems to be very self-explaining. The GUI has basically two parts, the MIB browser which let’s you import MIBs and browse/search through the MIB tree and the editor part were you can add components, rules and monitors. The MIB browser is just for finding the proper OID for each component and then you are able to copy/paste the value to the proper place in the editor. For the command line tool you need to configure a XML file as input.

I think it is a very nice approach and let’s see how it will perform in some upcoming projects download the tool here.

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.

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SCOM 2016 – What’s New UNIX/Linux Series: File System Discovery e.g. Exclude /tmp

A little pain in SCOM 2012 R2 was, that as soon you installed the UNIX/Linux management packs for your distribution all UNIX/Linux folders were discovered on the file system. This could be lead to a huge list of monitored directories e.g. /tmp, /var… which was not intended to be. To overcome this problem, you would have needed to create a group, add the objects and disable the discovery rule for this group. The override parameters in SCOM 2012 R2 looked like this…

…the discovery itself…

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…and the properties…

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In SCOM 2016 there is a new option which let’s you exclude directories using regular expressions. The override parameters in SCOM 2016 look like this…

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As you can see there are two options, either override by file system name or by file system type.

How does this work? Let’s see…

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SCOM 2016 – What’s New UNIX/Linux Series: Monitors and Rules Running (Any) Script e.g. Perl

One new feature I am very excited about is to run any sort of script on the UNIX/Linux agent. In SCOM 2012 R2 you had the option to run shell commands for performance rules and monitors. In SCOM 2012 R2 the monitor dialog looks like this…

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…and the rules wizard shows options for creating shell command based alert and performance rules…

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The problem was, that you were restricted to “one-liner” command which executed either the full command or you used the command to execute a script on the host. Now, in SCOM 2016 the awesome news are, that you are able to put any sort of UNIX/Linux scripts into your monitors and rules. The new wizard for monitors looks like this…image

…and the additional script options for alert and performance rules…image

As you can see,  we got these new options:

  • UNIX/Linux Script Three State Monitor
  • UNIX/Linux Script Two State Monitor
  • UNIX/Linux Script (Alert) Rule
  • UNIX/Linux Script (Performance) Rule

I think this a really awesome step for SCOM. In the past I had a few cases where I would have needed such new capabilities. How does it work? Let’s see…

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