Category Archives: Microsoft

Sneak Peak at Comtrade Management Pack for F5 BIG-IQ

A good part of having a blog that sometimes you are being contacted to have a look at new solutions. Fro such new solution I was contacted by F5 and Comtrade. Comtrade is developing a Management Pack for SCOM that will monitor F5 BIG-IQ devices. Trough monitoring BIG-IQ the soloution provides also monitoring for BIG-IP.

Let’s see what are the requirements for this solution:

  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012 or Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012 SP1 or Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012 R2
  • F5 BIG-IQ 4.3.0
  • Comtrade F5 BIG-IQ MP requires .NET Framework version 3.5 SP1 installed
  • TCP 443 opened to the BIG-IQ devices
  • Administrator account in BIG-IQ

What is available in the MP:

  • Discovery, visualization and dynamic update of F5 BIG-IQ appliances topology
  • Discovery of F5BIGIQ appliance objects
  • BIG-IQ
    • Tenants
      • Catalogs – Applications
      • Virtual Servers
    • BIG-IP Devices
    • Cloud Connectors
      • Nodes
    • Disk Partitions
  • Monitoring
    • BIG-IQ (Availability, CPU utilization, Disk partition available space, Disk partition utilization, memory utilization)
    • BIG-IP (Availability, CPU utilization, Disk partition available space, Disk partition utilization, memory utilization)
    • Cloud Connectors (Cloud connector availability)
    • Tenants
    • Catalogs – Applications (Application availability status, application’s active member count)
    • Virtual Servers (Virtual server availability, server-side connection number for virtual server, client-side connection number for virtual server)
    • Nodes (Availability of tenant nodes, server-side number of connections on nodes for port 80, server-side number of connections on nodes for port general, total number of connections on nodes)
  • Statistics
    • BIG-IQ (CPU utilization, memory utilization, disk partition free space and utilization)
    • BIG-IP (CPU utilization, memory utilization, disk partition free space and utilization)
    • Tenants
      • Catalogs – Applications (application availability and active members)
      • Virtual Servers (server-side connection number on virtual servers, client-side connection number on virtual servers)
      • Nodes (server-side connection number on node port 80, server-side connection number on node port general, server-side in-packets on node port general, server-side out-packets on node port general, server-side bits-in on node port general, server-side bits-out on node port general)
  • Views (Diagram, Alert, State and Dashboard)

How it works:

  1. Comtrade F5 BIG-IQ is installed on one SCOM Management Server. The installation provides the MP and Comtrade MPBIG-IQ Agent. The agent is used for communicating with the REST API of F5 BIG-IQ.
  2. Comtrade MPBIG-IQ Agent is installed on every SCOM Management server that will participate in the BIG-IQ monitoring. SCOM Management Servers are designated trough Resource Pool in SCOM.
  3. Create Network discovery either SNMP or ICMP or both and include the BIG-IQ IP address. Assign the discovery to a SCOM Resource Pool. If needed create new resource pool.
  4. Create Run As account and enter the account with administrator rights for the BIG-IQ device/s. For distribution choose more secure and add the resource pool.
  5. Assign the run as account to F5 BIG-IQ Appliance Action Account profile.

With these easy steps you are ready for monitoring. Here are some screenshots to give you more detailed view for the solution:

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There is also a good video that shows the installation and configuration steps as well as overview:

Comtrade F5 BIG-IQ Management Pack

As this is first beta version there is always room for improvement which I’ve gave as feedback to Comtrade. Here is what is good and what can be improved:

Good:

  • Uses BIG-IQ REST API for monitoring
  • Monitors takes advantage of recalculate option
  • BIG-IQ topology discovery
  • A lot of performance data is gathered
  • Easy setup and configuration
  • MP Administration view
  • Monitor of BIG-IP and BIG-IQ components like Memory, Cores and Partitions
  • Monitor of BIG-IQ Cloud Connectors
  • Taking advantage of SCOM Resource pools and Network Discovery
  • Good Comtrade F5 BIG-IQ Management Pack documentation
  • You can put in maintenance individual objects like BIG-IP device

Room for improvement:

  • SCOM 2012 Dashboards
  • More performance rules
  • Reports

This overview is subject of change as it is based on beta version of Comtrade F5 BIG-IQ Management Pack.

If you are interested in the solution I guess you can always contact Comtrade for more information. Support for F5 BIG-IQ 4.4.0 is expected.

Several MPs Updated

This blog post is to inform you that several MPs have been updated with some important fixes/features. You can find all the information here.

My personal best improvement is:

  • Add Task launch PowerShell session on the remote machine for All Computers

Version 3.0 of Damian’s and My Script to Download All SCOM Management Packs with PowerShell

So my good friend Damian Flynn and fellow MVP has decided to bring this script to another level by making more like PowerShell module than only script. The result is cleaner code and some parts can be reused. You can find the new version here. Some of the changes include:

  • Refactored the script to a powershell module, and split the code into functions to ease support and prepare for some automation ;)
  • added Write-CMTraceLog – to enabled it execute   Get-SCOMManagementPacks –CMTrace
  • removed two download links that are incorrectly gathered at the beginning

I hope you will like these improvements. Leave any feedback on the TechNet Gallery page. This is why community rocks. Expect more from Damian on this topic.

SCVMM and Windows Azure Pack Surveys

I would like to bring you two survey that you should fill in:

PSWB – Script to run a search for required updates data in System Center Advisor

I’ve just released a PowerShell script similar to the ones released by Advisor team. The search in Advisor is focused on Required Updates for servers. You will need System Update Assessment Intelligence Pack enabled in Advisor. You can find the script here.

System Center Advisor Limited Preview is Still Open for Registration

I’ve just received a message from Daniele Muscetta – one of the PMs for System Center Advisor that there are still slots available for the preview. So if you want to try it yourself head here for instructions.

Tips From the Field: Applying Update Rollup 3 to System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack

SCSMWhile I was on vacation UR3 for System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack was released. In this release the following components were up for update:

As always there are some important fixes and feature in this updated so I recommend to apply it. Of course first in your Test/Dev environment.

Here are some tips that you might find useful during deployment:

  • VMM update contains a SQL script that you will need to execute against the VMM DB. That script you can find in the KB for the update;
  • VMM Management Packs are also updated so you will need to import the new versions in SCOM. If one of the MPs fail during import try importing them again.
  • VMM contains a DHCP extension plugin that is installed on Hyper-V hosts. There is updated for that extensions that you will need to apply manually. More here.
  • When you update VMM management packs you might receive Report deployment error for ‘Microsoft.Virtualization.Reports.ForecastMachineGroupNetworkIO’. I would guess that this is some kind of a bug that will be fixed. Not a fatal one.
  • When you apply VMM server update you may need to stop SCOM health service and Virtual Machine Manager agent service.
  • SCSM update contains some special instructions of executing PowerShell script after update. You will find the information in the KB.
  • When you apply SCSMA update for Runbook worker you will need to stop the Runbook Service.
  • Updating SCOM will require executing scripts against OperationsManagerDB and OperationsManagerDW. Those scripts will be available in your SCOM installation folder after applying the update. It is better to stop your SCOM services on your Management servers while applying them.
  • To update SCOM agents to UR3 you will need to reject them trough Pending Management and do repair trough Agent Managed.
  • After update of SCOM Gateway server you will need to copy the new version of SCOM agent manually.
  • After updating DPM agents on Hyper-V hosts you will need to restart the Hyper-V hosts in order backup to work.
  • When DPM agents are updated on Hyper-V hosts and hosts are restarted you will need to do consistency check on backups of VMs.
  • Remember to update consoles for SCSM, SCOM and VMM on places you have them installed.

Hope this was helpful for you.