Category: Exchange

Quick Look – #MSOMS Office 365 (Preview) Solution

Yesterday MSOMS team released in preview Office 365 solution:

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Continue reading “Quick Look – #MSOMS Office 365 (Preview) Solution”

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New/Updated MP: Exchange 2013 MP Reborn

So far we’ve seen very bad implementations of Exchange Management Pack for SCOM. Even with Exchange 2013 I thought will be initial version and updates will be released regularly to improve it but that didn’t happen for a long time. Until now. Continue reading “New/Updated MP: Exchange 2013 MP Reborn”

What Does it Takes to be System Center Specialist These Days

Back in the days the System Center family consisted only of MOM and SMS and a lot has changed in the last years and more changes to come as we are reaching the GA date of the R2 wave. Also I am not saying it was easier back in the days to be System Center Specialist, in fact I think it was harder as the information about the products was more scarce. Anyway the idea of this blog post is to recite what knowledge and skills are needed for our activities as System Center Specialist. Keep in mind that these knowledge and skills cover all System Center components and even Windows Azure Pack but it is not mandatory to have them all and the level of knowledge can differ. So here we go:

  • Networking – Networking knowledge is helpful in all products but especially in components as SCVMM and SCOM. SCOM now has network monitoring, it is not the advanced network monitoring solution but some knowledge is needed to implement it and maintain it. SCVMM is now deep into networking and I won’t go into details. And here I am even not touching subtopics like SNMP, Network Virtualization, VLANs, PVLANs, IP address management and etc.
  • Storage – As with networking basic storage knowledge is needed for all components. You need to know on what storage you will run the components, how many IOPS are needed in order to run them and etc. Also in SCVMM 2012 R2 you now have more features that are related with storage like crating  SOFS with Storage spaces, managing virtual fiber channel support, managing of zones and etc. Subtopic knowledge can include ISCSI, Storage Spaces, SMB, Fiber Channel and etc.
  • Cross-Platform – Believe it or not but Microsoft is embracing Cross-Platform and this is visible in System Center. SCCM can now manage client devices with iOS or Android, on the server side SCOM is adopting the OMI standard which allows monitoring Unix/Linux servers and even more, SCVMM supports and can deploy Unix/Linux operating systems and I bet more will come. Orchestrator can also be used in managing Cross-Platform systems.
  • SQL – No System Center component works without an SQL Server. Any knowledge you can gain on SQL is very beneficial for you as specialist. In SCVMM you can even deploy SQL servers with templates.
  • Applications – It is all about the app. SCOM can monitor various applications by Microsoft or third party. Most distinctive examples are monitoring of .NET and J2EE applications. With Orchestrator often task is to develop runbooks that interact with other applications and even other management software which is of course also application.
  • Scripting – Scripting is the beginning of automating and orchestrating your datacenter. All System Center components have PowerShell cmdlets, Orchestrator can execute PowerShell scripts and the new component Service Management Automation is basically more mature engine to execute PowerShell scripts.
  • Development -  Some advanced functionalities can be achieved only when some development is involved. With SCOM, SCSM and Orchestrator development of custom solutions is often involved. As specialist you may not be the person who will develop the solution but you can be involved for some part. We can also look that every new System Center component now gets a web service and knowing standard like OData can be very helpful.
  • ITIL (MOF)  – You may not like the processes but they help us preventing of setting the Datacenter on fire Smile. All System Center components take part in ITIL but SCSM is tightly integrated with the framework and having knowledge of the framework can only help you with SCSM.
  • Security – Security is a job for all employees in a company. Security not only exists in System Center components but can also be applied by some of them. SCCM allows you to manage Endpoint Protection, you can also apply policies with Desired Configuration Management and of course apply patches which can also be done trough SCVMM for some servers.

Let me know what you think? Am I right or am I wrong? Did I’ve missed something? Write them all in the comment section.

System Center Service Manager Connector 3.0 for Exchange Re-released

The Exchange connector for SCSM is re-released offering some unknown bug fixes. If you have some bugs with your Exchange connector you might try to update and see if your issues are fixed if they are not you are not among the lucky ones.

Installing and Importing Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Management Pack 15.00.0620.030

After yesterday’s release of Exchange Server 2013 Management Pack I’ve managed to install it in a development environment. Here are the steps I’ve went trough:

1. Start installation and Accept License Agreement:

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2. Choose installation location:

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3. Import the installed MP into SCOM:

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4. After the successful import you will start see you exchange servers appear in the default views:

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5. After 5-10 minutes you will see all services appear as monitored:

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So these are the steps. Pretty easy and simple. There are no special requirements or configurations. The MP uses the default action account for the monitoring and discovery.

Here are some of the bad news about this MP:

  • I’ve received an error a couple of hours after the deployment. The error wasn’t very descriptive. It had only the error description and a link (to Technet Library) that you can visit to find more information. I couldn’t opened the link  as the page still does not exists. I guess Microsoft still hasn’t uploaded all information about the MP in TechNet.
  • The MP does not collect performance data for Exchange 2013.
  • The MP does not contain any reports.

Here is what I’ve used in the environment:

  • SCOM 2012 SP1 UR2;
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Management Pack 15.00.0620.030;
  • Windows Server 2012 with latest updates;
  • Exchange 2013 CU1 in multitenant mode;

New MP: Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Management Pack

Exchange 2012 Management Pack was just released by Microsoft. It seems that this is completely new management pack so goodbye to the correlation engine Smile. I’ve never liked that this management pack was some kind of different from all other Microsoft Management Packs. I hope I can test it really soon. You can test it by yourself by downloading it from here. You will not be able to download the guide for this MP as it is located in TechNet Library so here are the links:

Exchange Connector 3.0 for SCSM is Here and it is Here to Stay

Exchange Connector 3.0 RTM is finally released and it is supported by MSFT. In order to deploy it you have to:

  • Install UR2 for SCSM 2012 SP1;
  • Remove Exchange Connector 3.0 RC if you have it installed.

You can find the full announcement here.

You can download the connector with a great guide for it here.

Additionally you can extend the connector with Service Manager SendEmail for Incidents