Friday, September 25, 2009

How is the SQL Management Pack?

I truly enjoy being part of the Operations Manager community and one of the reasons being that the Product Team actually cares. I just got word that they are extending surveys that was traditionally reserved for their TAP customers out to the public through the connect site.

The new connect site for Operations Manager is

And one of the first things that can be done there is feedback on experience with the SQL MP. So if you've experienced any pains or have any suggestions on how to improve it..? Well this is your chance to shout it out...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Announcement: System Center Configuation Manager R3

This is surprising... but i can't say that it wasn't expected. The product team announced today the coming of System Center Configuration Manager R3. It will come with the additions of a Power Management feature, scalibility and performance improvements etc. Target release is Q1 2010.

I've applied to be part of the TAP program to get a first hand look at the BETA and hope to report on the findings.

For more info, check out the team blog entry

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tech Insights 2009, Penang 17 - 18 September

Probably the only event of its kind to be held in Malaysia, Tech Insights is a 2-day event containing deep dive sessions conducted by MVPs and Field Experts. No marketing talk, no BS.. pure unadulterated technical knowledge.

Split to 2 tracks, Dev and ITPro and supported by the User Groups of Malaysia (SPUG, SCUG, Elite, MyVSTS, MIND), this event held in Penang is a must attend if you want to get deeper knowledge into chosen Microsoft technologies as well as interact and tap on the experience of field experts.

There is a limit in terms of the numbers of registrations allowed. So if you're keen and in Penang or willing to make the trip there... sign up at

Monday, August 17, 2009

WIN @ System Center Central!

If you haven't already done so.. or perhaps haven't even heard of it... There is a contest running at System Center Central ( For anyone of you who have not registered on the site.. well you will want to hear about this.

System Center Central is a huge database of resources about everything System Center and its members range from field experts, MVPs and Microsoft product team members themselves. If you are unsure of something related to System Center, just post your queries in the forums and you can expect an answer from one of these 'gurus'.

If that is not good motivation enough.. then go on over to now and register yourself as a user cause there's going to be a drawing every 2 weeks to win a prize!!

It starts today!! and they will be drawing for winners on the following dates (August 31, September 14 and 28, October 12 and 26, November 9 and 13) based on new registrations from the previous two weeks!!

Check out Rory's blog entry on it...

What you waiting for? stop reading this blog entry and click on the link :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Operations Manager R2 Connectors Released

Just got news that the Connectors for System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 has been released today.

Connectors are needed for situations where u need to forward alerts to another Management system or Service Desk system. The connectors available for download are to connect to:

  1. IBM Tivoli Enterprise console
  2. HP Openview
  3. BMC Remedy ARS

There is also a Universal Connector available. All of which can be downloaded here

Now I need to test this... how do i get my hands on some of these management systems??.. hmmm..

Saturday, June 20, 2009

MP Update: Hyper-V MP Update with WinSvr 2008 R2 monitoring

The Windows Server 2008 /R2 Hyper-V Management Pack was released today. This management pack provides health and performance monitoring capabilities at the host and virtual machine levels for Hyper-V systems on Win6 and Win7 workloads (pending release of WS 2008 R2 and Server OS MP for WS 2008 R2).

Features include monitoring of critical host services and disk performance thresholds, monitoring of virtual machines and virtual hardware health from host perspectives, and visualization and complete application roll-up from host level to virtual machine component level to guest operating system level in a virtualized environment.

Download it here

This Management Pack is supported on both the OpsMgr 2007 SP1 and R2 platforms.

Monday, June 15, 2009

MP Update: Exchange 2007 Native MP for OpsMgr R2

Its been a long time coming.. but its finally here. Straight out of the oven.. the smoking hot Exchange 2007 native MP!! This MP has has gone through a great development process because it wasn't just the Product team that was doing the work and making decisions... but they got the OpsMgr MVPs, CSS experts like Kevin Holman and Adrian Doyle, the Exchange Center of Excellence, MCS Operations IT team and 512 Beta customers all involved!!

I for one was truly honored to be able to be part of the development of this MP, that even when down to scrutinizing areas like Wizard flows.

So here are some of the highlights of this MP:

  • Discovery is turned off by default so that users can control the deployment of the MP
  • Very extensive 95 page MP Guide
  • Rollups reflect state of synthetic transactions. This means that the Availability metrics will reflect on user experience rather than server state
  • The Availability metrics described above can be published to the OpsMgr R2 SLA Dashboard
  • New Mailflow and Client Access Server synthetic transaction template and interactive wizards
  • Support for monitoring multiple Exchange organizations from a single Management Group
  • Cross-forest mail flow transaction great for monitoring an Exchange migration scenario which also works with the Cross Platform monitor for SMTP gateways
  • Operators can see the links between Exchange Servers with visualized synthetic transactions using perspectives
  • 15 Capacity planning reports like database size and message volumes, 30+ reports in total
  • Matching 15 Service Level Objectives to view the state of Mail Operations such as whether mails are delivered based on the agreed SLA
  • A nicely tuned set of Rules and Monitors making it a less noisy MP
  • Threshold monitors go through consecutive samples to reduce noise
  • Synthetic transactions are aware of maintenance mode
  • Event log collection turned off by default
  • Heavy workflows like report data collection scripts and synthetic transactions are spread out using Sync Time to reduce load on the agent
  • The Exchange Best Practice Analyzer is run by the MP checking over 800 configuration aspects of an Exchange server compared to best practices.
  • Clustering and log shipping scenarios are fully supported

A big shout out to my man Ake Pettersson and his team for this MP.

BIG NOTE: This MP only works for Ops Mgr R2. Also a watch out mentioned by Ake that if you are importing this MP through the new R2 console, the unsealed SLM reporting MP will not be downloaded. So go to the catalog for this.

Download it from the catalog here

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Operations Manager R2 is RTMed

Its finally here!.. the official announcement that Operations Manager R2 is RTM was done late yesterday.

Some of the key enhancements are:

  1. Monitoring of Unix and Linux natively
  2. Service Level Tracking through detailed reports
  3. New Process Monitoring Template, OLEDB Template, Windows servive template
  4. Import MPs direct from the console
  5. Overrides Summary view
  6. View Health explorer via the Web Console
  7. One-click maintenance mode that turns all neccessary objects appropriately
  8. Console performance is fantastic!!

Read the full post of available datasheets, whitepapers, videos on Sacha's post

TechNet Operations Manager Forums new home

Its moved!

The Forum site for Operations Manager on Technet has moved to

As usual, MSFT folks and the MVPs are frequent flyers on the posts. My man Anders Bengston is probably going to light this one up too :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

OpsMgr R2 Upcoming Solutions: Novell Suse Management Pack

At MMS this year, i had a chat with Alex at the Novell booth and he also showed me a demo on what's coming in the Novell System Center Management Pack for Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES).

The Management Pack contains ready monitors for BIND/DNS, DHCP, Samba, OpenLDAP, SUSE Firewall and CUPS.

Plucking the following info from the Novell Beta MP program, here is what Novell says that the MP will include:

  • Discovery of SLES servers based on MS Cross platform discovery wizard
  • Automatic deployment of plug-ins for the management agent
  • For all services to report the state of the service running vs not-running
  • For all services to stop/start/restart the service
  • View alerts for most services
  • Keep track of allocated IP addresses by DHCP service
  • Statistical information for BIND/DNS service
  • Able to monitor Samba shares, connections, sessions
  • Provides connection information for OpenLDAP

I hope to find time to test this soon and report on it

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Founded by my buddies and fellow OpsMgr MVPs Pete Zerger, Rory McCaw and Maarten Goet, System Center Central is all about.. well.. you guessed it.. Microsoft System Center. Supported by Microsoft themselves and several other sponsors such as Quest Software, the objective of this portal is to bring everyone together globally to one single location to learn, understand and share all knowledge aobut System Center.

On top of this, there have been several User Groups that have now re-located to System Center Central including our System Center User Group of Malaysia (SCUG.MY).

If you are passionate about System Center or even getting started with it, I urge you to login to today and be part of the new wave.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

MMS2009 Reporting: Managing drivers with MS Technologies

I attended the session by Michael Nieuhaus on how to manage drivers with WDS, MDT2010 and Config Manager 2007. Unfortunately i missed the first part on WDS but here's what i heard about MDT2010 and ConfigMgr 2007...

With Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010, it supports the following:

  • Inject drivers 'just in time' for WinXP and above except for mass storage
  • Now you can specify auto apply or apply all drivers to a specific group
  • Drag and drop is available
  • Integration with WSUS is available
  • Potentially can be used with inventory tools like MAP and ACT (App Compat) to assist in assessment

The Demo that was showed was importing the drivers with MDT2010. Here's what i noticed about the demo:

  • When he imported the driver it detected that the driver exists, it won't copy it again but rather populate the group with the same drivers.
  • MDT didn't detect automatically the platform of the driver for the machine so you'll have to de-select if the appropriate drivers
  • MDT can read CAB files directly. It will automatically extract it and read the INFs

Michael then proceeded to talk about driver management with Config Mgr 2007.When import a driver into SCCM, it doesn't import into the DB. It creates a DB entry to point to the driver stored in the specified location.

'Driver packages' in Config Mgr are then created for distribution to Distribution Points or "Forced" driver installation

Here are some of the supported features for drivers in Config Mgr:

  • Just in time driver injections are supported
  • Auto Apply drivers
  • Drivers matched by PnP ID and can be filtered by categories
  • Apply diver package
  • All drivers are injected
  • Categories can't be used
  • Only choice for XP/2003 mass storage drivers
  • Can be used with Task Sequence

Some Complications can arise with Config Mgr though..

  • It will not import duplicates. To do this, you would either need to modify the folder contents everytime you need to import, or create a customized import process using the SDK
  • Chipset drivers requires extra handling because the INFs include some redirection to other in-box INFs which makes them really challenging to inject. For this, you may want to consider including them into the image

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

System Center Central

Announcing today the launch of System Center Central, the site which focuses on providing all the knowledge and community breadth on everything Microsoft System Center. This site will serve as a central location for alot of system center related sites out there today. The System Center User Group of Malaysia is proud to be now associated with System Center Central.

Check it out at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Scenarios I faced between Hyper-V R2 Beta and Hyper-V v1

While testing out Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta with Hyper-V in our environment, we noticed a few scenarios that had some incompatibilities.

  1. We had 3 VMs in a Saved State on a server with Hyper-V v1 and proceeded to upgrade the OS. After the upgrade was sucessfully complete, the VMs could not be recovered from its Saved State. The Saved State had to be deleted. Once that was done, the VMs started out fine
  2. We Exported a VM from a Hyper-V v1 server. The VM contained snapshots and proceeded to Import it into the Hyper-V R2 Beta server. The VM would not import and contain errors. We proceeded to remove the snapshot and imported it again
  3. We Exported a VM from a Hyper-V v1 server. The VM did not contain any snapshots and was in an Off state. When we imported it to the Hyper-V R2 Beta server, the VM could start but when Connecting to the VM, the screen was simply black. We proceeded to create a new VM with the exisiting Hard Disk and it worked fine
  4. After Importing a VM into Hyper-V R2 server from a Hyper-V v1 server, the Network connection was Disabled. Enabling it would not work. We proceeded to Re-install the Integration Services and the Network connection was working again. I suspect it was because of a different version of Integration Services.

I will be adding to this list as I go along. I hope these issues will be fixed at RTM.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

MP Update: SQL Server MP 6.0.6549.0 is released

There is a new update to the SQL Server MP.

The following is what is updated:

  • Fixed performance issues caused by excessive CPU utilization and script timeouts from Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) queries in the following management pack discoveries: Discover SQL Server 2005 Database Engines (Windows Server), Discover SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (Windows Server), Discover SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services (Windows Server), Discover SQL Server 2008 Database Engines (Windows Server), Discover SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services (Windows Server), Discover SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services (Windows Server).
  • Fixed an issue where SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services and Reporting Services discoveries were not reliably discovering these objects on instances of SQL Server that did not have the Database Engine installed.
  • Removed the hard-coded exception in rules and monitors that prevented the monitoring of the System, Temp, and Master databases.
  • Improved the means by which database discoveries recognize auto growth enabled settings. Database discoveries now recognize both “KB” and “%” growth settings; previously the database discoveries recognized only the “KB” growth setting.
  • Corrected typographical errors in product knowledge and improved the quality of the text

The above was described by the MP creator, Cory Delamarter and can be found on this blog post

To download the updated MP, go to the MP Catalog:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

update to Cluster Management Pack

An update was just released for the Cluster MP which is crucial since it included the support for Windows Server 2008 clusters. So for this, ensure that your Cluster MP version is at 6.0.6505.0

This is a required MP if you want to monitor cluster based environment like Exchange or SQL.

The features of the MP include:

  • Monitoring of the Cluster service and reporting on any configuration or hardware issues
  • Reporting on issues that affect the cluster communications such as connectivity problems, active directory services permissions
  • Connectivity problems that affect communication between cluster nodes or between a node and a domain controller, dns communication
  • Issues with the availability of a cluster resource, such as a clustered file share and cluster storage

Download link to the MP: