Chapter 1: Introduction and What’s New

Excerpt from System Center Operations Manager (OpsMgr) 2007 R2 Unleashed: Supplement to System Center Operations Manager 2007 Unleashed.

Excerpt from System Center Operations Manager (OpsMgr) 2007 R2 Unleashed: Supplement to System Center Operations Manager 2007 Unleashed.

By Kerrie Meyler, Cameron Fuller, John Joyner, & Andy Dominey

Published by Sams

ISBN-10: 0-672-33117-9

ISBN-13: 978-0-672-33117-6

E-mail this to a friend

Newsletters: Sign-Up & Save! Receive Special Offers, Free Chapters, Articles Reference Guide Updates, and plug into the pulse of what's happening in your corner of the industry by subscribing to InformIT newsletters! FREE coupon after sign-up!

Try Safari Books Online NOW! Access the largest fully searchable e-reference library for programmers and IT professionals!

In March 2007, Microsoft released System Center Operations Manager (OpsMgr) 2007, developed under the codename Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) V3. OpsMgr 2007 is completely re-architected and is a total rewrite from its MOM 2005 predecessor. In fact, it is so much of a rewrite that many longtime MOM 2005 administrators and fans feared the worst for the new version in terms of stability and performance—and there were definitely some early issues with the released to manufacturing (RTM) build. However, OpsMgr 2007 has come of age, as evidenced by Gartner Group’s July 2009 Magic Quadrant for IT Event Correlation and Analysis report, which, similar to their December 2007 report, places Operations Manager 2007 R2 firmly in the Challengers quadrant (see Figure 1.1).

The gist of the Gartner report is that OpsMgr 2007 contains some major enhancements in comparison to the functionality in MOM 2005, with a focus in monitoring Windows environments. Gartner notes that the R2 release adds non-Windows management, but suggests it still has a way to go when managing non-Microsoft IT elements. This appears to be at least in part because Microsoft relies on third parties to provide management packs to monitor non-Microsoft applications. Microsoft provides the technology to manage Unix/Linux operating systems, but in terms of application monitoring chooses to focus on its own applications such as Exchange, SQL Server, Active Directory, and Internet Information Services. (See Chapter 2, “Unix/Linux Management: Cross Platform Extensions,” for a discussion on Unix/Linux integration.)

System Center Operations Manager 2007 Unleashed, the predecessor to this book, was published in February 2008, just as Microsoft released OpsMgr 2007 Service Pack (SP) 1. Although that book tried to the best of its ability to cover all the improvements in the service pack by discussing enhancements as of the SP 1 Release Candidate (RC), Microsoft added several changes to the released version that were not in the RC. Therefore, this book takes up where the previous leaves off—with a summary of the SP 1 changes, an in-depth look at the R2 release, and a “deep dive” into some of the key capabilities of OpsMgr 2007 through Cumulative Update 1 (CU1) for R2.

 Figure 1.1

Gartner’s Magic Quadrants for IT Event Correlation and Analysis, December 2007

This chapter highlights the changes to Operations Manager 2007, beginning with the release of SP 1.

Licensing Updates

There are two areas to be cognizant of regarding licensing and OpsMgr 2007 R2—licensing for the System Center Server Management Suite and licensing of cross platform applications. The next sections discuss this information.

Licensing Changes to the System Center Server Management Suite

In conjunction with the R2 release, Microsoft is changing licensing for the System Center Server Management Suite. Here are the products included in this suite:

  • System Center Operations Manager 2007
  • System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2
  • System Center Data Protection Manager 2007
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 Management Server License

The July 2009 changes to Server Management Suite licensing include the following:

  • The System Center Server Management Suite Enterprise (SMSE) offering changes from an unlimited operating system environment to a four-system operating system environment, limited license, with a corresponding 20 percent price decrease.
  • A new suite offering System Center Server Management Suite Datacenter (SMSD) includes the same products as SMSE, but is licensed per processor and provides for managing an unlimited number of operating system environments.

OpsMgr 2007 will continue to use Standard and Enterprise Server management licenses (MLs). Here is when you do not need a ML:

  • Any Operating System Environments (OSEs) running instances of the server software on your licensed servers
  • Any OSEs in which no instances of software are running
  • System Center Data Protection Manager 2007
  • Any devices functioning only as network infrastructure devices (OSI Layer 3 or below)
  • Any devices for which you are exclusively performing out-of-band management

Microsoft provides the following links with more detailed information. You will want to check them for updates:

Licensing of Cross Platform Applications

The other area of consideration is whether cross platform monitoring requires a Standard or Enterprise ML. According to Microsoft, if an application is monitored, the license required is Enterprise ML regardless if it is a Microsoft or non-Microsoft application. As an example, if you are just monitoring a Linux server, you need a Standard ML. If that Linux Server is running a Bridgeways MP for MySQL, you must purchase an Enterprise ML to monitor the application. This also means that should you create a monitor that monitors an application process or service (on any operating system), you would need to purchase an Enterprise ML to license it correctly.

New in Service Pack 1

Service Pack 1 is available from Microsoft both as a standalone executable file for upgrading an existing OpsMgr 2007 installation, and a slipstreamed installation enabling you to install both OpsMgr 2007 and the service pack at the same time. Both versions are available for x86 and x64 (32- and 64-bit) computer systems. The link at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/opsmgr/cc280350.aspx lets you download the slipstreamed evaluation copy of SP 1 and the SP 1 upgrade bits for existing installations.

Those bugs fixed with the SP 1 release are listed in Knowledge Base (KB) article 944443, at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/944443. In addition, Microsoft now has an update rollup for SP 1, available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=05d7785d-fe69-48bc-8dfa-72a77c8936bf&displaylang=en. This combines previous hotfix releases for SP 1 with additional fixes and support of SP 1 roles on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The update also provides database role and SQL Server Reporting Services upgrade support from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2008.

SP 1 Highlights

OpsMgr 2007 SP 1 updates and enhancements include the following:

  • Improved performance and stability for alerts, overrides, and searches:
    • Improved fetching capabilities have increased the performance of alert views.
    • Alert row selection is up to three times faster than in the base release.
    • Search improvements enable the ability to perform advanced searches across monitors and rules by their overrides.
  • Support for Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) v1 network devices. The base release supported SNMP v2 only. The discovery wizard allows you to select which SNMP version to use.
  • Capability to export Operations Manager 2007 diagrams to Microsoft Visio XML Diagram (VDX) file format.
  • A Visio button is located on the toolbar in the diagram view. Diagram layouts can be saved and are remembered when that view is selected again.
  • Support for copy and paste (CTRL C and CTRL V functions) from the Alert details pane.
  • Support for earlier versions of email servers, correcting an issue that could result in malformed data in the subject line of email notifications.
  • Ability to copy views from an existing management pack to an unsealed management pack.
  • Overrides Summary Box enables you to view overrides for an object.
  • Ability to use scripts with diagnostic tasks.
  • Incorporates the OpsMgr VSS Writer Service, enabling you to create shadow copies.
  • Ability to publish reports to multiple locations—for example, Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services websites.
  • Ability to view performance data through the Operations Manager Web console, with filters for desired performance counters to ease searching and navigation.
  • Increase in the number of command notifications that can be handled simultaneously from 5 in OpsMgr 2007 SP 1 to 200 in the R2 release. This is configurable in the Registry by creating a key at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft Operations Manager\3.0\Modules\Global\Command Executer\AsyncProcessLimit REG_DWORD:0x0000000a. Note that every command notification triggered will start a monitoringhost.exe process on the root management server (RMS); this can lead to memory and processor issues if you do not have enough memory and processor power to support it.
  • New discoveries and views added to the Audit Collection Services (ACS), along with new monitors and alerts to track the health of ACS collectors.
  • Support for clustering the ACS database.

Gateway Enhancements

With the base release of OpsMgr 2007, gateway servers only supported a maximum of 200 agents, making them unsuitable for any purpose other than monitoring DMZs and small untrusted networks. Beginning with SP 1, gateways have been tested to 800 agents and, depending on the hardware configuration and WAN link specifics, could theoretically support many more. Although management servers are able to support up to 2,000 servers since SP 1, gateways are a welcome alternative in complex, distributed environments, as they forward compressed data from multiple agents to a management server using a sustained connection; the management server then manages the connection to the database. More information on how gateway servers can help in a distributed environment is available in Chapter 9, “Unleashing Operations Manager 2007.”

Clustered RMS Enhancements

With SP 1, Microsoft tried to make the RMS recovery story a bit better. New with the OpsMgr 2007 architecture, the RMS is a single point of failure; one approach to alleviate that is to cluster the RMS. However, if your clustered RMS failed in the RTM release and you then promoted a management server to become the RMS, you were unable to later repromote the failed cluster to the RMS role. This was remedied in SP 1. See Chapter 9 for a discussion on RMS high availability.

RMS Encryption Key Backup

One of the more vocal criticisms of the OpsMgr 2007 RTM was its single point of failure with the RMS. If the RMS fails and there is no backup of the encryption key, you must reinstall the entire management group! SP 1 adds the Secure Storage Backup Wizard at the end of the OpsMgr setup process, displayed in Figure 1.2, providing a backup the RMS encryption key.

You will use this key if you need to recover an Operations Manager management group; without a copy of the key, you cannot recover your Operations Manager environment. Prior to SP 1, there was no automated process to back up the encryption key.

OpsMgr 2007 SP 1 also introduces a CREATE_NEWKEY command switch to make recovery easier. Details on this application are available on the Manageability Team Blog at http://blogs.technet.com/smsandmom/archive/2007/12/05/opsmgr-2007-what-if-i-lose-my-rms-encryption-key.aspx.

The best practice is to back up your RMS key, so accept the default configuration at the completion screen to start the Encryption Key Backup or Restore Wizard. The wizard first displays an introduction screen, and then asks if you want to back up or restore the key, as shown in Figure 1.3.

The wizard continues by asking where to back up the RMS key, asks for a password, and then completes the process. It is highly recommended to store a copy of the backup key on your other management servers so it is local in the event of an emergency. Also, ensure that the password for the key is stored with the key; otherwise, you will not be able to restore the key.

Figure 1.2

Option to back up RMS key after OpsMgr installation

 Figure 1.3

Encryption Key Backup or Restore Wizard

R2 Highlights and Capabilities

The Gartner Group report on OpsMgr 2007, referenced at the beginning of this chapter, notes the product’s greatest weakness to be its lack of monitoring non-Microsoft platforms. Historically, Operations Manager 2007's strength is in monitoring the Windows environment and lessens when managing non-Microsoft IT systems and devices, whether using Microsoft or third-party add-ons to provide management capabilities. Enter the R2 release—which incorporates cross-platform monitoring!

1 2 3 Page 1
Page 1 of 3
IT Salary Survey: The results are in