Chapter 3: Looking Inside OpsMgr

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  • Management Server Component—This component refers to additional management servers installed after the RMS is installed. The primary reasons to deploy additional OpsMgr 2007 management servers are to enable agent failover and to manage a larger number of objects. There are specific procedures to promote a management server to the RMS Role in a disaster-recovery scenario, which we discuss in Chapter 12, "Backup and Recovery." You would also install an additional management server to host the Audit Collector Component, described later in this list, because that component requires installation on an existing OpsMgr management server that is not the RMS.

  • Audit Database Server Component—SQL Server 2005 is required for the Audit Database Server Component when adding the Audit Collection Services feature to the management group. Security events from managed computers are stored in this database and are used in generating reports. The Audit Database Server can be a clustered service for high availability. Reports on security events are generated from the Audit database.

  • Audit Collector Component—This server function collects events from the audit collection–enabled agents. The Audit Collector Component is added to an existing OpsMgr management server. Audit collection is enabled on OpsMgr agents by running a task in the OpsMgr console. Each collector needs its own individual Audit Database Server. The Audit database can be located on the same computer as the ACS Collector, but for optimal performance, each of these components should be installed on a dedicated server.

  • Web Console Server Component—Any OpsMgr management server running the Internet Information Services (IIS) web server service can optionally host a web-based version of the OpsMgr console. Functionally similar to using a thin client much like Outlook Web Access (OWA), operators can view topology diagrams and performance charts and run tasks made available to them appropriate for their role. The Web Console Server might be a management server dedicated to hosting this role in an organization that makes heavy use of the Web console.

  • Gateway Server Component—A communications conduit to monitoring agents in untrusted domains (or on remote networks without routed network connectivity), this server resides in an external environment and uses certificates to secure communication back to the other roles in the management group. A gateway server can also host the Audit Collector Component.

  • Client Monitoring Server Component—The Client Monitoring Configuration Wizard is used to configure the Client Monitoring Server Component on one or more management servers in a management group. The Agentless Exception Monitoring (AEM) Client Component is activated by a Group Policy Object (GPO) applied to client computers. An important note is that the management server and AEM clients must be in the same domain or fully trusted domains.

Figure 3.4 illustrates a management group with all components on distributed servers, and with many high-availability features deployed. This large-enterprise management group could provide end-to-end service monitoring of many thousands of objects with a high degree of reliability.

Figure 3.4

All basic and optional OpsMgr server roles deployed on dedicated servers.


Sharing Resources Between Management Groups - We have discussed how the OpsMgr agent on a managed computer can be a member of more than one management group. There are other ways to leverage hardware across multiple management groups, particularly at the database server layer. Because the Operations database can be assigned any user-selectable name during installation, and because the Data Warehouse database natively supports multiple management groups, a single SQL 2005 server can provide database backend services to multiple management groups, which need not be aware of each other.

This feature lets organizations with more than one management group consolidate OpsMgr database duties to a single SQL Server, or more likely a highly available clustered SQL Server configuration. This significantly reduces the incremental cost of adding another management group in an organization.


Windows Services

Computers running OpsMgr components also host particular Windows services in specific configurations depending on their function(s). The presence of the OpsMgr Health service is universal to all Windows computers participating in an Operations Manager 2007 management group. The next sections describe the Health service as well as the other four services that exist in a management group with Audit Collection Services deployed.

OpsMgr Health Service

The Health service provides a general execution environment for monitoring modules. Such modules form different workflows, enabling end-to-end monitoring scenarios.

Health Service Implementations

There are actually two flavors of the Health service:

  • The first implementation, the Agent Health service, runs on monitored Windows computers. The service executes tasks, collects performance data, and performs other functions on the managed computer. The Agent Health service continues to run, collecting data and performing tasks, even when disconnected from a management server. Data and events accumulate in a disk-based queue, and they are reported when the connection to the management server is restored.

  • The other implementation of the Health service runs on a management server. The functionality of the Health service running on a management server varies depending on the setup of the management group and the management packs installed.

Installing new or additional management packs extends the Health service running on both types of computers (agent-managed computers and management servers). Another important feature of the Health service is that it provides credential management services to other OpsMgr processes, supporting execution of modules running as different users.

Security

A public/private key pair, used for secure communications, is created on each instance of the Health service (RMS, Management Server, Gateway Server, and agent). This key pair can be regenerated at any time. The public key is published at the following times:

  • During startup

  • When the key expires

  • During a failure to decrypt a message

  • Upon request by the SDK (discussed in the next section) to republish the key

If the key is not successfully published, the SDK may post errors. The agent key may also drop "key mismatch" events. Because OpsMgr is self-healing, the agent republishes the key or the SDK re-requests the key if there is a problem. When the key is close to expiring, the Health service restarts itself, regenerating the key. If you think the key has been compromised, remove it and restart the Health service to generate a new key.

OpsMgr SDK Service

The OpsMgr SDK service is found in the services list of all management servers. However, the service is disabled unless the server is also the RMS. This service and the OpsMgr Config service, described next, are both found only on management servers. All data flowing to and from the Operations database is transported via the OpsMgr SDK service running on the RMS.

The SDK service is responsible for providing access for the OpsMgr console to the Operations database, viewing the current state of a monitored object, importing management packs to the database, storing management packs in the database, and storing management group configuration information in the database. The SDK service also handles the following functions:

  • Writing event data to the database

  • Writing state-change data to the database

  • Writing performance counter data to the database

In addition, the SDK service owns a symmetric encryption key for the management group that accesses the Run As Account information, which is stored in the Operations database. We introduced Run As Accounts in Chapter 2, "What's New."

The encryption key information is stored in the Registry. If you lose this key, you will have to clear out and reset the Run-as accounts. The management group key is also required if you are promoting a management server to become your new RMS and want to keep your Run As Accounts. You can back up and restore this key using a Microsoft-provided key backup tool. This process is further discussed in Chapter 10.

OpsMgr Config Service

Similar to the OpsMgr SDK service described earlier, the OpsMgr Config service will also be found installed on all management servers, but disabled unless the server is also the RMS. The OpsMgr Config service manages the relationships and the topology of the OpsMgr 2007 environment.

The OpsMgr Config service is responsible for providing the monitoring configuration to each agent's Health service, which may include sensitive information. The service acts as an intermediary for delivering sensitive information in an encrypted format from the Operations database to the target Health service on a monitored agent.

OpsMgr Audit Forwarding Service

This service sends events to an ACS collector server for storage in a SQL Server database. The Audit Forwarding service is found on each Windows computer in an OpsMgr management group. By default, the service needed for an agent to be an ACS forwarder is installed but not enabled when the OpsMgr agent is installed. After you install the ACS collector and database, you can then remotely enable this service on multiple agents through the Operations console by running the Enable Audit Collection task.

OpsMgr Audit Collection Service

The Audit Collection service is responsible for receiving audit events over the network and writing them to the Audit database. This service is found running on management servers that also have the ACS Audit Collector Service Component Installed. The service and the Audit database are created during setup of the ACS service on the selected management server(s).

Communications

Operations Manager 2007 uses a variety of communications methods that are optimized for security and efficiency. Communication with the three OpsMgr database backend components—the Operations database (DB), the Data Warehouse DB, and the Audit Collection Services DB—is always via standard SQL client/server protocols, specifically OLE DB (Object Linking and Embedding Database).

Between agents, as well as management and gateway servers, the primary Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) port used by OpsMgr is 5723, which is the only outbound firewall hole needed to manage a computer in a minimal configuration (after the agent is installed or preinstalled). Additional outbound ports are used when enabling ACS and AEM. A complete list of communications protocols and default ports used in an OpsMgr management group is provided in Table 3.1.

TABLE 3.1 Communication Paths and Ports

From Component

To Component

Bidirectional

TCP Port

Root Management Server (RMS) or Management Server (MS)

Operational Database (Ops DB) and Data Warehouse Database (DW DB)

No

OLE DB 1433 (SQL); in a cluster the second node requires a unique port number.

RMS

MS or Gateway Server

Yes

5723.

Operations console

RMS

No

5723.

Agent

RMS, MS, or Gateway

No

5723.

Reporting Server, Web Console Server

RMS

No

5724.

Connector Framework Source

RMS

No

51905.

Agentless Exception Monitoring (AEM) Client

AEM file share on RMS or MS

No

SMB 445, 51906.

Software Quality Metrics (SQM) Client

SQM Endpoint

No

51907.

Web console

Web Console Server

No

HTTP 51908.

Audit Collection Services (ACS) Agent

ACS Collector

Yes

59109.

ACS Collector

ACS DB

No

OLE DB 1433 (SQL).

Reporting Server

DW DB

No

OLE DB 1433 (SQL); in a cluster the second node requires a unique port number.

Operations console

Reporting Server

No

HTTP 80.

The logic in Table 3.1 is diagrammed in Figure 3.5. A quick study of the communication paths verifies the criticality of the RMS in an OpsMgr 2007 management group. The RMS is clearly the communications nexus for the monitoring organization, with most features of OpsMgr unavailable if the RMS is down or inaccessible. Of course, the RMS depends completely on its connection to the Operations database to function.

Figure 3.5

Communication channels between computers in a management group.

In effect, both the RMS and the Operations database need to be continuously available to provide uninterrupted continuity of management functions. That makes clustering the Ops DB and the RMS top considerations when seeking to architect a highly available management solution for the enterprise. For computers managed via the Gateway Server Component, additional gateway servers can be deployed to the same remote domain or site, providing failover coverage to one another.

The diagram in Figure 3.5 does not illustrate the need for RPC/DCOM communication between a management server and a managed computer in order to push the agent to a managed computer. Details on this, as well as how to configure the Windows Firewall on a managed computer to perform "push" installation of the agent from a management server, are covered in Chapter 9, "Installing and Configuring Agents."

How Does OpsMgr Do It?

So far in this chapter, we have covered what a management group is, and how the components, or computer roles, of a management group communicate with one another—the macro view. Now we shift our focus to the micro view of the management pack—the computer and device management work the whole OpsMgr infrastructure was deployed for. The management group is the framework within which management packs do that work.

Operations Manager 2007 is a product established on the concept of model-based management. The abstraction of services into models is needed to describe and act on physical entities such as routers, and logical entities such as distributed applications, using software tools that by definition exist in cyberspace. Using models is a way to transform human knowledge and experience into something machines can operate with. In OpsMgr, service models live inside management packs. The management pack author or vendor encapsulates service health knowledge into the redistributable management pack.

Having a solid, accurate model of an object's health lets OpsMgr 2007 present information to the operator in the most immediately useful way. As you will see, the models underpin both the OpsMgr 2007 application, with a workflow framework, and the OpsMgr 2007 operator, with augmented and accelerated decision making.

Operations Manager 2007 introduces an architecture that sets the foundation for a new, broader spectrum of monitoring capabilities and extensibility than has ever been available before using Microsoft management technologies. OpsMgr 2007 fundamental concepts include service and health modeling (we will explain and differentiate between those terms). We'll briefly cover the schema of a management pack so that you understand how a service model is distilled into actionable components such as monitors and tasks. In addition, we will illustrate how monitors are the intersection between the models, and how health information progresses inside the OpsMgr workflow engine to its presentation in the OpsMgr console.

Service Modeling

One can capture knowledge through models! Service modeling in Operations Manager 2007 is rooted in the well-known Service Modeling Language (SML) used by Microsoft developers in the .NET development environment. SML is an extensible language, built for describing the cooperating systems found not just inside the computer, but also inside an entire datacenter. SML provides a way to think about computer systems, operating systems, application-hosting systems, and application systems—as well as how they interact and are combined, connected, deployed, and managed. SML is used to create models of complex IT services and systems.

A software engineer authoring in Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Architects uses SML to define how an application interacts with various layers of the datacenter, such as the hardware layer, where the servers and routers live, and the operating system layer, which is "hosted" by the hardware layer. The SML concept of one layer hosting another is used in OpsMgr service modeling when relationships are defined between objects managed by OpsMgr, such as a hard drive that hosts a website.

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