The Cloud Backup Management Pack

by John Joyner

Microsoft has released a simple management pack for Windows Server Backup, available at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36390. However, if you are using the Windows Server Backup to Azure service, also known as Cloud Backup, you will discover an official management pack for this is not yet available.

OpsMgr is the single pane of glass for your enterprise backup and disaster recovery (DR) components. In addition to the Windows Server Backup management pack, there are relevant Microsoft management packs for System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM),  Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), Hyper-V, Exchange Server, SQL Server, and Azure. These management packs deliver the instrumentation necessary to monitor and manage all the Microsoft Cloud components delivering your DR services with OpsMgr.

The OpsMgr Unleashed team is pleased to publish an additional simple management pack to cover Cloud Backup. Now you can further extend OpsMgr to watch the health of your file servers protected by Windows Server Backup to Azure. Both sealed and unsealed versions of the management pack are contained in a single ZIP file. You can download the management pack ZIP file from this link: http://www.systemcentercentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/CloudBackupManagementPack.zip.

Details on the Management Pack

The management pack discovers servers with the Azure Backup Agent installed by the presence of the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Azure Backup

The main feature of the management pack is a health model for each protected server as shown in Figure 1.

CloudBackupHealthModel

FIGURE 1  Cloud Backup health model.

In addition to the six alert-generating monitors in the health model, there are seven alert-generating rules. These are shown shown in Figure 2.

CloudBackupRulesl

FIGURE 2  Cloud Backup rules.

Event IDs behind the Alerts

The source for the alerts is listed in Table 1, which lists Event IDs for the Cloud Backup application. The type of OpsMgr alert (Critical/Warning/Informational) matches the level shown in the table.

TABLE 1  Cloud Backup Event IDs

Level

Symbol

Event ID

Event Message

Informational

BACKUP_START_EVENT

1

The backup operation has started.

Informational

RECOVERY_START_EVENT

2

The recovery operation has started.

Informational

BACKUP_SUCCESS_STOP_EVENT

3

The backup operation has completed.

Informational

RECOVERY_SUCCESS_STOP_EVENT 4 The recovery operation has completed.
Warning ENCRYPTION_KEY_EXPIRED 5 Encryption key is expired. Generate new encryption key by providing new passphrase from Machine settings.
Informational MACHINE_REGISTERED_EVENT 6 The machine has been registered with Azure Backup service successfully.
Informational POLICY_CHANGED_EVENT 7 Online schedule backup policy has been changed.
Informational MACHINE_UNREGISTERED_EVENT 8 The machine has been unregistered with Azure Backup service successfully.
Informational POLICY_DELETED_EVENT 9 Online schedule backup policy is deleted.
Warning BACKUP_WARNING_STOP_EVENT 10 The backup operation has completed with warnings.
Error BACKUP_ERROR_STOP_EVENT 11 The backup operation has completed with errors.
Warning RECOVERY_WARNING_STOP_EVENT 12 The recovery operation has completed with warnings.
Error RECOVERY_ERROR_STOP_EVENT 13 The recovery operation has completed with errors.
Warning CBP_VERSION_UPGRADE_NTF_EVENT 14 A newer version of Windows Azure Backup Agent is required.
Informational CBP_VERSION_LATEST_NTF_EVENT 15 Installed version of Windows Azure Backup Agent is the latest.
Warning CBP_STORAGE_QUOTA_EXCEEDED_NTF_EVENT 16 Storage quota limit is approaching 80 percent.
Informational CBP_STORAGE_QUOTA_NORMAL_NTF_EVENT 17 Storage quota is within limits.
Error SCHEDULE_BACKUP_FAILED_EVENT 18 Scheduled backup failed in initialization phase.

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System Center 2012 Operations Manager Unleashed now available on Kindle

That’s right, paperback availability is right around the corner, and you can get System Center 2012 Operations Manager Unleashed now on Kindle! See http://www.amazon.com/System-Operations-Manager-Unleashed-ebook/dp/B00BJ65JX2/. You can also get it in other electronic formats – EPUB, MOBI, and PDF – through InformIT – at http://www.informit.com/store/system-center-2012-operations-manager-unleashed-9780672335914.

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System Center 2012 Operations Manager Unleashed is on its way!

A previous posting on this blog in November 2012 http://opsmgrunleashed.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/system-center-2012-operations-manager-unleashedpublication-update/) stated that the book would be available in late February. And that is still the case!

The book  – which looks like it will be 1380 pages without counting the indexes – is currently being printed.  You read that right – all the content is written, reviewed, proof-edited … all the many steps that occur before a book is published. The book went to the printer last week.

The printing and binding process takes about 3 1/2 weeks, putting System Center 2012 Operations Manager Unleashed on target for being available ready to ship from the publisher’s warehouse the last week of February.

If you preordered the book from Amazon, you probably received an email recently saying the estimated arrival date is between March 7 and March 11. Once the publisher has the printed books, they notify places such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc that have placed orders that the book is available. Amazon then gets copies and ships them out. How long that takes is up to the shipper (such as Amazon), not the publisher. But an order from Amazon.com should arrive earlier than March 11.

The authors of System Center 2012 Operations Manager Unleashed want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make this book a reality. That includes our contributing authors – Pete Zerger, Jonathan Almquist, Alex Fedotyev, Scott Moss, Oskar Landman, and Marnix Wolf – plus many others in the community.

We appreciate everyone’s patience -writing a 1380-page book is not an overnight task!

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System Center 2012 Operations Manager Unleashed–Publication Update

The title of this posting pretty much says it all – many of you have been asking “where is the book?” We just received information from our publisher that the book is planned to be available by the end of February 2013. This means the date on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/System-Operations-Manager-Unleashed-Edition/dp/0672335913) of February 28, 2013 is actually accurate; although it is possible you could see the book several days earlier than that, depending on the date it goes to the printer and then how long it takes Amazon to get delivery of the content.

Why another three months?

  • We include information on System Center 2012 Operations Manager Service Pack 1, which is currently in beta. The information in the book will be accurate as of the beta version of the service pack.
  • The book is now in what is known as the “production cycle” (yes, boring information here), meaning that it is going through final edits, composition, and layout. With 24 chapters and 5 appendices, that takes a little while. Here is the current chapter list (titles could still be “tweaked”):
  1. Operations Management Basics
  2. What’s New
  3. Looking Inside OpsMgr
  4. Planning Your Operations Manager Deployment
  5. Installing System Center 2012 Operations Manager
  6. Migrating to System Center 2012 Operations Manager
  7. Configuring and Using System Center 2012 Operations Manager
  8. Installing and Configuring Agents
  9. Complex Configurations
  10. Security and Compliance
  11. Dashboards, Trending, and Forecasting
  12. Backup and Recovery
  13. Administering Management Packs
  14. Monitoring with System Center 2012 Operations Manager
  15. Monitoring .NET Applications
  16. Network Monitoring
  17. Using Synthetic Transactions
  18. Distributed Applications
  19. Client Monitoring
  20. Interoperability and Cross Platform
  21. System Center Integration
  22. Authoring Management Packs and Reports
  23. PowerShell and Operations Manager
  24. Operations Manager for the Service Provider

Appendices:

    1. OpsMgr by Example
    2. Performance Counters
    3. Registry Settings
    4. Reference URLs
    5. Available Online (content from the book available for download)

Early work on this book began during the System Center 2012 release candidate cycle, realizing that much of the detail we wanted to include would not be available until the product was released. With Microsoft’s quick follow-up of Service Pack 1 to incorporate support for Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012 and other updates, it made sense to incorporate that information in the book rather than having the content out of date shortly after the book was published.

We appreciate everyone’s patience and think you will find the wait worth it. Writing a book is a huge task, particularly when its projected to be about 1300 pages in length. We took into consideration comments on System Center Operations Manager 2007 Unleashed to reduce “fluff” and bring you in-depth content.

- Kerrie, Cameron, and John

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Free OpsMgr 2012 Virtual Machine Manager Dashboards from the OpsMgr Unleashed team (#SCOM)

The System Center Operations Manager Unleashed team is offering a free pack of dashboards designed to provide information for System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager hosts and guests. Here are the dashboards included in the management pack, discussed in Chapter 11 of the upcoming System Center 2012 Operations Manager Unleashed:

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  • VMM Guest Health (guest state, guest alerts and details pane)

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  • VMM Guest Resources (count of processors, memory and disk size for VMM guests)

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  • VMM Host Performance (VMM host processor, memory, disk and network)

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  • VMM Hosts and Guests (VMM Host state, alerts and performance, VMM guest state, alerts and resources)
  • VMM Performance (Non-dashboard view – standard performance view for hosts)

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  • VMM Server Service Level Objective (Service Level Dashboards for the VMM server’s availability)

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  • VMM Summary Dashboard (VMM Host processor top values, available memory, state)

You can download this management pack from http://www.systemcentercentral.com/pack-catalog/virtual-machine-manager-dashboards-from-the-opsmgr-unleashed-team/.

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About that email from Amazon regarding OpsMgr 2012 Unleashed

Those of you who preordered System Center Operations Center 2012 Unleashed may have recently received an email from Amazon saying that the release date has changed to November 14-16, 2012. Here’s some background:

  • The previous July date was a suggested date by Amazon. It is not based on a date we provided to the publisher or that the publisher gave to Amazon.
  • System Center 2012 was not released to manufacturing (RTM’ed) until April 2012. There were a number of significant changes between RC and RTM, and the book lab was rebuilt from scratch to incorporate the RTM release. This also meant any and all text and screenshots taken during RC had to be reevaluated for its appropriateness in the RTM release. Any book that did not start authoring in April 2012 (or examine all content produced prior to that) will be based on some RC features and code.
  • The book is currently under development, with three authors and seven contributors. Over 450 pages of content have been written, and we’re not through yet!
  • We expect the book to release before the end of this year but do not have specific dates at this point.
  • We are committed to providing the best book available on OpsMgr 2012 and have gone back to add content to chapters where we felt additional depth would be appropriate.
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Cross Platform Discovery Settings

The OpsMgr Unleashed authors would like to thank Scott Weisler for this content and giving us the opportunity to post it.

image

C. Scott Weisler is a consultant specializing in Microsoft System Center, virtualization, and storage technologies.  Scott is a multi-platform virtualization and storage architect, with over 7 years experience designing and implementing enterprise virtualization solutions.  Scott is TS certified across the System Center suite, including Operations Manager 2007, Configuration Manager 2007, Virtual Machine Manager 2008, and Data Protection Manager 2007; as well as TS certified on Hyper-V Server Virtualization.  Scott has served as a subject matter expert on System Center technologies.

Perhaps the most important improvement in cross-platform monitoring functionality in System Center 2012 Operations Manager is the removal of the requirement for root when discovering and monitoring Linux and UNIX systems. There has been some doubt cast on this claim in the community, suggesting root may actually be required for discovery. This posting discusses how to  provide privileged access without root for discovery and agent deployment.

Microsoft Recommendations

When deploying cross-platform agents during discovery, you must use an account that has superuser privileges. If you follow recommended Operations Manager 2012 action account best practices, it means using an unprivileged account that can elevate to privileged using “sudo.” You no longer need “root” access to UNIX/Linux hosts for monitoring; in fact, “root” access is not recommended.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh476947 states the requirements for the three UNIX/Linux action accounts. You can use a single local UNIX/Linux account for all three action accounts, if configured properly, as discussed at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh230690.

Preferred Methodology

A preferred methodology, test through trial and error, is to use two local UNIX/Linux accounts:

  • opsuser:  Unprivileged only. No elevation.
    • Create a Monitoring Run As Account named UNIX/Linux Unprivileged Monitoring Account and assign opsuser to this Run As Account
    • Assign the UNIX/Linux Unprivileged Monitoring Account to the UNIX/Linux Action Account Profile
  • opspriv:  Unprivileged with sudo elevation rights, as per http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh230690.
    • Create a Monitoring Run As Account named UNIX/Linux Privileged Monitoring Account and assign opspriv to this Run As Account
    • Assign the UNIX/Linux Privileged Monitoring Account to the UNIX/Linux Privileged Account Profile

Next, create an Agent Maintenance Run As Account named UNIX/Linux Agent Maintenance Account and assign opspriv to this Run As Account

  • Assign the UNIX/Linux Agent Maintenance Account to the UNIX/Linux Agent Maintenance Account Profile
  • Generation of SSH keys for use with the UNIX/Linux Agent Maintenance Account Profile is optional, depending on the security requirements of your environment

The Key to Discovery Without Root

The key factor when deploying cross-platform agents during the discovery process is configuring the credentials:

  • Whether using the SSH Key or User name and password option, use the opspriv account as the credentials to be used, and set the Does this account have privileged access? setting to This account does not have privileged access, as displayed in Figure 1.

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Figure 1.  Specify the opspriv account without privileged access

  • Setting this option adds an extra Settings tab – Elevation. Select the Elevation tab and verify that the Use ‘sudo’ elevation option is selected. This is shown in Figure 2.

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Figure 2.  Verify ‘sudo’ elevation is selected

  • Ensure the Discovery Type is set to All computers and discovery and installation should proceed successfully, as shown in Figure 3.

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Figure 3. Discovery type set to All computers

Discovery Troubleshooting

Here are three common problems encountered with cross-platform discovery:

  • Host name not matching DNS name – i.e. hostname command returning short name vs FQDN from DNS

Fix in the Networking configuration or the /etc/hosts file

  • Reverse DNS not configured/not configured properly

Configure Reverse DNS records properly

  • Reverse DNS results not matching host name – i.e. reverse DNS returning a generic name such as mailrelay.mydomain.com, rather than the actual hostname

Add an entry to the local c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts file for each OpsMgr management server in the resource pool that will be managing UNIX/Linux hosts for the IP address and proper DNS name of the UNIX/Linux server

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