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/.

Posted in Management Packs, Operations Manager 2012 | Tagged , | 16 Comments

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.

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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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Disaster Recovery in System Center 2012 Operations Manager

We had the opportunity to test the new SC 2012 OpsMgr feature of RMS promotion in a real scenario this week. While experimenting with VMM and Microsoft iSCSI Target, the virtual hard drives of three VMs in the System Center 2012 OpsMgr lab were lost (oops, but it’s a lab folks!). The VMs that were lost included the RMS emulator, a gateway, and one node of the SQL cluster. We were able to recover full function of the management group fairly quickly, and wanted to share the step-by-step recovery experience here.

RMS Emulator

  1. The management server running the RMS emulator role was lost. (Since no agents report directly to the RMS, there was no loss of monitoring availability.)
  2. Another management server was promoted to the RMS emulator role using PowerShell. Figure 1 shows the RMS emulator role being moved from server ‘helios.odyssey.com’ to ‘hannibal.odyssey.com’.
  3. A new VM with the same name and IP address as the original RMS emulator was spun up.
  4. The failed management server name was deleted from the Management Servers list in the OpsMgr console Administration space. (You can’t join the rebuilt management server to the management group without performing this step.)
  5. The OpsMgr management server role was installed on the rebuilt VM, following the procedure to install an additional management server to the management group.
  6. The original RMS emulator was promoted back into that role using PowerShell.

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Figure 1 – OpsMgr PowerShell: Lost RMS emulator (Helios), promoting surviving management server to RMS role (Hannibal), and confirming.

Gateway

  1. A gateway server monitoring Internet-based computers was lost. (Downstream agents and gateways with failover gateway assignments will resume reporting to the failover gateway(s).)
  2. A new gateway with the same name and IP address as the original was spun up. (The failed gateway is not deleted in the OpsMgr console.)
  3. OpsMgr gateway server role was installed on the rebuilt VM, pointing the gateway to the same management server the original gateway was assigned to.
  4. Ran MOMCertImport.exe on the gateway to import a trusted OpsMgr management certificate.
  5. All downstream gateways and agents started to report into the rebuilt gateway without further action.

SQL Server Cluster Node

  1. A node in a SQL cluster hosting an OpsMgr database was lost (the clustered SQL instance automatically failed over to the surviving cluster node).
  2. A new SQL cluster node with the same name and IP address as the original was spun up.
  3. The lost cluster node was evicted from the cluster.
  4. The new VM was configured with the same storage and networking as the original cluster node.
  5. The Failover Cluster feature was installed and the node joined to the cluster.
  6. SQL Server install was completed for each clustered SQL instance by using the installation option to add a node to a SQL server failover cluster.
  7. A replacement OpsMgr agent was pushed to the rebuilt database cluster node by running the repair agent task in the OpsMgr console Administration space, agent-managed computers node.
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