OpsMgr Answer This: Why should I go to Operations Manager 2007 when I can stay with MOM 2005 or use WhatsUp Gold or … ?

We are starting a new series: OpsMgr Answer This questions. These are questions that you probably have asked yourself (or others) more than once. In this series, the writers of the System Center Operations Manager 2007 Unleashed book will offer their opinions to some of those (sometimes rhetorical) questions. The first question we are discussing is, Why should one go to Operations Manager 2007? You may be using MOM 2005 and be perfectly happy with it. There is an adage: "if it works, don’t break it" – so why go to Operations Manager 2007?

Andy Dominey suggests:

  • Because of all the additional functionality OpsMgr gives you (not listing them as you all know the score there).
  • MSFT is heading into the enterprise management space with X-Platform and NASM and this new version of MOM lays the groundwork in the architecture to support these components later on.
  • WhatsUp Gold doesn’t provide effective and synthetic monitoring of Windows applications.
  • MOM 2005 will be going out of support sooner than you might think 🙂 (and NO we haven’t heard anything about this, but you know how Microsoft works)

From John Joyner:

  • Most compelling single reason = MOM 2005 only monitors servers.  OM 07 monitors both servers and applications as objects. Dependencies between monitored objects permit cross-platform event correlation that was not possible with MOM 2005.
  • Management Pack availability – New applications from Microsoft and third party vendors are getting new OM 07 MPs released for them, not MOM 2005 MPs.
  • Interoperability with other System Center applications – Example: VMM 2008 requires OM 07 for monitoring. Service Desk will use OM 07-style management packs.

Cameron Fuller says:

First, let’s look at MOM/OpsMgr versus WhatsUp Gold: WhatsUp Gold provides an environment with up and down monitoring, gathering of events, performance information, SNMP information in the network. It also provides reporting and notification functionality. From a high level it is really a good question of why MOM or OpsMgr versus WhatsUp Gold. The key reasons to go with a MOM or OpsMgr solution versus WhatsUp Gold are: 

  • Issue identification – The Microsoft solutions gather specific information to identify issues based upon the products being monitored. IE: The Exchange Management Pack gathers specific event ID information versus gathering all error level alerts on a system.
  • Decreased noise – The alerts generated by MOM and OpsMgr are more targeted as a result of how issues are identified and result in less noise.
  • Issue resolution – The knowledgebase contained within management packs was developed by the product team which created the product (as an example, the Exchange team helped to develop the Exchange management pack), and is combined with MCS information to provide assistance with resolving issues identified within the environment. These issues can be more quickly resolved through leveraging tasks that are also provided as part of the management packs. When issues are identified, Operations Manager provides notification to the appropriate personnel so that they can respond to the issue more expediently.
  • More Proactive – Faster issue identification and issue resolution combined with product knowledge provides a more proactive monitoring solution. Let’s take as an example an Exchange issue. An issue is identified based upon the number of drive reads and writes when compared with the management pack levels for what is acceptable on the Exchange server. An alert is generated notifying that the system is not performing optimally. Additional spindles can be added or faster storage can be used to address the issue before it affects the user community.

Regarding MOM 2005 vs. OpsMgr 2007, funny you should ask that. This is a great question that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. In fact, I did a presentation at MMS 2008 (S031) on the differences between MOM 2005 and OpsMgr 2007 and why you should go to the most recent version; I just posted my slide deck at http://systemcenterforum.org/wp-content/uploads/Why_Move_to_OpsMgr_2007.zip. The media version of it will be available on the MMS 2008 DVDs. The highlights of the presentation in are in the following table:

MOM 2005 Pro’s

OpsMgr 2007 Pro’s

Simpler Architecture

Beyond server monitoring

Lighter Hardware Requirements

Less noise

All components highly available

Searchable User Interface

More management packs

Faster / Real-time reporting

More intuitive interface

Smaller Data Warehouse

Faster user experience

More granular security / Role-based

Simpler reporting

Health focused

Easier to write management packs

Distributed Applications

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?

Enhanced network monitoring

 

Audit Collection Services

 

Agentless Exception Monitoring

 

Synthetic transactions

 

End-to-end monitoring

Kerrie Meyler offers:

There is a review of OpsMgr 2007 in the current issue of Redmond Magazine – see http://redmondmag.com/features/article.asp?editorialsid=2467, which includes a comparison of some of the MOM 2005 and OpsMgr 2007 features and real world application of those differences.

The biggest change in OpsMgr 2007 versus MOM 2005 is in its approach to monitoring. OpsMgr incorporates end-to-end monitoring – not just server monitoring with MOM 2005 as John mentioned, but the health of applications (including identified components across the network) and services. Which would you prefer to know?

  • Your General Ledger application is impacted because its database is down (OpsMgr 2007), OR
  • Server43 is not available and a database server is not reachable, and now you have to ask what is on that server and what applications/functionality does that impact? (MOM 2005)

In addition, as Cameron points out, OpsMgr 2007 incorporates security log monitoring (ACS), agentless exception monitoring (AEM), and client monitoring. If these are important to you, you should implement Operations Manager 2007.

Also of import is Andy’s reference to the announcement that with Service Pack 2 OpsMgr will incorporate monitoring UNIX and Linux platforms as part of the base product and that the related code will be open source – yes, even at Microsoft pigs can fly! – and that SP2 will include NASM (Network Aware Service Management), which is an integration of EMC Smarts’ Systems and Network Management Solution with OpsMgr.

Don’t forget PowerShell – the ability to script and run in batch just about anything you can do using the OpsMgr console – and in some cases, things you can’t do with the console.

What are the downsides of OpsMgr 2007? If you are using MOM 2005, this really is a brand new product and not an upgrade, so there will be a learning curve. Think of going to NT4 from Windows AD domains (but also think of the improved functionality!). Along with the increased functionality, there are new areas of the user interface to learn.

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