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Welcome to contoso.se! My name is Anders Bengtsson and this is my blog about Azure infrastructure and system management. I am a senior engineer in the FastTrack for Azure team, part of Azure Engineering, at Microsoft.  Contoso.se has two main purposes, first as a platform to share information with the community and the second as a notebook for myself.

Everything you read here is my own personal opinion and any code is provided "AS-IS" with no warranties.

Anders Bengtsson

MVP awarded 2007,2008,2009,2010

My Books
Service Manager Unleashed
Service Manager Unleashed
Orchestrator Unleashed
Orchestrator 2012 Unleashed
Inside the Microsoft Operations Management Suite

MOF, ITIL and System Center Operations Manager 2007

When a organization pass the stage from an IT department that is just a bunch of guys and to a business focused unit providing IT solutions for their business, then they will need some kind of  framework and best practices.  In general, frameworks for IT is all about managing your IT services to the same high level of quality you expect from the rest of your business processes. In this post I will write about two well known frameworks, ITIL and MOF, and also give some examples how Operations Manager 2007 provide the organization with tools for those frameworks.

IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
ITIL is a compile of best practices from companies around the globe. ITIL describe in general how to structure work and organization to deliver IT services in a stabile and effective way.  There are eight disciplines with ITIL:

The IT Service Management sets

  • Service Delivery
  • Service Support

Other operational guidance

  • ICT Infrastructure Management
  • Security Management
  • The Business Perspective
  • Application Management
  • Software Asset Management

To assist with the implementation of ITIL practices a further book was published providing guidance on implementation (mainly of Service Management):

  • Planning to Implement Service Management

Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF)
Many companies have accepted ITIL and then modify it to its own framework, for example IBM, HP and Microsoft. Some companies add new components and some merge it with already existing framework.  Microsoft Operations Framework is built upon ITIL. MOF does the work of adapting ITIL with specific guidelines for using Microsoft products and technologies.

The MOF model includes the following parts

  • Changing (where new service solutions, technologies, systems, applications, hardware and processes are introduced)
  • Operating (performing day to day tasks effective)
  • Supporting (resolution for incidents, problems and investigation)
  • Optimizing (minimizing costs and optimizing performance, capacity and availability in delivering IT services for the organization)

System Center Operations Manager 2007
With the four areas above in the mind, what can Operations Manager provide us with and help use work with ITIL and MOF?

Changing – When new products and technologies are introduced you should make sure they can be monitored in Operations Manager; if there is no management pack from the vendor you can build your own. You can also use reports and performance view to plan you new system and how it will work together with the rest of systems. 

Operating – All day to day tasks can be initiated from the Operations console. Tasks are built in every management pack, but you can also build your own. If you have a daily task where you manually check if X = Y or Z and then you do something. Why don’t let Operations Manger look for you and perform that task? You can do that as a response on an alert or with a script.

Supporting – This is what operations manager is about, monitoring. From Operations Manager you can interpret and act on information or problems when it occurs. Operations Manager also includes links to both a company knowledgebase and to Microsoft product knowledge. This will help you to minimize time taken until the incident are resolved. Operations Manager support role based monitoring and security. This will make it easier when setting up notification and console scope for different teams within you organization. Operations Manager is designed as a model based health monitoring service. A object can be a low-level singel CPU but it can also be the entire array of devices and services that comprise a complete supply chain system.

Optimizing – Operations Manager can monitor performance and also generate reports to help you find bottlenecks and also plan new purchases. Every management pack includes a number of reports. Operations Manager can also help you plan maintenance to minimize unnecessary downtime. A exemple of function for this is distributed applications where you can setup all dependences within your IT environment. 

During System Center suite rollout we will see more of model-base management, ITIL, MOF and Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), all technologies that help businesses enhance the dynamic capability of its people, process, and IT infrastructure.


Links during Mars

Intresting links found during mars. A lot of them are from Microsoft Management Summit 2007 (MMS 2007)

  • A new version of the Exchange MP are available. Download it here 
  • Demo: Windows Server Virtualization management, watch it here
  • Number of Microsoft Certified Professionals Wordwide, info
  • The unofficial source for all your MP authoring needs in System Center Operations Manager 2007, Authorsmps.com
  • More Operations Manager 2007 webcasts here
  • System Center Operations Mananger 2007 documentation, here and here
  • How to test notification settings after you configure e-mail notifications for a recipient or for a subscription in Operations Manager 2007, KB
  • Error message when you click Record after you start the Web Application Editor in Operations Manager 2007: “The requested lookup key was not found in any activation context”, KB
  • Microsoft Management Summit Podcasts, download here
  • System Center Operations Manager 2007 Overview Datasheet, here
  • Monitoring Exchange Server and Unified Communications with Operations Manager 2007 Datasheet, here
  • White Paper – What’s New? Why Upgrade to System Center Operations Manager 2007, here

MOM 2005 and WIN SRV 2003 SP2

According to this KB Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 will work with Windows Server 2003 SP2.

MOMResources.org v2 – RTM 03/23/2007

Finally the new site has arrived – with new features you requested, as well as a new name! To reflect our expanding focus on Operations Manager 2007 and other components of the Microsoft System Center Suite, the new site has been dubbed systemcenterforum.org.

We’ll have a strong focus on the successor to MOM 2005, offering expert guidance and support from both a conceptual perspective as well as the detailed “hands on” aspects of design, implementation and administration. We’ll also bring you System Center and industry-related news relevant to the IT operations management space, as well as reviews of 3rd party ISV offerings, which will be a greatly expanding field for the new generation of the MS operations management platform.

New features on the site include indexed search, RSS (both category feeds and a master site rollup including all new additions), an Events Calendar and searchable FAQs. Note that the first download from the rollup feed may include some migrated content.

Existing momresources.org content – We’ve moved the existing downloads from MOMResources.org to the new site, where it is fully indexed and searchable. We’ll also leave the existing content downloadable via their original momresources.org URL’s to respect the many references present in the MS newsgroups and various community sites.

Check last modified for a directory

I have done a simple script to check last modified on all files in a directory. This example will generate a local event if files are older then 2 months.

strComputer = "."
Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:" _
    & "{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")
Set colFileList = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
    ("ASSOCIATORS OF {Win32_Directory.Name='C:\'} Where " _
        & "ResultClass = CIM_DataFile")

For Each objFile In colFileList
    Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
 Set objFile = objFSO.GetFile(objFile.Name)
 Set objShell = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
 If DateDiff("m", objFile.DateLastModified, Now) > 2 Then
 objShell.LogEvent EVENT_WARNING, _
 "objFile is older than 2 months. Please investigate. The file is: " & objFile
 end If

For more settings, please see this post.

For more settings, please see post.

Verify that a File Exists

This is a simple script that will check if a file exists, if not it will generate a warning event in the local event viewer. You can pick up that event with a rule from MOM. In this example, the script verify if C:\pagefile.sys exists.

Set objFSO = CreateObject(“Scripting.FileSystemObject”)

strFile = “C:\pagefile.sys”

If objFSO.FileExists(strFile) Then
    Set objFolder = objFSO.GetFile(strFile)
    Const EVENT_WARNING = 2
    Set objShell = CreateObject(“Wscript.Shell”)
    objShell.LogEvent 2, strFile & ” is not accessible.”
End If

Links during February

  • Microsoft System Center is a family of IT management solutions (including Operations Manager and Systems Management Server) designed to help you manage your mission-critical enterprise systems and applications. See how these enterprise companies are using System Center solutions today. Design For Big
  • Getting Started Using System Center Operations Manager Command Shell, read more here.
  • Microsoft System Center, new site here
  • OM 2007 Webcast. There are only three today, but when RTM is here there will be 26. You will find them here
  • My friend in Denmark, Sören, has made a report about computers in maintenance mode, you can download it here
  • See the System center roadmap here
  • Upcoming Webcasts System Center, here

MOM 2005 User Interfaces in Vista

If you want to run MOM 2005 user interfaces in Vista you will have to first install .NET Framework 1.1. If you then want to run Vista interfaces with another domain account you can create a new shortcut and use the runas.exe command. For example

runas.exe /user:DOMAIN\LOGON “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Operations Manager 2005\mom.ui.opsconsoleexe.exe”

.NET Framework 1.1

Check regkey and service startup mode

Last week me and some friends found a strange mismatch with a server that has remote desktop enable and the terminal service application computer group. I have done a script that will check a regkey (not the one in this example) and a service startup type. If the startup type is not auto, the script will change it and generate a information event in the local event viewer. It is a little bit strange script, but I am sure someone more that us can use it 🙂

The event that is generated in the local event viewer has event id 0 and the type is information

Unfortunately my WordPress theme dont really like long lines in scripts, so I have uploaded it as a file instead. You can download it here

Is your MOM to sensitive?

Is your MOM to sensitive and sending you alerts in early stage? As you presumably know you can change thresholds and modify all rules to suite your environment better. I will show one way to do that in this post. In this example I will collect event ID 2 from the Application log and when there has been two alerts with event ID 2 within one minute I will generate an alert.

Start by create one rule to consolidate similar events with the following settings

  • Data Provider – Provider Name: Application
  • Data Provider – Provider type: Windows NT Event Log
  • Criteria – with event id 2
  • Schedule – Always process data
  • Consolidate – Choose Event number, Source Name, and input set that events must occur within 60 seconds
  • Knowledge Base: Input a suitable text
  • General: Input a suitable name and verify that the rule is enabled
  • Data Provider – Provider Name: Application
  • Data Provider – Provider type: Windows NT Event Log
  • Criteria – event ID 2 and repeat count is at least 2 (Advanced criteria)
  • Schedule – Always process data
  • Alert – Check the box to generate alert
  • Alert Suppression – leave default settings
  • Responses – add suitable if needed
  • Knowledge Base: Input a suitable text
  • General: Input a suitable name and verify that the rule is enabled

That’s it. After two events with event ID 2 and the same source name you will get an alert.