Lately I have been working with a number of automation scenarios where we use Service Manager and Orchestrator to automate Operations Manager. The scenarios have not really been target to end-users, instead to Operations Manager administrators and subject matter experts (SME). For example install agent and uninstall agent, maintenance mode and disable alerts. All this can be done from the Operations Manager console, but that require first knowledge and then of course permission. Another benefit with automate it based on a form is that is will be done the same everytime, independent on which administrator performing the task.

For example if you want to allow subject matter experts, like your Exchange team, to install Operations Manager agent on new Exchange machines, you will need to give them Operations Manager administrator permissions. Alternative they will contact your Operations Manager administrator’s team and request to get the agent installed. With Service Manager 2012 self-service portal you can publish this as a service request. Anyone with enough Service Manager permissions can request an agent in the portal, an operations manager administrator can approve it and then Orchestrator will install the agent.

Another common scenario is that a team gets an alert that they don’t want. For example a service is not running on server X. Instead of forwarding this ticket to the Operations Manager team they could simple disable it for the server themselves, after an Operations Manager administrator have approved it in Service Manager.

In this blog post I want to share with you a runbook that disable a rule or monitor based on ticket ID from Service Manager. The scenario is that a team, for example the Exchange team, gets an incident in Service Manager; the incident is generated from an alert in Operations Manager. After some thinking they realize that they no longer want to monitor that for that server. They browse to the self-service portal and input the incident ID (ticket ID in Operations Manager), after approval, Orchestrator find the rule or monitor generate that alert and disables it for the machine. The Orchestrator runbook also handle override management pack. The Exchange team could also browse to the Orchestrator console and start the runbook.

Another discussion is if this is a service request of a change request. The current build of Service Manager 2012 allows us to publish service requests direct in the portal, not change requests. Therefor I will use Service Requests in this example.

  1. The first activity, gets Ticket Id and target server name as input. Which Operations Manager management server the runbook is using is controlled by a variable. All activities use the same variable to contact the same management group.
  2. This activity is used to format date and time which is used for the management pack backup folder
  3. Powershell script, loads the Operations Manager module and gets the alert with the ticket ID we input when the runbook was started. The script then checks if the alert is from a rule or a monitor. As we need to use different cmdlets to disable a rule or a monitor we need to know if the source is a rule or a monitor. Next step finds out the orginal management pack, the management pack that stores the alert source. The script checks if there is a suitable override management pack. The override management pack name is “Organisation – orginal name” for example “Contoso – Microsoft Unix Library”. “Contoso” is controlled by a variable. All steps will echo to the logfile, default path is C:\TEMP\logfile.txt
  4. If there is no suitable override management pack this activity creates it, as a XML file in the C:\TEMP folder
  5. Imports the override management pack created in step 4
  6. Overrides the rule or the monitor
  7. If there is a override management pack already step 7 makes a backup of the management pack. The backup of the management pack is stored in C:\TEMP by default. The script will create a folder with the current timestamp and then stores the management pack in it
  8. Overrides the rule or the monitor

An example of this could be that first an alert is generated in Operations Manager and syncronized to Service Manager. Service Manager writes back the incident number to Operations Manager

A SME finds out that this rule or monitor can be disabled for this or a machine. The SME can then navigate to the Orchestrator Console or browse to the Service Manager self-service portal and input the ticket ID and the server for which the monitoring should be disabled

Either way the runbook will be executed and create the override

Summary: Self-service can be target to engineers and SME teams, not only end-users. We use self-service with the Service Manager self-service portal or with the Orchestrator Console to execute tasks that the engineer normally dont have deep skills of or permissions to do. In this example disable a rule or monitor in Operations Manager. We save time both for the engineer and the Operations Manager team. With the Orchestrator console we can use Orchestrator as a “proxy” to carry out complex tasks in a very simple way. With Service Manager we can build a approval flow to make sure every change is approved in a correct way.

If you want to build a runbook that deploys agent to untrusted networks or workgroup machines, where you need certificate based authentication, look at, Deploy OPSMGR agent to untrusted zones with Opalis. Also look at the posts around fault tolerance and logging. If you want to build a runbook to uninstall (and install) the Operations Manager agent, that can be triggered from the Orchestrator console and the Service Manager self-service portal, this is an example

You can download the runbook here, 20111227_DisableRuleMonitor. Please note that this is provided “as is” with no warranties at all.

  1. [...] previous posts I showed how to handle overwrites and groups in Operations Manager with self-service in Service Manager and a bit Orchestrator. In [...]