2007 R2 Universal Connector

If you have not seen it yet, Microsoft has now released a number of connectors for Ops Mgr 2007 R2. The System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Connectors provide System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 alert forwarding to remote systems, such as an Enterprise Management System (EMS) or service desk system. One of the connectors that Microsoft has released is the universal connector, a connector that can be installed and configured for potentially any remote system that is hosted on a Windows system or on a supported UNIX system. More info and download here.

Each deployed Operations Manager 2007 R2 Connector has the following components:

  • Interop Provider – This service is installed on a Windows or UNIX server in a supported remote system environment and is automatically started at install. The Interop Provider receives alerts from the Connector Service in the Operations Manager 2007 R2 environment and forwards them to the supported remote system through APIs of that system. The Interop Provider also sends updates on those events back to the Connector Service.
  • Connector Service – This service is installed on a server in the Operations Manager 2007 R2 environment and is automatically started after configuration is completed. The Connector Service gathers alerts from the Operations Manager 2007 R2 RMS and sends them to the Interop Provider that is installed on a remote system server. The Connector Service also receives updates from that Interop Provider for remote system events that were created from Operations Manager alerts.
  • Connector Configuration UI – This configuration dialog box is installed on a server on which an Operations Manager 2007 R2 console is installed, and it becomes an integrated component in that console. Use the Connector Configuration dialog box to configure communications for Operations Manager 2007 R2 servers with remote system servers. Tabs on the Connector Configuration dialog box also provide for mapping Operations Manager alert properties to properties of the remote system’s events and for configuring the High Availability feature.
  • The installation was pretty simple, the manual explain the different steps in a good way. You install the “Interop Provider” and the connector service. The connector configuration UI needs to be installed on a machine with the Ops Mgr R2 console as there is a integration between the two. It is not possible to upgrade any pre-RTM version of the connector, so if you have been running a pre-RTM version make sure you uninstall it before you tries to install the RTM version. When the installation is complete you will see a new connector in the console

     

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    On the Ops Mgr Universal Connector you can configure where your EMS server is, how ofter to synchronize, where your Ops Mgr server is and of course which alert fields to synchronize. You will also see a new connector under Internal Connectors. This is where you can configure which alerts that will be forwarded to the EMS server. With default settings all alerts are forwarded.

    When a new alert is generated a XML file will be generated on the EMS server side. In this example I generate an alert for a event in the event viewer.

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    As you can see below, the alert has ID 8f474850-7308-41f8-ba40-0fb27b72084e, and there are XML files generated for the alert. The filesname is <AlertID>. <sequence number>.XML. The sequence number starting at 1, is added so that if an alert is forwarded and not processed in a timely manner of if an alert is updated multiple times in a short time period, the files are not overwritten. Overwritting the files could result in lose updates. It is important that the EMS system process the file with the lower numbers first so that the sequence of activities is not lost. Note that if you get two alerts at the same time they will be named <AlertID001>.1.XML and <AlertID002>.2.XML, the .X. number is common for the management group, and not a sequence number of each alert ID.

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    The next step is that the remote system needs to acknowledge (event type = 2) the alert back to Ops Mgr. This is done with a new XML file. Dont forget to delete the first XML file, so you dont process it again.

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    If you then want to update (event type = 1) the alert you generate a new XML file, in the following example the resolution state is set to 100. You can use the same XML code to update the resolution state to 255, in other words close an alert.

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    There are a couple of different event types you can use with the universal connector

    • <EventType>0</EventType> = New Ops Mgr alert being forwarded
    • <EventType>1</EventType> = Update to an Ops Mgr alert being forwarded to the remote system or update to the event/ticket on a remote system being forwarded to Ops Mgr
    • <EventType>2</EventType> = Remote system acknowledgement of a new alert
    • <EventType>3</EventType> = Remote system acknowledgement of an alert update

    Summary: You can use the Universal connector to forward alert in XML or EVT format to remote systems. Remote systems can then generate files that the connector picks up and process in Operations Manager, for example update resolution state of an alert. You can run the connector against both Microsoft and non-Microsoft systems.

    10 thoughts on “2007 R2 Universal Connector

    1. Hi:

      Can someone provide information on what FW ports need to be open between the Connector Service and Interop Provider to alerts to be sent and also to receive updates (biderectional) thanks

    2. Hi, the alert needs to start in operations manager, else you cant have it in there. You need to have the device in operations manager. So you cant insert “any-device” and an alert for it. “any-device” needs to be in operations manager first.

    3. Hi Anders,

      Thanks for the quick reply.

      From the link you sent I understand that I must have network connectivity between the servers, not to mention Domain/Forest Trusts. In my case the servers are on seperated networks, I’ll try to rephrase my question then.

      What would be the best/easiest way to generate alerts based on XML files that are transferred to an opsmgr server? for example If have an XML file with the following elements: ComputerName, Category, Username ,Severity, Description. Is it Possible to generate an alet in the opsmgr console about the specific computer which doesn’t really exist on that network?

      Thanks

      Roee.

    4. Hi Andres
      I’m trying to use the universal connector to forward alerts from one OpsMgr server to another Via XML files (the 2 servers are on seperated networks)
      First, is it possible to only forward the alerts in one direction?
      What we tried to do is copy the XML files generated by the first server to the second at the Management-Group Name folder. the XML files were picked up by the connector but didn’t show any alerts on the console, and they also weren’t inserted into the Alert Table (SQL). Does it sound like an XML Syntax issue or somthing wrong with my comprehension of how it’s supposed to work?

    5. I dont think that will work as the alert source must be the local management group. The alert has to be generated in the management group before ops mgr can work with it. So if you have an alert with a alertID that is not from the local management group, that alert will not be generated, not in the same why as with product connectors.

    6. Thanks Anders, I thought that connector service would gather alerts in one management group (one domain) and then send them to second MG (second domain) and interop provider would interprate alerts in OpsMgr. Its nonsense between two MG? It would be useful because in this time I dont know useful technology how to achieve that. Of course, between two (or more) non-trusted domain (Management Groups).

    7. Hi, dont think you can use the universal connector to forward alerts between management groups, as the object/item/alert must be generated in the management group, then you can work with it. You cant generate an alert with the universal connector, it has to be generated by ops mgr first.

    8. Hi Anders,
      did you test (is it possible) to use universal connector between Operations Manager 2007 R2 systems? Connected Groups functionality is not suitable for me. I need to connect systems mainly between non-trusted domains.

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