Overcast » Blog Archives

Author Archives: admin

SCOM

Operations Manager 2012 R2 U7 Released

Published by:

You can get it here! (use IE if you have windows 10).

There’s quite a list of issues solved:

· The home page link in the Web Console Noscript.aspx file is vulnerable to cross-site scripting (XSS)

·  “Agents by Health State” report shows duplicate entries and inconsistent data

· Dependent tables are not groomed (Event.EventParameter_GUID table)

· Management Packs do not synchronize between management servers

· Leaked transaction causes over 100 SPIDs in SCOM database to be permanently blocked by the “p_DataPurging” stored procedure

· Operations Manager SDK crashes because of SQL errors when QueryResultsReader.Dispose is called

·  You can’t view dashboard performance counters that are created by using the TCP Port Monitoring templateDynamic inclusion rule is added to a group definition unexpectedly if an explicit member instance of the group disappears

·  You can’t create group by using the SQL Server 20XX Installation Seed

· Add MPB support to the SCOM online catalog

· Active Directory Integration in Perimeter Network fails when there is only an RODC present

· System Center Operations Manager subscriptions that use the filter to search for specific text in the description (of the message) do not work

· CLR load order change

· Problems in obtaining monitoring objects by using “managementGroup.EntityObjects.GetObjectReader”

· The “Threshold Comparison” setting in the consecutive-samples-over-threshold monitor cannot be configured

· Agentless Exception Monitoring (AEM) causes the Health Service to crash because the maximum path length of 248 character is exceeded

· After you update management packs, the newly added default (visible) columns to view are not visible automatically

· Branding update – Updates the “Operational Insights” name to “Operations Management Suite” in the System Center Operations Management console. (yey!)

Here’s my experience installing it:

Downloading the required bits:

image

The steps are pretty similar to the previous ones:

Supported installation order

We recommend that you install this update rollup package by following these steps in the given order:

  1. Install the update rollup package on the following server infrastructure:
    • Management server or servers
    • Gateway servers
    • Web console server role computers
    • Operations console role computers
  2. Apply SQL scripts (see installation information).
  3. Manually import the management packs.
  4. Apply the agent update to manually installed agents, or push the installation from the Pending view in the Operations console.

 

1. Let’ start by applying the binaries:

image

Server first:

image

Needs restart:

image

Now Console and Web Console:

image

2.Applying the SQL Scripts:

First the Operations Manager DB:

image

image

Historically, a reboot or stopping the SCOM server helps this query to run smoothly.

Now the DW:

image

This one is pretty quick.

3.Now the MPs

On my first try, although the setup asked me to reboot to complete the install (some files might have been in use), it failed to update one of the MP files (from C:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center 2012 R2\Operations Manager\Server\Management Packs for Update Rollups)

image

So, I ended up extracting the visualization mp manuall, but you could probably fix it by running the .msp for the server once more.

4. Last but not least, update the agents:

image

Some visual signs it worked:

image

Azure Resource Manager

Azure Resource Manager–First Steps

Published by:

image

After struggling with Azure Resource Manager for a while and feeling like I didn’t understand the details and nuances of the model, I’ve decided to explorer some of the elements in detail.

The first one I’d like to touch is a Virtual Machine. Very common and very basic to any IaaS deployment.

Let’s see what Visual Studio 2015 will give us.I have created an empty project and will try to add the Resources manually:

image

As one would expect, any VM will need to be stored somewhere and have a network card. So, it makes more send to create both before. But we can follow the wizard for now:

image

image

So far, so good:

image

Now, for the VNET:

image

image

image

Ok, after clicking the final Add, here’s what I get:

image

All this is stored in the DeploymentTemplate.json file.

Visual Studio’s wizard creates and assumes a lot of thins, like the Parameters, for example:

image

On a real automated deployment, some of these won’t be manually entered and seed variable might be the best option.

Speaking of which, the variables get created very quickly by the wizard:

image

And notice the definition:

image

Let’s take a look at some of them, starting by the VNET. It assumes one VNET, with 10.0.0.0/16 prefix and two subnet, which I didn’t actually requested (10.0.0.0/24 and 10.0.1.0/24). May not be a bad idea, but we’ll need to review what we need and we don’t. Also, not the names of the Subnets. If you want it to be easy to ready, you should rename those to Frontend/Backend. Or Internal and DMZ.

image

Not for the OS disk, it will use:

image

Ok, for now. For the VM Size, however, Microsoft recommends a much larger machine, which might not be really necessary:

image

So, here’s what I’ve changed so far:

image

Back to the parameters, note that you can allow valid options for the parameters:

image

If the parameters is not specified in the DeploymentTemplate.param.dev.json file, the user will be prompted either here or in the new Azure Portal, which is initially empty:

image

 

Now for the resources themselves, starting with the VNET. Note the // characters as comments. This is not officially supported outside of visual studio. JSON officially won’t allow comments. But for didactic purposes…anything.

image

The the NIC:

image

Before we look at the VM, let’s see the storage account:

image

And finally, the VM:

image

Ok, so what we have is very simple:

image

So, let’s deploy it:

image

On my first try, VS 2015 crashed completely on me for no reason…Second, same thing. Something must be wrong. What about those comments…no luck. It must be something with 2015 RTM and Windows 10. After switching to VS 2013, I can start the deployment:

image

I will create a new Resource Group:

image

image

Now edit the Parameters:

image

And Deploy!

It started to move:

image

And there is a Resource group in the portal:

image

10 minutes later, nothing had happened. I assume something went wrong, like a parameter with an invalid content or something like that.

Before I start trying to troubleshoot, I’ve decided to check a few pre-requisites that might be outdated, like Azure Powershell. I’ve found out I had a version from may and there is a newer one from August 2015, so, let’s upgrade it.

image

I will start clean now, by using PoSh to deploy it. Before I start I will delete the Resource Group in the portal:

image

image

You should have it open in PoSh ISE:

image

To work from here, you’ll need to authenticate and you do that by using Add-AzureAccount.

After running the script (reminder: enable scripts by setting the Execution policy!), I’ve got a significant error:

image

Storage account names must be all lowercase, 3 to 24 characters. As you can see, I had it wrong in the parameters:

image

However, some components were created:

image

Since the VM depends on the storage account, it couldn’t be created. Let’s do it all from the beginning. Hit F5:

image

Using east us. Type in the admin user password. And let’s see.

image

It seems I have forgotten everything about windows and computer names. It is the cloud! It should just work! Smile

However, it won’t. It is still governed by the regular rules and you have to know what you are doing!!!

Let’s try again, just so we never forget! This time, I will change the VM name:

image

Bingo!

image

Meanwhile, in the portal:

image

Note the extra interface there. This happened because I decided not to wipe the Resource Group before trying again and the name of the interface is created concatenating the VMName, so, the previous one is still there.

You may simply wipe the interface:

image

So, I hope this helps you to give the first steps using Azure Resource Manager! If you are feeling bold, make sure you check this link out. There is a lot of templates ready to be used.

SCOM

Monitoring Abnormal (sudden) Disk Usage with SCOM

Published by:

A customer recently asked me for a solution to monitor an abnormal growth in usage of a volume or disk. SCOM doesn’t have a native monitor for that. Enters PowerShell and authoring!

First I wrote the script, that essentially accepts a drive letter, a threshold (in MBytes) and a debug flag to log events in event viewer.

The script will use Get-WmiObject Win32_LogicalDisk -ComputerName . -Filter “DeviceID=’$driveletter'” | Select-Object Size,FreeSpace to retrieve the status of the drive.

I will then compare the previous Freespace usage (using temp file to compare) and if the growth is larger than the threshold, the rule is triggered.

I have also included a rule to collect event 666 (debug) if enabled.

The Management Pack has basically two rules:

   
Fehse.Extended.Disk.Monitoring.DiskGrowthPercentageRule 5% growth on a 15 minutes interval

Fehse.Extended.Disk.Monitoring.DiskGrowthRule

5Gb of growth on a 15 minutes interval

Both rules are disabled by default and need to be overridden for each computer you want to monitor (or disk in this case).

Debug is enabled by default, so you can expect events 666 in the Operations Manager log on every computer running the scripts. They will look like this:

image

MP can be found here.

 

Hope this helps!

SCOM

New SQL MP 6.6.0.0

Published by:

Microsoft recently released a new Microsoft SQL Server Management pack for SCOM 2012. Here’s my experience importing and reviewing its new features/general operation.

The MP can be downloaded here and it has a decent set of new features and fixes:

New features and fixes:

  • Dashboards were replaced with the new ones
  • Components of replication functionality are deprecated and disabled by default
  • SPN monitor now correctly handles disjoined namespaces
  • Added support for filegroups containing filestreams and partition schemes
  • Memory Consumption monitor has been fixed
  • Upgradeability from 6.4.1.0 version is supported
  • Added CPU Usage monitor and rule for SQL Server 2005
  • Added ConsecutiveSamples Condition to the Buffer Cache Hit Ratio and Page Life Expectancy monitors
  • AlwaysOn discovery was reworked
  • Minor fixes.

After installing it, the files will be located on a folder.

All you have to do is import from disk.

You won’t need all of them, very likely. Make sure you only import MPs that you’ll actually going to use. In my case, only these:

image

But not. I’ve just looked and noticed I had imported the SQL 2008 pieces as well as the always on feature. I will then update the SQL 2008 and remove the Always on, since I’m not using it at this moment:

image

Importing these:

image

OK.All good now.

First looks at the console show some new cool dashboards…but not. When I clicked, I’ve got a funny message that the dashboard didn’t exist or had been removed.

As usual, closing and re-opening the SCOM operations Console fixed the issue. Here’s a quick sample of the new dashboards:

image

It looks great. This is called the Datacenter view. If you (double)click on any of the tiles, you will get more information (databases):

image

and jobs:

image

This is great, but there is more! The SQL team has been so generous in creating those dashboards that they will also share these with other platforms.

Yes, yes. That’s what you think: you can leverage this same visualization to show information about other objects. Let’s give it a try!

To the batworkspace!

image

 

Look at that!

image

image

The new dashboard will be a bit quiet, but let’s fix this:

image

Nothing cat beat the classics. Let’s pick All Windows Computers:

image

Hum, interesting:

image

This is a brand new SCOM, so, not a lot of stuff there, but makes sense:

image

The nice thing about it is that you can add multiple groups:

image

Settings allow for changes in the refresh interval and colours:

image

 

Summary: couldn’t find any operational flaw yet but will keep you posted. As for visualization, it is a great improvement. Thank the SQL team for developing and sharing this!

 

Hope this helps!

Azure

Azure Logic Apps–First look

Published by:

I’ve recently got a note from a good MVP pal Daniele Grandini about Azure Logic Apps. If you are like me, I had not heard about it before, although I spend a good chuck of my time working with Azure services. That’s how Azure is. There is always something new and cool to be looked at. But I digress. Let’s take a look at Logic Apps.

You can find it in the new portal:

image

Then you need to select a pricing tier. Note that the tiers are the same to this and to websites, which of course, makes me think the Logic Apps all run as Web Services/Web Apps.

image

You are then asked to set up a trigger. You can start it manually as well. So, the first thing I thought about was to send myself a summary of Microsoft Azure related tweets on a daily basis. I know I have enough e-mails but often I can’t skim through all the tweets everyday.

So, I’ve setup a recurrence:

image

Every day:

image

Ok, but at what time? Let’s see it later. Once you click the check mark, you are asked to set the first step. I believe I will need to connect to twitter:

image

image

You, of course, need to authorize it. You will need to logon and click as below:

image

 

Interestingly enough, you can read and write information:

image

I’m going to try and search tweets with the #MicrosoftAzure tag:

image

Let’s then send that list to me, using, of course, office 365!

image

You again, will need to authorize:

image image

Then I will simply send me an email with the tweets content:

image

Just after creating the logic app, I’ve got the e-mail:

image

So, to answer the question about the time for the recurrence, it seems it will be 24 hours from the first creation.

But there is a way and the answer is documented here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/dn948511.aspx

Click on CodeView:

image

Ok, don’t panic with all the code in there. It is all good. Smile

Look for the “Triggers” section:

image

Add the starttime parameter as below (don’t forget the comma in the previous line):

image

Save it. And wait…

In a nutshell, it seems like a very handy mechanism to create basic and complex workflows, with great capabilities and breadth.

 

Hope this helps!

Uncategorized

Azure Site Recover–Part I : Planning

Published by:

Azure Site Recovery is the Microsoft Cloud Solution for disaster recovery. It can have multiple flavors, like On-Prem to On-Prem, On-Prem to Azure or VMWare/Physical to Azure. Each one will have specific dependencies and features.

In a recent project, I was assigned with the heroic task of onboarding as many machines in to ASR as possible. A few challenges arose from that, among them. Besides reading the whole guide here, I recommend you to pay special attention to some aspects that follow below.

– Not all Hyper-V hosts are running 2012 R2

In companies that are Hyper-V users for a log time, it will be likely to find older versions of hosts, including some lost Virtual Server 2005 hosts, as it was the case in my project. So, in this case, a planning for migrating the hosts to Windows Server 2012 R2 must be put in place. However, it may not be that straight forward. One of the reasons to have older hosts is that you may have older operating systems in the VMs themselves that are not supported by the hosts. For example, Hyper-V 2012 R2 will only support the following operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2
    Windows Server 2012
    Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP 1)
    Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2 (SP 2)
    Windows Home Server 2011
    Windows Small Business Server 2011
    Windows Server 2003 R2 with Service Pack 2 (SP2)
    Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2

If you have older operating systems, you may need to maintain these hosts for a while.

– Not all VMs are running Azure supported OSs

As you may have noticed, OS compatibility is a major concern, for the OS, VMs and for Azure as well. Not all VM Operating Systems can be protected in Azure. Currently, Windows Server 2008 R2 and on are supported only, as well various Linux distros.

– Current VMM Infrastructure may not be up to date

Customer may not have a current VMM installed. You will need to either upgrade it or install a fresh one. Customer may not even have VMM, so, it is a good opportunity to design the network properly.

– The networking configuration of the hosts won’t likely be compatible with Azure

If you haven’t ever configured the networking or if you have only imported automatically from VMM, there is a lot of work to do. I suggest you read some articles about it: here and here. But in a nutshell, you’ll need to have a cloud setup with available networks to be mapped when the failover plans kick in on Azure.

– The workload may be sensitive and not able to be immediately on-boarded.

Some workload may be dependent on local resources that can’t be failed-over to Azure, so, unlikely candidates. A plan to properly classify each workload and when and how it is going to be migrated needs to be created.

 

As I’ve mentioned, you still need to check the whole guide and make sure every aspect is covered, but he items above will likely be the bulk of the work, since the actual ASR configuration is relatively straightforward.

 

hope this helps

Hyper-V SCVMM

VMM Network Setup for clusters with virtual nics

Published by:

As a consultant, new customer requests and scenarios are usually a great opportunity to learn new things and new ways of thinking. Recently a customer presented with the following scenario, which I believe may be pretty common.

A global company, with multiple sites, spread around the world. Some already established Hyper-V sites, some VMWare and the need for a future site deployments using Hyper-V. The tool of choice to manage the whole scenario is System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

The general configuration is well know, with a single Logical Network and VMNetwork for VMs.  Your logical configuration will look like that:

image

The challenge was that we wanted to make sure of network card virtualization to allow for best bandwidth management.

So, the idea to break the network team into different cards (vNICs) and make sure the hosts can talk to each other. For that, different logical networks need to be created for the Live, Cluster, CSV and iSCSI networks:

image

Notice the type of logical network is different. When you pick that type, you’ll require to refer the subnet when creating the VM Network:

image

image

Having that VM Network available, you can connect the host to this new network by adding a vNIC to the switch:

image

You can see the full configuration video here.

 

Hope this helps!

Azure SCVMM

Connecting your Virtual Machine Manager infrastructure to Azure

Published by:

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 Update Rollup 6 has been recently released and one of the most exciting features is the ability to connect to your Azure workloads. Let’s then take a look at how to do that:

First, make sure you VMM Server is running fine and has UR6 deployed to it.

For the the actual connection, you will need a few things:

Access to the console

Subscription ID

Certificate

To get you subscription ID, you can go to your Azure console, under settings:

image

To get a certificate and import it into azure, check this link:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/gg551722.aspx

 

Make sure that you import the certificate into the User Personal Store as recommended:

image

 

Now, having all that, you can start the VMM configuration:

image

 

Paste in your Subscription and ID and browse for the certificate:

image

 

After a few seconds, you should see your Azure workloads there:

image

The operations you can perform are relatively limited:

image

Hope this helps!

Uncategorized

Testing SCOM 2016 Technical Preview 2

Published by:

The Technical Preview 2 for System Center Operations Manager (2016) is out. Differently from TP1, which had absolutely nothing different from 2012 R2, this one is supposed to have a few surprises. Lets take a look.

In order to install TP, I’ve create a good VM in Azure, based on the SQL Template, with 14Gb of RAM. Yes, just because I can do that in Azure. Smile 

image

Once the VM has been deployed, I have downloaded the preview from here.

After extracting the files, the initial setup is very familiar:

image

Let’s select all features

image

image

Same standard requirements:

IIS for Web Console

SQL CLR Types (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=239644&clcid=0x409)

Report Viewer (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35747)

New MG:

image

Local Server (Standard Azure SQL Template):
image

image

image

If you are using a standard Azure SQL 2014 VM, you will get this:

image

This happens because SSRS is not configured out-of-the-box (or out-of-the-cloud). Run through the standard SSRS configuration to allow install to go on. Also, make sure you start the SQL Server Browser service.

image

image

Using local user, since it is a local SQL:

image

image Yes, let’s help the product group!

And here we go.

Once installed, let’s take a look at the basics.

Console looks pretty much the same, except for version: 7.2

image

It seems that most of it is the same, but wait!

What is that?

image

Looks like an old request has made the build. Maintenance Mode schedule!

If you create a new Maintenance Schedule:

image

Add one object:

image

Set a schedule:

image

Configure details:

image

Et Voi la!

Besides that, there are some new features on the Linux side, like Apache, MySQL and better Linux support (see here for full details).

Also check a lot more information here:

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK2467

http://channel9.msdn.com/events/Ignite/2015/BRK3499

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK2459

 

Hope this helps!

Uncategorized

SCOM 2012 R2 Update Rollup 6 and my experience installing it

Published by:

What is new:

  • The “Remove-DisabledClassInstance” Windows PowerShell command times out without completing
  • Duplicate closed alerts
  • Topology widget objects lose location when they are opened in a console that has a different locale and decimal format
  • WebConsole Details widget does not display anything
  • Top 10 Performance widgets (WebConsole) are sometimes empty
  • Problem with decoding SCOM trace log files

Some interesting stuff. There are some other Linux updates as well (see full documentation link below).

You can download it here.

Let’s try to install. Server goes first:

image

 

Got a reboot request, so, let’s reboot it.

 

Apply SQL scripts

image

image

image

Import MPs

image

For some strange reason, the Visualization MP was not extract. I have then extracted the .cab file from the msp (using msix.exe) and extracted the virtualization MP from the .cab (image)

Renamed it then to Microsoft.SystemCenter.Visualization.Library.mpb and was able to import both the MPs below:

image

Update your agents

image

So, have 5 servers requiring updates.

And there you go!

 

Hope this helps!