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New MP Authoring tool released – “MP Author”

New MP Authoring tool released – “MP Author”

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A new MP authoring tool was announced today.  Read the release at http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2014/01/13/mp-blog-the-right-tool-for-the-right-job.aspx

This is a FREE tool which Silect is releasing.  This tool essentially replaces the functionality of the previous “Visio Management Pack Designer”  This is targeted at the IT Pro, who needs to create custom management packs and author new classes, discoveries, rule, monitors, etc… but is not a developer.  This new tool will make simple work of creating a new class to monitor a specific application, quickly discover it, and add several types of monitoring.

You can register and download here:  http://bridgeways.com/products/mp-author

One of the big benefits of this over the Visio tool, is that it can open existing MP’s and make changes to them, where the Visio tool was a “one way” solution.  This new tool also expands on the types of workflows that are possible to create over the Visio tool.  If you were using the Visio MP designer, I’d recommend migrating to this new solution immediately.  If you considered but didn’t like the Visio designer, – try this one out.

This is the initial release, I imagine we will see additional capabilities as time progresses.  Keep in mind – this is meant for SIMPLE management packs, not a full development suite.  The Visual Studio authoring extensions are the right place for a more full featured management pack development environment.

Here are some simple examples of using MP Author:

Open MP Author.  Click “New” to create a new MP.

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Most fields come pre-populated, but are simple to change. 

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Provide a location for your new MP:

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The MP Author automatically creates the necessary references, and you can add more if you need to reference classes in other MP’s:

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Now we can choose what we want to create from common templates.

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The MOST common should be “empty management pack”.  Even a “single server application” create a class for our app, but it also creates an additional distributed application for each as well, and this is not commonly needed.  I’d prefer the “single server application” only create a single, simple class, based on Microsoft.Windows.Local.Application, but that is open for discussion.  When we choose to create an empty MP we still have full use of wizards to help create our MP.

I choose Empty MP and click Next, Finish.

Now – what I want to do is to create a class (or “Target”) in this MP to represent an application that I need to discover and monitor.  For this example, I will use the WINS server role.

Go to “Targets” and choose “New Registry Target”

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Connect to an existing WINS server to browse the registry of that machine.

I will base the discovery of my class on the Registry value for the WINS service – in this case it is located at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WINS\Start

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When Start = 2 (automatic) I consider that a WINS server.  Click OK, Next.

Provide an ID and displayname for the Class, or accept defaults:

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Provide an ID and displayname for the Discovery, or accept defaults:

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Validate or modify the expression for class membership:

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Set schedule for once every day, and Finish.

SAVE YOUR MP AT THIS POINT.  We’d hate to lose all our work.  Smile

Now we can quickly add in some event rules, service monitor, performance monitors, etc….  When happy, right-click the top level folder for your MP in the left tree view, and choose Import Management pack:

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We provide a MS name, and credentials.  mine popped up and said it could not validate my creds which was odd.  The next screen shows what referenced MP’s must also be imported.  This appears a little odd to me because these MP’s are already imported in my environment anyway.  This operation crashed on my PC so there might be some issues to work out yes on this process.  No bother, I’d rather manually import anyway.  Unfortunately I didn’t save my work FIRST.  So off I go to recreate what we just did.  Smile

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I manually import my MP, and I can view my discovered servers using Discovered Inventory for my new class:

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Could not be any easier to create classes for granular targeting of applications, and creating common authored workflows to rapidly provide monitoring.

Comments
  • Looks like a pretty good tool, but I don't think the community needs another authoring UI. If you are tasked with authoring MP's, then learn VSAE - that's it. Every authoring tool requires some sort of ramp-up time. Why not use that time more wisely and learn the authoring extensions??? I don't get it...

  • I also created a blog post on the new MP Author tool. You can read more at http://blogs.technet.com/b/stefan_stranger/archive/2014/01/13/new-tool-for-mp-authoring.aspx Stefan Stranger Microsoft

  • Hi Kevin, When I try to download - the free MP Author, I get a pop up to first fill in my details - but then another ONE to fill in A credit Card??/? I though this was free?\?

  • @Bongani - there is a "no thanks" on that screen to not buy anything and just get the free too.

  • As to the tool feedback... not everyone has access to Visual studio, and some customers just need very simple tools for basic things, like creating a class. Many of our customers want to use the product "out of the box", but you cannot follow best practices using the authoring capabilities of the SCOM console. So simple wizards like "create a class" are beneficial. If this basic capability was better exposed in the authoring pane of the console, then simple tools like this would not be needed. I see a time and place for these tools, they fit well with a certain percentage of the customer base. Anyone who needs to do ANYTHING beyond these simple MP structures, should be using VSAE, I agree.

  • Nice tool Kevin. I did try it myself and crashed on me when during initial Registry Discovery steps. I see your point on having a basic tool for basic MP authoring but I think Visio MP Designer does a better job, it can also be used as a start up point for initial class, discovery and relationship scripts and them use VSAE to create everything else.

  • If you have access to the Internet, you have access to visual studio. The shell is a free download - is not necessary to purchase the full app to use vsae.

  • This is awesome. Thank you again Kevin!

  • @Jonathan, have you actually done this with VS Express? VSAE requires VS12/13 Pro or Ultimate.

  • @Bill - VSAE does not require Pro or Ultimate. Just download the free Visual Studio Integrated Shell, and you're good to go. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30663

  • Hi All,<br/>On what Jonathan was saying, I can verify that by using the Visio Studio Integrated Shell works.

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