Stefan Stranger's Weblog - Manage your IT Infrastructure

"People are strange when you're a stranger" (The Doors) Link to my personal Lifestream

October, 2009

  • Interoperability: Monitor your Unix and Linux Servers with OpsMgr 2007 R2

    Today I created a video demonstrating monitoring your Unix and Linux servers with OpsMgr 2007 R2 for the Dutch LinuxWorld expo next week. I created this video so I can also have a moment to look around at the LinuxWorld Expo ;-) It’s part of a rolling presentation so I didn’t added any sound to it, but I thought it would be nice to upload the video anyway.

    In the video you can see that I’m monitoring two Linux servers, one Redhat and one Suse Novell machine in my demo environment. To demo the health of the Suse server I stopped the powersaved service on the machine and with the help of a geographical map created with the latest version of Savision Live Maps you can see that the Suse server is going from healthy to unhealthy and to healthy again after restarting the service.


    See you at the LinuxWorld expo next week!

  • New version of Savision Live Maps for Operations Manager R2

    I just downloaded and installed the latest version of Savision Live Maps in my demo environment and started creating a new List View for my Linux servers.


    The new release of Live Maps 4.1 for Operations Manager R2 contains, besides some fixes and performance improvements, a number of new features that have been added based on customer feedback. Some of the new features are highlighted in this article, a complete overview can be found in the release notes. You can read more about the new features on their weblog.

    The new release can be downloaded here.

    You may ask why are you creating a List View for your Linux Servers? I’m preparing a demo for next week’s Dutch LinuxWorld event in Utrecht. You can visit us at booth D072 of our partner Ictivity. You can also take a look at the website [Dutch]

  • Public Beta OpenUMR - Cross Monitoring Integrator available

    Today I got a friendly email from Markus Schneider about the general availability of OpenUMR on CodePlex. I was interested in this project but it was not open for public yet. But now it is and it looks very cool.

    OpenUMR (Open Universal Message Receiver)
    OpenUMR offers the capability to integrate agentless all kinds of monitoring solutions into Operations Manager 2007 R2 in a very easy way.
    A cross-platform script interface gives the flexibility to discover monitoring objects and to send event/performance data from remote.

    Basic Idea
    The basic idea behind OpenUMR is to combine the power of Open Source with the strength of Operations Manager 2007 R2. Open Source
    gives us the flexibility we need to handle the complexity that is caused by the individual needs of an enterprise IT environment.

    Life means diversity! - So we think the most efficient way to build up an effective enterprise Monitoring is to integrate existing System
    Management solutions instead of replacing them. In our opinion that's the most practical and successful approach. With OpenUMR we want
    to develop a powerful interface that makes it easy for you to create a "Focal Point of IT-Control" with Operations Manager 2007 R2
    especially for non Windows-Components.

    Our wish is that OpenUMR grows by a strong community that improves the code, creates a lot of different management packs and event
    message senders (OpenUMS) in all kinds of languages (Perl, Ruby, Python, PHP, PowerShell, Groovy etc...)

    Please, never forget - OpenUMR is only one more way to do things.

    10 Good reasons for using OpenUMR

    •  Native Integration
    •  Decentral Administration
    •  Remote Discovery
    •  Event/Alert Management
    •  Performance Data Collection
    •  High Availability
    •  Agentless Architecture
    •  Fast and Simple
    •  Open Source Free of Charge

    So take an look and let Markus know what you think about this new cool project.

  • OpsMgr Crossplatform Logging on the Unix Agent

    I’m currently busy with learning more about Crossplatform monitoring with OpsMgr 2007 R2 and stumbled on Logging on the Unix Agent for troubleshooting issues. As you may know on the Linux agent you can troubleshoot, manage and manually control the agent by using the scxadmin tool.

    /opt/microsoft/scx/bin/tools/scxadmin -stop [all|cimom|provider]
    /opt/microsoft/scx/bin/tools/scxadmin -start [all|cimom|provider
    /opt/microsoft/scx/bin/tools/scxadmin -restart [all|cimom|provider]

    You can view the running status by executing:
    /opt/microsoft/scx/bin/tools/scxadmin -status [all|cimom|provider]


    And you can view the agent version by executing:
    /opt/microsoft/scx/bin/tools/scxadmin –version


    You can enable debug level logging on all 3 components - wsman, cimom (openPegasus) and the providers. The following command creates the necessary entries in the agent configuration for logging:
    /opt/microsoft/scx/bin/tools/scxadmin -log-set [all|cimom|provider] {verbose | intermediate | errors}

    The following logs are created in /var/opt/microsoft/scx/log:

    • scx.log
    • scxcimd.log
    • cimserver.trc
    • cimserver.trc.SCXCoreProviderModule.root



    The initial Linux Logging setting shows this:


    As you can see no logging is currently configured.

    When we change the logging level to verbose for all components the logging level changes to TraceLevel 4.


    Let’s have a look at the log files first to see what’s happening now.


    You can see the log file size is growing fast ;-)

    Ok, after you have found what you are looking for you want to stop the Linux Agent logging. But how do you stop the Linux Agent Logging?

    According to the scxadmin  --help you can stop the logging with the next commando: scxadmin –log-reset


    Let’s run that command now and check the new settings.


    Huh? Even though we did a –log-reset according to the –log-list the traceLevel is still 1.

    If we look at the log files for info if there is still logging going on we see that no logging is taking place after the –log-reset. The reason why the –log-list command still shows a tracelevel of 1 is due to explicit config files (/etc/opt/microsoft/scx/conf/cimserver_current.conf). So you can ignore the tracelevel=1 in the –log-list of scxadmin after enabling and resetting logging on a Linux Agent.


    Have fun with OpsMgr and Crossplatform monitoring.

  • OpsMgr can monitor everything: The Coretech Coffee Monitor Management Pack –

    How cool is this? Coretech has created a coffee monitor MP.

    This management packs can be used to keep track of the level of coffee in left in the pot.

    With this management pack, you will never run dry of, what we all know, is the most important part of a productive environment!

    This is mostly made as a proof of concept, as this technique can be transferred to other monitor types. It could be expanded with other types of sensors, like a weight to check the level of coffee instead of a camera, or a thermometer to check the temperature of the coffee.

    This is the very first version. It has been tested in test environments.

    By default, it will trigger a warning when under 50% is left, and a Critical Alert when under 20% is left.

    Please do not hesitate to report any bugs and please send suggestions for the next version you might have.

    This was developed by Jakob Gottlieb Svendsen with the help of Kåre Rude Andersen

    Guys great work!

    Loving it.

  • Online documentation on Authoring in Operations Manager 2007 R2

    Now the System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Authoring Resource Kit has been released you may want to know more about Authoring in OpsMgr 2007 R2.

    Did you know you can find all that info on Microsoft TechNet?


    Check them out!

  • System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Authoring Resource Kit

    The System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Authoring Resource Kit is now available for download on Microsoft Download Center.



    The System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Resource Kit will install the Authoring console, which aids customers in creating and modifying operations management packs (MPs). Optionally, eight tools designed to help improve the MP authoring experience will also be included: the MP Best Practice Analyzer; MP Spell Checker; Visio MP Diagram Generator; Cookdown Analyzer; All References Addin; MP Diff; Workflow Analyzer; and Workflow Simulator.

    Feature Summary
    The System Center Operation Manager 2007 Authoring Resource Kit provides the following features to aid in management pack (MP) development and customization:

    • Authoring Console - Develop MPs within a GUI environment.
    • Management Pack Best Practice Analyzer (MPBPA)
      • MPBPA scans management packs for best practice compliance and provides automated resolution for numerous issues. This tool integrates with the Authoring Console.
    • Management Pack Spell Checker (MP Spell Checker)
      • MP Spell Checker checks spelling in management packs to eliminate errors in display strings.
    • Management Pack Visio Generator (MP Visio Generator)
      • MP Visio Generator allows you to generate a class inheritance and class relationship diagram using Microsoft Office Visio.
    • Management Pack Diff (MP Diff)
      • MP Diff shows the differences between two management packs.
    • Management Pack Cookdown Analyzer (MP Cookdown Analyzer)
      • MP Cookdown Analyzer identifies workflows which may break cookdown. Suggestions are provided for how to fix the performance problems.
    • All References Add-in
      • All References Add-in helps find all management pack elements that reference the specific element chosen. For example, the ability to right click a class and find all rules, monitors, overrides, as well as anything else that targets that class is provided. This tool works on most management pack elements.
    • Workflow Analyzer
      • The Workflow Analyzer provides the ability to statically analyze all types of workflows. It also allows users to trace workflows running on any Health Service.
    • Workflow Simulator
      • The Workflow Simulator provides the ability to test certain types of workflows such as discoveries, rules, and monitors without a Management Server and Management Group. Key functionality includes the ability to test workflows as well as view and validate output prior to signing and importing the MP into a Management Group for additional testing.
    • Management Packs
      • Three management packs which are frequently used as dependencies are provided as part of the tools installation. These MPs are necessary to allow the Authoring Console to open most MPs available online in the System Center Operations Manager MP Catalog. The provided MPs are:
        • Microsoft.SystemCenter.DataWarehouse.Report.Library
        • Microsoft.SystemCenter.InstanceGroup.Library
        • Microsoft.SystemCenter.ServiceDesigner.Library
  • Finding MP for Monitor with PowerShell

    Today I needed to find the Management Pack for a certain Monitor using PowerShell. And it took me quite some time to find the correct info. Not sure if this was due to my search queries on Bing and that other one though;-)

    But if you are looking for a way to find the MP for a certain Monitor this is the way I used.

    $mp = (get-monitor | where {$_.Name -match "Name.Monitor"}).getmanagementpack()

    Have fun using PowerShell.

    BTW You also should take a look at PowerBoots. PowerBoots makes it easier for scripters to create graphical user interfaces in PowerShell, exposing much of the power of WPF to PowerShell in a simple syntax which supports events, threading, and much, much, more.

  • Microsoft Hyper-V Integration Components source code has made it to the Linux kernel tree

    Source: Matthijs’s blog

    The Integration Components for Hyper-V made it to the Linux Kernel tree. This means any Linux distribution can compile these and leverage the components for optimal performance running on Hyper-V!

    Read more on source.

  • Securing OpsMgr Reports in OpsMgr 2007 SP1

    Today I got a question about retrieving the GUID for a newly created OpsMgr  Report Operator User Role in OpsMgr 2007 SP1.

    When I asked why they wanted to know the GUID for this new Report Operator User Role they answered they needed this GUID on the Report Server for configuring permissions to certain reports.

    There used to be a Securing Reports pdf on the System Center Forum website but I cannot find it anywhere else anymore. So I’m not sure if this describes all the steps to Secure an OpsMgr Report in OpsMgr 2007 SP1 so I though it would be handy to publish the steps here if you are looking for them.

    Back to the original question about retrieving the GUID for a Report Operator Role. The easiest way is using PowerShell. I used the next command to retrieve the GUID:

    Get-Userrole | where {$_.Name –match “Test Report Operator Role”}


    Get-Userrole | format-List Name, ID

    Here are all the steps to Secure an OpsMgr Report for a newly created Report Operator Role:

    1. Create a Report :-)

    2. Create new Report User Role using PowerShell

    So here is a script to create a new Report Operator user role using Command Shell:

    $mg = (get-item .).ManagementGroup
    $reportOperator = $mg.GetMonitoringProfiles() | where {$_.Name -eq "ReportOperator"}
    $obj = new-object Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Monitoring.Security.MonitoringUserRole

    $obj.Name = "TestReportOperatorRole"
    $obj.DisplayName = "Test Report Operator Role"
    $obj.Description = "Test Report Operator Role"
    $obj.MonitoringProfile = $reportOperator


    After you execute this script “Test Report Operator Role” appears in UI and you would be able to add users to it using User Role Properties dialog.


    3. Go to Report Server (http://servername/reports)

    4. Click on Show Details from the Report you want to configure access to.

    5. Click on Edit

    6. Click on Security

    7. Click on New Role Assignment

    8. Insert GUID from New Report Operator Role.
    GUID can be found using the next PS command:
    get-userrole | where {$_.Name –match “Test Report Operator Role”}

  • Updated IPD guide for System Center Operations Manager


    There is an updated version of the Infrastructure Planning and Design Guide for OpsMgr and Windows Deployment Services.

    The Infrastructure Planning and Design Guide for Microsoft® System Center Operations Manager outlines the critical infrastructure design elements that are crucial to a successful implementation of Microsoft System Center Operations Manager. The guide takes the reader step-by-step through the process of designing components, layout, and connectivity in a logical, sequential order. Identification and design of the required management groups is presented in simple, easy-to-follow steps, helping the reader to design and optimize management infrastructure.

    Download the IPD Guides for Windows Deployment Services and System Center Operations Manager at

    Infrastructure Planning and Design streamlines the planning process by:

    • Defining the technical decision flow through the planning process.
    • Listing the decisions to be made and the commonly available options and considerations.
    • Relating the decisions and options to the business in terms of cost, complexity, and other characteristics.
    • Framing decisions in terms of additional questions to the business to ensure a comprehensive alignment with the appropriate business landscape.
  • Adding Report Details to your Custom OpsMgr Report

    So you finally created that super cool custom report in OpsMgr and you want to add all the info necessary to run the report correctly. But how do you do that?

    If you use the MP Authoring Tool you have the option to add a Description.


    If you open the MP xml file you can see the above Description is added to the DisplayStrings section of the MP.


    This is the Result:


    To do more advanced stuff you need to add a KnowledgeArticles section to your XML.



    So if you add the next section to the KnowledgeArticles Section:

    <KnowledgeArticle ElementID="My.Custom.Reporting.Report" Visible="true">
                <maml:section xmlns:maml="">
                    <maml:ui>How does this report work?</maml:ui>
                  <maml:para>This report shows the next items:</maml:para>
                      <maml:para>Item 1</maml:para>
                  <maml:para />
                  <maml:para>The report finds data if the objects supplied are of type</maml:para>
                  <maml:para>Exampe type</maml:para>
                  <maml:para>Search for objects on blabla</maml:para>
                  <maml:para />
                  <maml:para>The report displays for every selected object a separate chart. Data is aggregated to days of a month.</maml:para>
                    <maml:ui>How to use this report?</maml:ui>
                  <maml:para>When run from the Reporting space:</maml:para>
                  <maml:para>The second column in the search results shows of which type the displayed objects are. Make sure you select objects of type blabla.</maml:para>
                  <maml:para />
                  <maml:para>When run from the Monitoring space:</maml:para>
                  <maml:para>Create a state view or performance view by choosing the blabla type.</maml:para>
                  <maml:para />
                    <maml:ui>What Parameters are offered?</maml:ui>
                  <maml:para>Date/Time selection: Allows selecting a relative or fixed date and time range and time zone.</maml:para>
                  <maml:para>Object: Allows adding objects to run this report for</maml:para>
                  <maml:para />


    This will be the result in the OpsMgr Console Report Description: