Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Spend your money Wisely

August 9, 2015 Leave a comment

This post is to support my friend and fellow MVP Tao Yang. The text below is written by him and I fully support it. Review it and feel free to comment below. Also make sure to subscribe to his blog, as he has been busier than a one legged man in an.. well you know what I mean.


Spend Your Money Wisely

spending_thumb As what I’d like to consider myself as – a seasoned System Center specialist, I have benefitted from many awesome resources from the community during my career in System Center. These resources consist of blogs, whitepapers, training videos, management packs and various tools and utilities. Although some of them are not free (and in my opinion, they are not free for a good reason), but large percentage of these resources I value the most are all free of charge.

This is what I like the most about the System Center community. Over the last few years, I got to know many unselfish people and organizations in the System Center space, who have made their valuable work completely free and open source for the broader community. Due to what I am going to talk about in this post, I am not going to mention any names in this post (unless I absolutely have to) . But if anyone is interested t know my opinion, I’m happy to write a separate post introducing what I believe are valuable resources.

First of all, I’m just going to put it out there, I am not upset, and this is not going to be a rant and I’m trying to stay positive.

I started working on System Center around 2007-2008 (ConfigMgr and OpsMgr at that time) . I started working on OpsMgr because my then colleague and now fellow SCCDM MVP (like I mentioned, not going to mention names) has left the company we were working for and I had to pick up the MOM 2005 to OpsMgr 2007 project he left behind. The very first task for me was to figure out a way to pass the server’s NetBIOS name to the help desk ticketing system and I managed to achieve this by creating a PowerShell script and utilised the command notification channel to execute the script when alerts were raised. I then used the same concept and developed a PowerShell script to be used in the command notification to send content rich notification emails which covered many information not available from native email notification channel.

When I started blogging 5 years ago, this script was one of the very first posts I published here. I named this solution “Enhanced SCOM Alert Notification Emails”. Since it was published, it has received many positive feedbacks and recommendations. I have since published the updated version (2.0) here:

After version 2.0 was published, a fellow member in the System Center community, Mr. Tyson Paul has contacted me, told me he has updated my script. I was really happy to see my work got carried on by other members in the community and since then, Tyson has already made several updates to this script and published it on his blog (for free of course):

Version 2.1:

Version 2.2:

This morning, I have received an email from a person I have never heard of. This person told me his organization has developed a commercial solution called “Enhanced Notification Service for SCOM” and I can request a NFR by filling out a form from his website. As the name suggests (and I had a look on the website), it does exactly what mine and Tyson’s script does – sending HTML based notification emails which include content rich information including associated knowledge articles.

Well, to be fair, on their website, they did mention a limitation of running command notifications that you have a AsyncProcessLimit of 5. But, there is a way to increase this limit and if your environment is still hitting the limit after you’ve increased it, I believe you have a more serious issue to fix (i.e. alert storm) rather than enjoying reading those “sexy” notification emails. Anyways, I don’t want to get into technical argument here, it’s not the intention of this post.

So, do I think someone took my idea and work from Tyson and myself? It is pretty obvious, make your own judgement. Am I upset? not really. If I want to make a profit from this solution, I wouldn’t have published out on my blog in the first place. And believe me, there are many solutions and proof-of-concepts I have developed in the past that I sincerely hope some software vendors can pickup and develop a commercial solution for the community – simply I don’t have the time and resources to do all these by myself (i.e. my recently published post on managing ConfigMgr log files using OMS would be a good commercial solution).

In the past, I have also seen people took scripts I published on my blog, replaced my name with theirs from the comment section and published it on social media without mentioning me whatsoever. I knew it was my script because other comments in the script are identical to my initial version. When I saw it, I have decided not to let these kind behavior get under my skin, and I believe the best way to handle it is to let it go. So, I am not upset when I read this email today. Instead, I laughed! Hey, if this organization can make people to pay $2 per OpsMgr agent per year (which means for a fully loaded OpsMgr management group would cost $30k per year for “sexy” notification emails), all I’m going to say is:


However, I do want to advise the broader System Center community: Please spend your money wisely!

There is only so much honey in the pot. You all have a budget. This is what the economist would call Opportunity Cost. If you have a certain needs or requirement and you can satisfy your requirement using free solutions, you can spend your budget on something that has a higher Price-Performance Ratio. If you think there’s a gap between the free and paid solution, please ask your self these questions:

  • Are these gaps really cost me this much?
  • Are there any ways to overcome this gap?
  • Have I reached out the the SMEs and confirm if this is a reasonable price?
  • How much would it cost me if I develop an in-house solution?

Lastly, I receive many emails from people in the community asking me for advise, and providing feedback to the tools I have published. I am trying my best to make sure I answer all the emails (and apologies if I have missed). So if you have any doubts in the future that you’d like to know my opinion, please feel free to contact me. And I am certain, not only myself, but other SMEs and activists in the System Center community would also love to help a fellow community member.

Categories: Uncategorized

MS Ignite 2015 Announcements

Like many IT Professionals this week, I was not at the MS Ignite. Like many of you have heard some of the many announcements, and I wanted to share a few of the System Center and Server related announcements.

Office 2016 Preview

Windows 10 Preview ISO Download (I almost forgot this one)

Now Available – System Center 2016 Technical Preview 2

Once you have signed up for the technical preview 2 for system center the download of all the iso’s will begin.

Microsoft Operations Management Suite

If your looking for the future direction of SCOM, a fellow MVP Kevin Greene @kgreeneit tweeted from MS Ignite this week, pay attention to Operations Management Suite.

Overview of Microsoft Operations Management Suite

Microsoft Operations Management Suite (MOMS) Solutions

Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2

Microsoft Announces Nano Server for Modern Apps and Cloud

Getting Started with Nano Server

These are just some of the many many items that happened this week at MS Ignite. It really looks like Microsoft has been bringing their A game. Let us see if they can follow thru.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

MP Author – how to add a Reference

I was asked the question today, how to add a Reference MP in MP Author. As I had not done much MP Authoring using MP Author, I had not yet done this specific task yet but it was easy enough to find.

Why would you want to add a reference MP to an MP you are authoring? One reason would be to utilize any Classes that were made marked as Public. So say if you wanted to utilize the SQL Database Class, because you need to author a special monitor for all SQL Databases, just add a reference in your Management Pack to the (the same version you are using in your production SCOM Management Group) to be able to target a new monitor in your management pack to the SQL Database Class.

To add a reference MP, first copy the sealed MP file to the following folder (if you did a default install of the MP Author tool) C:\Program Files\Silect\MP Author\ManagementPacks

There are actually two ways adding a reference MP could be done.

1. When creating the MP, in the Add Wizard screen click the Add Optional References button, and select the MP from the list, then click ok.



2. Once the MP is open in MP Author, right click the MP Name under MP Contents, then select Add Reference option, and then select the MP you would like to reference from the list then click ok.

I’ll write up more small tidbits from MP Author as I use the application. For now enjoy!

Categories: Uncategorized

One module to rule them all – a custom #scom managed module #sysctr

July 13, 2014 Leave a comment


Quae Nocent Docent

One module to rule them all – a custom #scom managed module

During many years of MP development I faced cases where I would have loved the chance to pass a complete DataItem to a powershell module. There are many real world cases when you’d want to do that:

You want to leverage the native OLEDB provider and you want to correlate multiple returned rows

You need to use internal data sources that do not return property bags, but rather custom DataItems (for example the Microsoft.SystemCenter.GetWorkflowsReportProbe that can be used to query the agent for running and failed workflows)

you need to take care of an entire walk from the standard SNMP modules and add logic to create your own data

You don’t know how many properties the DataItem has in its payload and you want dynamically process them all

Today this is not possible for…

View original post 1,117 more words

Categories: Uncategorized

OpsMgr Administration 101

Links from today’s presentation about OpsMgr Administration 101.

Hot Fixes for both Application and OS. Great blog article on this topic provided by Kevin Holman. Kevin does continue to update this page as new hot fixes are released.

It is critical for a new SCOM Admin to understand that there are hot fixes needed for the SCOM Application as well as special OS level hot fixes that are needed after the agent has been deployed. It is best to deploy these hot fixes before deploying OpsMgr agents or infrastructure, b/c these hot fixes also apply to the SCOM infrastructure boxes.

OpsMgr Tools

Boris’s OpsMgr Tools – Updated (MP Viewer)

Stefan Stranger’s System Center Operations Manager 2012 Toolbox

MP Authoring Tools

SCC Health Check MP Version 2 (Create new data source before importing the MP in SQL SRS see readme file)

MP Wiki (MP Diagrams and downloads)


OpsMgr DBs

Use the OpsMgr planning excel file (see Stefan’s link above to download this file) to help calculate the OpsMgr DB sizes, and create the DBs to the Sizes’ requirements. The reason to do this is to avoid the SQL adding space to your database which will fragment your database as well as cause I/O overhead while the Database file is grown. Why would this be bad? OpsMgr is a very database I/O intensive application. Why add more overhead to SQL when you do not need to?

There should be at least 40% free space in the Operations Manager database.  Every night at 2 am a job runs to re-index certain tables. In order for this to run optimally and not fill up the database there should be at least 40%.

OpsMgr Reports from SCC Health Check Version 2!

I would suggest at a minimum having the following reports sent to your inbox on a daily basis and keep them in a folder to compare month to month changes in these metrics. Each of these reports can help trouble shoot possible issues in the future, i.e. after implementing a MP State Changes per day increases by 5000.

State – Noisiest Monitors (OM)
State – State Changes Per Day (OM)

Config Churn – Discoveries Last 24 Hours (DW)

Performance – Performance Inserts Per Day (OM)
Performance – Top 20 Performance Insertions By Perf (OM)

Events – All Events Count By Last 7 Days (OM)
Events – Top 20 Computers Generating the Most Events (OM)

Misc – Operational and Datawarehouse Usage Report (OM) – (DW)

Alerts – Number of Alerts per Day (OM)
Alerts – Top 20 Alerts By Alert Count (OM)


Alerts you can close

All alerts are not created equally. The only alerts that should be closed in the console are alerts generated by a Rule.

Alerts generated by a monitor should have the health of the monitor reset.


Configure System Center Advisor

Categories: Uncategorized

Microsoft Virtual Academy Training Jan 2014!

January 7, 2014 Leave a comment

Some virtual Academy training from Microsoft for their on demand series:

Jump Start on-demand as a group of Microsoft experts show you how to take the journey to the cloud one step at a time, using SQL Server 2014. View here –>

Learn about the advances in security for Windows 8.1 in this new on-demand course –>

We’ve got two more new courses for Windows Server 2012 R2! One on Virtualization, and one called What’s new in VDI for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1. Find these and all the great free on-demand courses we have on this technology right here:

SharePoint Server developers, want to enhance your SharePoint Server application? Watch this on-demand Jump Start –>

Here are some virtual Academy Training from Microsoft that will be available later in January 2014.

HTML and XAML developers: On January 21, build on your core skills, and take advantage of awesome new features in Windows 8.1. It’s going to be fun! Register here:

Tune in to MVA January 23 for a live deep dive on the free Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT) –>

Windows Azure Week is January 27-31! Get your questions answered by the people developing the platform, and get ready to move your existing applications to the cloud. Register here –>

IT Pros – January 30 is Hybrid Cloud Day – a free online deep dive into integrating Windows Azure into your infrastructure. Join us to see the real-world examples on Windows Azure Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and much more! Register here –>

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

SCOM 2012 cmdlet: Export-SCOMEffectiveMonitoringConfiguration

October 6, 2013 1 comment

I had a few minutes this weekend and finally got to mess around with this cmdlet. I had been meaning too for a long time. The help example has a problem with the second line of the example. Feel free to use the example below. This cmdlet is a nice start to figuring out what is being monitored on a OpsMgr agent but still leaves much to be desired, like what thresholds are there etc.

First thing to do before using this cmdlet is to assign a Variable like what is done with $Members below to a group of computers that we fetch the GetRelatedMonitoringObjects. Once that is done take the $Members variable and pipe it to a for each loop that then sends the objects to the cmdlet Export-SCOMEffectiveMonitoringConfiguration which then outputs the configuration information into cvs files, whose names are variables from the display name of the objects were getting the configuration information for. Both lines below should be one line wrapped in the OpsMgr cmdShell.

$members = (Get-SCOMGroup -DisplayName "All Windows Computers").GetRelatedMonitoringObjects()


$members | foreach { Export-SCOMEffectiveMonitoringConfiguration -Instance $_ -Path "D:\temp2\$($_.DisplayName).
csv" -RecurseContainedObjects }



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