· A single, consistent view across datacenters and clouds with an option for customizable dashboard templates;
· AVIcode technology for monitoring .NET applications;
· Support for monitoring heterogeneous environments including Windows, Linux, and UNIX servers;
· Integrated network device monitoring and alerts;
· A simplified management structure with support for automatic failover.
Eager system administrators and bloggers are wasting little time testing these new features looking for the soft spots. One such tester expressed some disappointment that the latest release doesn’t feel significantly different from SCOM 2007. “I had expected an updated console and vastly improved notifications management, but as far as I can see, a lot of the code is the same,” said Trond Hindenes, a senior consultant at AVAN in Norway. “This upgrade might not as be as ‘no-brainer’ as I had hoped.”
Still, Hindenes notes some positive updates to SCOM 2012, including the addition of deep monitoring of .NET-based Web applications thanks to Microsoft’s acquisition of AVIcode. In a recent post for GotchaHunterAlex Shlega writes that while deployment of.NET monitoring is now easier, the limited server-side configuration options make “application deep-dive troubleshooting” a difficult proposal. In response, Daniele Muscetta of Microsoft tweeted that more options will be visible in the RC version.
Another significant change in SCOM 2012 is there is no longer a root management server like there was in Operations Manager 2007. Instead, all servers are peers. Hindenes suggests this will mean better scalability, enabling “easier high-availability configuration without configuring Windows clustering for the SCOM infrastructure.” Microsoft MVP Graham Davies offers more background on the change on the SystemCenterSolutions.com blog.
The management server change is one of several “little things that make [SCOM 2012] more scalable and reliable,” Davies noted in a recent phone interview. Still, while features like new dashboards, network device monitoring and the ability to monitor non-Windows environments are welcome, “they don’t make for a revolutionary release like the jump from MOM 2005 to SCOM 2007,” Davies said, warning that companies with legacy systems must be careful when planning for such a transition, as it is important to ensure that their existing environments meet the new supported configurations. For example, “there are over 80 new PowerShell cmdlets, so while existing scripts will work on SCOM 2012, enterprises might want to upgrade them to gain the new functionality. Additionally, there is no support for Windows 2000 agents and the integrated AVIcode (now APM) monitoring only supports web applications on IIS7.”
SCOM 2012 may look significantly different in its final form (RTM is estimated for the latter half of 2012), and we’ll plan to post updates as that release becomes more clear.
Let us know what you think about this story; email Ben Rubenstein at email@example.com.]]>
The move is similar to the Opalis acquisition back in December in that AVIcode will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft with its software being delivered under the System Center umbrella. And as with Opalis, the latest move is cloud-motivated.
“Over the last year, as we have been moving more and more of our solutions to be delivered as a service (SaaS) as well as bring Windows Azure (PaaS) online, we have seen the need to extend our monitoring capabilities,” said Brad Anderson, Microsoft CVP (Management and Security Division), in a company blog post. “As more and more applications move to run from the cloud, organizations will want to have access to the capabilities that AVIcode delivers — enabling organizations to get a much deeper understanding of the actual end-user experience,” he added.
AVIcode’s product line already includes management packs for Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 and System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) 2007. The solutions offer a number of monitoring features, including application diagnostic reports and graphical topologies of monitored systems. The software also extends Operations Manager’s .NET app monitoring capabilities to include any .NET code, such as .exe or .dll. AVIcode also provides BizTalk, SharePoint and Reporting Services management packs for Operations Manager 2007.
Anderson said that Microsoft has actually been using AVIcode solutions with SCOM to monitor services running in its own data centers for years, noting the company’s XBOX Live service as an example. The key phrase repeated by both Anderson and AVIcode CEO Mike Curreri in regards to the acquisition was the need for “360-degree visibility” of services, which I guess means pretty much everything.
When it comes to making new AVIcode purchases, Microsoft has yet to announce how pricing and licensing will change (if at all) in the short-term, though all current customer commitments will be honored. Anderson said the company will begin to integrate the AVIcode software directly with Microsoft products over time, per usual.
This is the first major acquisition announced by Microsoft this year. As paidContent.org reported recently, the company has admitted to at least 15 other minor acquisitions in 2010 thus far, even if no one heard about them.
For more information on Microsoft System Center, visit SearchWindowsServer.com.]]>
Most of the attendees I spoke with found the cloud talk to be extremely interesting, even if they are a ways away from actually implementing it themselves. One developer I spoke with who has played around with Windows Azure seemed especially pleased with the path Microsoft was on with System Center, saying “Azure is cool, but it’s really just a technology. It’s how you manage it – that’s where the really good stuff is.”
Cooper said the key to really reaping the cost benefits of cloud computing requires a great amount of vision. He added that anyone considering a move to the cloud should actually have a “visoneering team” on hand to plan things out, stay on top of the latest technologies and figure out how they will work best for the organization. “Visioneering is kind of my word, so make sure you credit me for that,” he said with a smile. No problem Mr. Cooper, consider yourself credited!
I sat down with Robert Reynolds, Microsoft director of product planning for System Center, to get the details on what’s new with all these releases and more (including VMM 2008 R2 and how the Opalis acquisition fits into everything). He also talks a good deal about Microsoft’s overall cloud strategy, echoing much of what Muglia talked about during his keynote.
For more information on Microsoft System Center and other systems management products, visit SearchWindowsServer.com.]]>
As one analyst put it, lack of interoperability has been one of the most common criticisms of System Center. It looks like Microsoft has finally resolved this by including native Linux and Unix support to the RC for Operations Manager 2007 R2, which was released this week.
It appears the beta for the long-awaited System Center Service Manager product will be out by the fall. The big news here involves the Service Manager portal, with was removed from beta 1 but seems to be back and better than ever this time around. According to a post from Microsoft Program Manager Dan Boldo, the company has spent the last few months rebuilding the portal “from the ground up”, and the second beta will include the ability to view global anouncements, create and view service requests and reset passwords via Identity Lifecycle Manager, among other things.
This one comes from Information Week. During his keynote, Brad Anderson, general manager of Microsoft’s Management and Services Division, announced the development of System Center Online Desktop Manager. The tool is being desinged to integrate security and management in a way that will provide desktop management in the form of a service. A CTP will be available within 60 days, with a public beta due out before the end of the year. Once people start playing around with this I’ll post again with the initial reactions.
Pete is an MVP and founder of both System Center Forum and the System Center User Group, so needless to say, he knows a thing or two about Operations Manager. Despite being in Scotland for business, Pete was kind enough to speak with me a few weeks ago about AD Integration and what it means to admins.
It’s a short interview, but definitely worth checking out for those who work in SCOM-based environments. Here is a little sample of what Pete had to say about the feature:
“What this feature does is allow us to fully automate agent deployment for Operations Manager-based environments. So part of what is baked into the Operations Manager agent is that as the agent is started up, it will actually query it’s local Active Directory domain to see if configuration information has been published for an Operations Manager management group.”
According to Pete, AD Integration is designed to not only minimize administrative effort (hooray!), but reduce TCO as well, with large enterprises standing to benefit the most.
I’ll be adding more posts on what to expect at MMS and Tech-Ed this year as we get closer to both events, but if there is anything in particular that you’d like to know about, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can dig up.]]>