Now we’re gonna make things even faster! In the previous post on the subject of Agent Fail-over in Operations Manager 2012 we created a script that will go through a selection of agents and make sure that they all have up-to-date fail-over settings. We are doing the same thing in this one, but making it go faster. In my lab, it’s about five times faster in fact and I only have about 20 agents to play with. Not really a big deal, but scale it up a bit and add a few thousand agents and the pay-off will be very significant. As usual, the script will work as is, but it really is more to show the concept. You would have to add filtering to make sure you don’t mix agents behind gateway servers and agents behind management servers. Giving an agent behind a gateway a management servers as it’s fail-over server will likely not help you in any way. We will pretty quickly go “advanced” this time, so buckle up. ;) Being a slight modification of the script in the last post I am not going to go through those details. Use that post if you need references to the Inputs, the OpsMgr 2012 Modules, Management Group connection and gathering your agents and management servers. Why Is It Faster?We are doing the same thing, on the same agents and with the same servers. And we already did some optimization by loading them all into memory and working from there. How do you make it faster? Basically, I’m cutting the over-head of the cmdlets and how they work. You may have noticed that in the “Do Stuff” section, we are actually calling the Set-SCOMParentManagementServer cmdlet twice! Once for the primary Management Server and once for the fail-over Management Servers. In effect, we connect, fire a command, wait for result, and disconnect two times for each agent. And pretty much only because the cmdlet does not offer support to set primary and fail-over management servers at the same time. Any attempt to do so will return an ambiguous parameter error. I don’t like that. A brief look at the agent object class, Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Administration.AgentManagedComputer, revealed a method called SetManagementServers. This method takes, or actually “requires”, two parameters. One for primary and one for fail-over management servers. Yay! Using this method saves us a bunch of over-head and a couple of round-trips to the SDK-service. The Challenge
In the last post, OpsMgr 2012 Agent & Gateway Failover – The Basics, we looked at the basics of the Agent and Gateway fail-over configuration cmdlets and how to use them in a direct and interactive setting. This is absolutely useful when you got this specific agent that you need to configure with a specific fail-over management server. To spice it up a little, we are going to add a little intelligence to it and enable wild-card selections while at it. The scenario we are building this script for is that now and then you want to make sure that certain agents have fail-over management servers configured. You also want to make sure that all management servers that are not the primary management server of any selected agent will be in that list of fail-over servers. This would include any new management servers as well as exclude any removed ones. In short, make sure your agent fail-over settings are up-to-date with the current environment. InputsTo use this script you need to know which management server you should connect your powershell session to and which agent, or agents, you want to check and configure. [powershell] Input SCOM Management Server to connect to in this session[string]$inputScomMS = “scomms01.domain.local” Input an existing agent you want to modify[string]$inputTargetAgent = “*.domain.local”
The menus are looking a bit off as you may have noticed. I guess it’s an issue with WordPress 3.4 and Superfish and are trying to figure out where it goes haywire. Sorry for the inconvenience. UpdateI switched the theme to at least get the navigation working while I try to figure out what the problem with the regular theme is.
I have previously posted a few scripts on managing and configuring fail-over management servers on gateways and agents in System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2. Now that System Center 2012 Operations Manager is RTM and users are starting to explore the differences between the versions I see more and more questions on how you do, in OpsMgr 2012, what you did in OpsMgr 2007. In a few posts henceforth I will go through Agent and Gateway server fail-over configuration and management. In this first post I’ll look at the very basics of fail-over configuration, the cmdlets to use and some one-liners. The cmdletFirst of all, the cmdlets of OpsMgr powershell have all got new names looking like Verb-SCOMnoun and to list them all in the console you can execute the following command: [powershell]get-command SCOM[/powershell] The cmdlet we are looking for to set and manage primary and fail-over management servers is [powershell]Get-SCOMParentManagementServer[/powershell] As usual, you can pass the cmdlet as a parameter to get-help for information about its parameters and a few use-cases. SYNOPSIS Changes the primary and failover management servers for an agent or gateway management server. SYNTAX Set-SCOMParentManagementServer -Agent -PrimaryServer [-PassThru ] [-Confirm ] [-WhatIf ]  Set-SCOMParentManagementServer -Agent -FailoverServer [-PassThru ] [-Confirm ] [-WhatIf ]  Set-SCOMParentManagementServer -GatewayServer -FailoverServer [-PassThru ] [-Confirm ] [-WhatIf ]  Set-SCOMParentManagementServer -GatewayServer -PrimaryServer [-PassThru] [-Confirm] [-WhatIf] But that’s so boring to read the manual is a bit sketchy on how it behaves and the limitations.
PreludeNow that System Center Operations Manager no longer has that pesky Root Management Server role; a server role that in larger environments quickly became the choking point and made creating a fully Highly Available SCOM-environment both complex and frustrating to support and with little gain at that. With that gone and the SDK Service, or Data Access Service, thriving on all the Management Servers HA suddenly became pretty simple. All you have to do in SCOM2012 to make sure your management groups keep on kicking is to have at-least two Management Servers and your databases clustered. This new distributed architecture does not only give easy HA, it also makes it possible to connect to the SDK-service—be it using the Operations Console or powershell to name two options—on any Management Server. This, in turn, provides for a completely new level of scalability. Choked on sessions? Deploy a new Management Server! Anyway… given all this scalability and HA, would it not be nice if you could load-balance all these SDK-sessions you will be running from System Center Virtual Machine Manager, System Center Service Manager, System Center Orchestrator, regular scheduled powershell scripts and what-not? Of course it would! And you can! The simple solution is to use the built-in Network Load Balancer (NLB for short) feature in Windows Server and that’s what we’re going to discuss in this post.Before we go, I’d like to point to a great article written by Justin Cook that is covering most bases but in a less for-dummies way. So, yeah… I suppose this is the for-dummies version then. ;) Enjoy! PrerequisitesWe need to have the Network Load Balancing feature installed on all our targeted Management servers. The quick way to do this is using command-line (Windows Server 2008 R2 or later?). dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetworkLoadBalancingFullServer
Decided to do a quick-hack/fast-publish on this one as I have had a bit less time to create a nice clean production-ready version as of yet… and people has been asking about how far off the article is. What this script does is to send a text message using a GSM/GPRS modem connected to a local (or LAN-connected with local drivers) serial port using Powershell. Disclaimer!This script “works” but is not fit for production. See it as an example of the general concept to evolve and adapt into something worthy of production use. What’s missing in the latest iteration is: A working Event-Handler to deal with asynchronous call-backs. Support for AT+MSGW (write to modem memory) Reusing messages in modem memory for multiple recipients. Various error- and exeption-handlers. Actually verifying that the modem is AT-capable. Querying the system for available modems and their ports. The ScriptSo, a short note before digging into the script. Prerequisites for this script is that you have identified which COM-port to use and it’s supported baud-rates and whether it supports DTR or not. If you do not know what the hell I am talking about, you could probably have it work with my preconfigured settings anyway. If you are unsure about if your modem supports AT commands you could open a serial connection to the modem using Hyperterminal or PuTTY and run AT+CMGF=1. If supported, the return should be OK. If it is not supported (you get ERROR instead) you would have to use PDU-mode which require a bit of hex-encoding of your messages. This is nothing I have had to do yet and will not be including in this script. Maybe in the future. Maybe. So, looking a some powershelling then. First thing would be to connect to the modem. # Create your instance of the SerialPort Class$serialPort = new-Object System.IO.Ports.SerialPort# Set various COM-port settings$serialPort.PortName = "COM1"$serialPort.BaudRate = 19200$serialPort.WriteTimeout = 500$serialPort.ReadTimeout = 3000$serialPort.DtrEnable = "true"# Open the connection$serialPort.Open()
BackgroundHaving visited a few conferences in the last years I have spotted a trend I didn’t think I would see in the IT-Pro sphere. You could probably call me naïve for that but logically we should not encourage this trend. This is my appeal to all exhibitors of future conferences to re-evaluate the concept of booth-babes. I will not go into the genus-political part of this discussion as of now–others are more eloquent and fit to handle that–but rather some of the more pragmatic sides to ditch the BB (short for Booth-Babe) and how that would gain us visitors as well as the exhibitors. I will also keep a pretty frank, and perhaps impolite, tone in this rant of mine. So, here’s my top reasons, in no particular order, to give up the BBs. Reason #1 - BBs is disrupting the purpose of the exhibitionWhen I go to a conference, I am there for the tech, to network and shake paws with the people I collaborate with on-line. It is also a good place to meet the actual corporations that I do business with and discuss their products between four eyes.I do not want to plow through a crowd of great white whales [Oops! I meant “males”] ogling the BBs to get to someone with actual knowledge about the products and solutions at hand. Reason #2 - BBs are alienating the visitorsIf you are a heterosexual male or a homosexual female, the BBs can actually make you embarrassed, shy and unwilling to approach the exhibitor for that sole reason.If you are not, you might find an exhibitor with BBs appalling and take another route for that sole reason. Reason #3 - BBs are intimidating the female visitors
…and why you should not use itA DisclaimerI have had serious doubts about actually writing this article for almost a year now for reasons that I will explain further on. But as others have discovered this “feature” as well–maybe “hack” would be a better name for it–I feel the need to explain how it works and also why you should not use it. Knowledge is power, and even if I advice against using this technique it is also a good way to understand how SCOM uses display-strings in management packs. The Good NewsYes, you can use parameter replacement in you AlertName. With “parameter replacement” i mean using some kind of substitute text, or mnemonic if you like, that at run-time get translated into something useful. If you have written any kind of alert generating rules or monitors, you most like included something like $Data/Context/Property[@Name=’SomeDataFromAPropertyBag’]$ into your alert description. In this dialog, you also have the possibility to set the Alert Name. And if you are lazy, like I am, you probably also noticed that it is impossible to insert any kind of dynamic data into that field as well. This is especially annoying when you are writing a management pack that needs to look different in the Alert Views in the console, and you want to monitor 50 different Events or Performance counters or Log entries that are pretty much the same apart from a Name or ID.Of course I could not refrain from copy-pasting a $Data/Context…$ into the alert name only to realize that it simply is not being parsed and translated into the value of the specified parameter. Over time I have settled for a stand-point that it’s probably a performance issue and I have also used that as an argument for this apparent lack of simplicity that some of my customers have been questioning. Two, maybe three, years later. Microsoft releases an update to the core agent monitoring packs. Much to my surprise, one performance monitor suddenly generated alerts with a dynamic performance value in the Alert Name. You know, that field that is not gettingt parsed I was mentioning in the earlier paragraph. It actually looked pretty bad and made it very much impossible to practice any kind of alert supression, but still. It actually had a parsed value in the Alert Name.As the lack of this feature had me irked before, I exported the core MP and started reading through the XML to find out how they did it. To my surprise, it was actually pretty simple if you ditched the Authoring Console and used your trusty text-editor instead. How To Do ItIn simple terms, if you know your SCOM XML out-side-in, you add the parameters to your “Alert” and modify your DisplayString, the one under LanguagePacks, to call that parameter by it’s relative ID.
I was going to write a post on how to install and configure your own virtual SSL-VPN server as I had in mind to make one myself as a means to surf safely while on hotspots and to access my System Center lab at home. I’m not gonna do that. Instead I just want to point to this free, already pre-configured, OpenVPN Virtual Appliance. Just follow its instructions and it will work quite nicely. Have fun.
Here a link to the System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Documentation for those of you out there who keeps asking of its whereabouts and then tell me to not tell you to google for it. So now I can direct you to my site, tell you to click on “OpsMgr 2007” to the left and browse through my posts instead of wasting precious time on googling and pretend being more helpful.To the rest of the world, sorry for wasting your time! Happy now, eh?