First of, this is a looong post
This is a subject that actually I presented at the NIC conferance in Norway in january.
How we can use Operations Manager to monitor other worksloads other then Microsoft / Windows. Since in most enterprises they have a lot of different platforms such as:
Linux, Vmware, Citrix, Cisco, Microsoft and of course many are looking at towards cloud solutions such as Amazon and Azure.
So im going to show short on each topic how we can use operations manager to monitor all of these solutions.
Now by itself Operations Manager has a good extensive list of monitoring options against Microsoft workloads such as
* System Center
* Active Directory
You can see here for a comprehensive list of Management Packs available for Operations Manager –> http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/16174.microsoft-management-packs.aspx
And of course there is support for Network devices and some Unix/Linux distroes.
The list of supported Network Devices is here –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=26831 Note that operations manager uses SNMP and ICMP for monitoring Network devices.
For UNIX/LINUX based devices you have a newly added managmenet pack –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29696
It supports CentOS, SUSE Linux, Red Hat, Solaris and Ubuntu and so on.
Now all of the options i’ve list so far is built-in capabilities. Operations Manager works with using agents (Except for Network devices) you have an agent installed, you import a management pack which contains the logic such as rules and alerts, views and reports and you start getting notifications.
So when monitoring for instance Hyper-V we need an agent installed on our Hyper-V agents and the Hyper-V management pack. There is also an VMM management pack which gives us a more detailed overovew of our Hyper-V / Cloud infrastructure
Monitoring Citrix Netscaler
For Network devices, we need to have the SNMP service installed on our management server. This can be done using Server Manager or the PowerShell command.
After that is done we define the service to allow SNMP packets from hosts.
After this is done we have to do some changes to the network device. If we for instance want to monitor Citrix Netscaler we first need to download Netscaler management pack from Citrix. If we have a Netscaler running in our enviroment we have a download pane in the GUI
And download the management pack
Then import the management pack to SCOM. Which can be done under administation –> management packs –> import.
Then we have to add some SNMP configuration to Netscaler to allow it to communicate with SCOM. This can be done using the CLI command
Community string is used for authentication against the SCOM server. Next we need to run a network discovery rule
Make sure that the default account here has the same credentials as the community string we entered on the Netscaler
Then under Devices, enter IP address and choose SNMP version 1 / 2 and bind the run account
After we ran the discovery we have the Netscaler device appear in our infrastructure under network devices.
Monitoring XenDesktop 7.x requires a Managment Pack from a Citrix partner called ComTrade. They make Management Packs for most of the Citrix products. The setup is pretty basic and install the agent that they come with on the XenDesktop Controller and on the Management Server and add an license
Import the management Packs for XenDesktop.We also have to define the agent installed on the XenDesktop Delivery Controller as an Proxy, this allows it to fetch data outside of its object.
And voila we have a custom view for XenDesktop which gives us a good overview of the Site and can also view how many sessions on the site.
As a part of the transition to the Cloud many are looking at a hybrid cloud solution where we have a combined on-premise and a public cloud provider, but one of the problems that appear is monitoring cloud services on the cloud provider.
Again, since this is a Citrix product it requires a management pack from ComTrade. XenServer is using a custom built FreeBSD so we cannot use the regular Unix/linux management pack to monitor it. On theo ther hand using the Management Pack from ComTrade gives us the total overview.
In order to monitor a XenServer we need a regular server running as an proxy agent. This server will be running as an Xenserver management proxy, so this will connect to the XenServer pool and gather data and report back to Management Server.
First we need again to enter a connection to the pool from the proxy agent
Then enter a license (or else the agent will not forward any information at all)
Monitoring services in Azure is not as easy as It seems, we can use S2S VPN and have an agent installed on all VMs running there, or setup a gateway server but this only covers the virtual machines and does not cover the other roles there.
Microsoft luckily created a managmenet pack that we can use to monitor Azure services directly from Operations Manager. You can find it here –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38414
After importing the management pack we will get a new pane under Administration called Windows Azure, here we have to setup Operations Manager against an Azure account we wish to monitor.
Here we have to enter a subscription ID and a Management Certificate against our account
After we are done here, we acn go to authoring and setup Azure monitoring. Since it by default does not start to monitor objects in Azure, we have to define which objets it should monitor.
Here we can monitor our Cloud Services, Subscription, Virtual Machines and Storage Containers. So after we have configured what we want it to monitor it will start generating alerts.
Monitoring Amazon Web Services
Amazon has done a good job when creating its Management Pack for Web Services. (Which can be downloaded from here –> https://aws.amazon.com/windows/system-center/
It contains good information and gives a good overview of most of your infrastructure running in Amazon.
To setup monitoring, import the management pack. Go into Authoring pane and run the Amazon Web Services under Management Pack objects. Here we need to define a watcher node (which will be used to communicate with Amazon as define a run as account.
The run as account should be in form of an Access Key ID and the Secret Access ID using Basic Authentication.
After we have that setup it will start gathering info and start monitoring objects as they appear.
Monitoring Unix/Linux agents
Monitoring Unix/Linux requires that we import the management pack for monitoring Unix/Linux, which can be found here –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29696
Now in my case I want to monitor ubuntu, then I need to use the Universal Linux MP. Since ubuntu does not have its own management pack. After I’ve imported that I have to setup two accounts under Adminsitration –> Unix/Linux accounts
ONe for agent maintance and one for monitoring. Both of these have to be bound to a profile. (You can see more about accounts which need to be defined here –> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh287150.aspx)
After that we have to setup a discovery (note the linux server needs to be entered with a DNS name)
Monitoring VMware from operations manager, requires an Management pack from Veeam.
The management pack requires that we have some extra components installed on a server which has an Operations manager agent installed. This server is used to communicate with vCenter and get info from the Vmware enviroment.
These components are web services which allow communication flow
•Veeam Vmware Collector
•Veeam Virtualization Extensions Services
•Veeam Virtualization Extensions UI
(These components can be installed on the same server)
After these components has been installed we have to setup connection to vCenter from the Extensions Services web gui.
After this is done we will start to get information into Operations Manager.
Now there are also some other Management Packs which are on Microsoft Pinpoint which shows other third party products which we can monitor from Operations Manager.
Many third party vendors do not have their management pack available on Pinpoint to contact your vendor in case you are unsure if they have a management pack. Important to note that this is just to show the possbilities we have with Operations Manager, important to many management packs will in many cases slow down your setup and requires alot of tuning before it works as you want it to
For sometime now I have been occupied with my little book project, it has taken a lot of time from my blogging since it has been completely new territory for my part. But! it has been a unique learning experience and I think that I’ve never been this good a using Word… Ever!
A while back a publisher contacted me and asked if I was interested in writing a book for them, at first I thought nah… don’t have the time and capasity to finish this in time.. But after thinking about it a couple of days I thought when am I going to get this opportunity again ? Therefore I said yes! and fast forward a couple of months ahead and here I am with the finished product.
So allow me to introduce my little book
Configuration Manager 2012 High-availability and Performance Tuning
FThis is the first time I’ve ever written anything that was over 10 pages (Yes including school as well) and it has been a unique experience and I wish to thanks the publisher Packt www.packtpub.com who has given me this opportunity.
I also wish to thank my reviewers
Marius Skovli and Dragos Madarasan for good feedback in the review process.
Citrix released yesterday a tech preview of their Service Template for XenDesktop 7.1 for System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
This template allows for rapid and easy deployment of an entire XenDesktop 7 infrastructure, including setup of Director, License Server, Desktop Delivery Controller and Storefront.
It does not by default include Netscaler as part of the that template but that is something we can add to the “mix” later.
the Techpreview of the template can be downloaded from mycitrix here –> https://www.citrix.com/downloads/xendesktop/betas-and-tech-previews/system-center-service-template-tech-preview.html (This requires a valid mycitrix account) it has a template for XenDesktop and for PVS.
ill continue on with the XenDesktop template and show how it is deployed.
The template contains a bunch of PowerShell scripts, XenDesktop 7.1 ISO file and the template file itself, in order to fully setup the template it needs to VMM ISO file and a generalized 2012 VHD file.
After we have downloaded the template file open VMM –>
Then go into Library and Import Template –>
Then point to the extracted XenDesktop folder.
Then choose next, now we need to point the template to the different ISO files and generalized 2012 template.
After that is done and the mappings are correct we can contine on with the importing.
This will take some time since it needs to import the XenDesktop to the library. When we now go into Service Templates we can see XenDesktop listed as an option there. If we right click and choose “Open Designer” we can see how the layout will look like.
Now if we wanted to we could use the Netscaler integration as well to deploy multiple DCC and Storefronts and automatically setup a load balancing of these services as part of the deployment. Lets see how that can be done using the Service Template. (Note that this integration is still not support in 2012 R2) (UPDATED: IT WORKS) but for the purpose of demonstrating how it CAN be done ill show it anyways. So after we have installed the addon and created a VIP template for DCC and one for Storefront we can open the designer again.
Next we can connect the VIP profiles to the different components, one DCC VIP template for DCC and one for Storefront which has different load balancing mechanisms setup.
Now If I where to configure a deployment of this. I can configure the amount of each server I want in order to ensure scailability and redudancy.
When I start the deploy wizard I get a question to define what is my management network.
Here I can define what is the backend of the netscaler and what the VIP addres of the load balancing solution is going to be.
But since the integration between Netscaler and VMM is not functioning in R2 ill need to get back on that in a later post (UPDATE IT WORKS). But if I go into one of the servers I can see the application scripts that are run in order to setup a functional site.
If I for instance have ComTrade installed on Operations Manager in order to have monitoring of my Citrix enviroment I can add this as a Application Configuration in the last step to have a complete, XenDesktop 7 setup with load balanced Netscaler solution and have complete monitoring using Operations Manager.
This is the power of Citrix and Microsoft!
This is going to be a long one, and I want it done properly! Since I have seen multiple blogs containing the same recipe over and over again on how to setup networking within Virtual Machine Manager I have yet to see a blog post that actually describes and shows how it all links together, yeah everyone can create a network within VMM and describe how to do it but to show the “big picture” is something else.
So the things I am going to go trough.
1: Logical Networks
2: VM Networks
3: Port profiles and Port Classifications (Uplinks and how to attach VLANs to a host)
4: Logical Switch and NIC Teaming
5: The Big Picture how it is all linked together.
Lets start with the first things first, the Logical Network.
Logical Network is a container. When you create a logical Network you need to create Network Sites within it. Network Sites might be different locations or depending on the site of your company different networks.
For instance I can create a Logical Network called Sandbu, within it I have 3 sites, which will be for my different networks. Within these sites I need to attach all my VLANs which I need on my virtulization hosts.
Important to note that I do not attach a logical network to something, but I attach my network sites to a host group or multiple host group. I can also create an IP-pool from each VLAN I associate with each of the Network Sites. In my case I only needed an IP-pool for where my Virtual Machines are going to be placed, the rest will be using DHCP. The IP-pool is associated with a VLAN, so when I want to provision my VMs I can use from the IP-pool which the VMM maintains or I can use DHCP. The overview will look like this.
So what actually happens to the hyper-v hosts when I attach a network site to the host groups ? Not much actually, the hosts get the site “linked” to them, so when I go to Hardware of the host and look on the Network Adapters I can see that my newly created network site appears under.
This is because I linked the network site to the host group this host resides in.
What happens if I associate a logical network with the sites to this host ?
Not much, it limits the host to the use of these VLANs if I for instance wanted to create a network switch.
Ill leave it at that at the moment.
Now we have created a logical network, attached network sites added VLANs and created a IP-pool of adresses. Next we need to create VM Networks.
VM Network are virtual network which are networks useable for virtual machines or virtual nic who are part of a NIC team.
Since our network sites are VM traffic, Storage and management which will all go trough the a virtual NIC and trough a switch we need to create VM Networks for them.
After we have created the VM networks for each VLAN.
So in my case I need to create three networks, one for virtual machines, one for management and one for storage. Important to note that VM networks are associated with a VLAN within a network site. Here I can now create a vm network for my virtual machines from the network site I created earlier with an IP-pool.
Now since the VM networks are linked to the Logical Networks, and the Logical Networks are linked to the Host groups the hosts will have them as well. We can see this when we try to edit the network settings of a virtual machine on one of the hosts.
Now since I have three VM networks I can choose from each of them.
I have three VM networks to choose from in my case. I can also create a hardware profile which uses the VM network by default so I dont have to change network settings each time.
Now the next parts are port profiles and port classifications.
Port Classifications are just to describe a virtual port profile (even thou you can not link it directly, you can only link it when you create a logical switch)
So when we create a port classifications this is all we do
Note there are alot of predefined port classifications here as well.
Next is the port profiles.
There are two types of port profiles. One is an Uplink Port Profile (Which is actually a profile for how to setup NIC teaming) Here we select what kind of NIC teaming we want.
Uplink Port Profiles are also linked to a Network Site. If we want the three network sites trunked via the Uplink Port (NIC teaming) we need to add all sites.
And the other port profile is virtual network adapter port profile (Here we can define offload settings and what type of security settings and bandwitdth settings). Note that a virtual network adapter port profile is not linked to a network site or a logical network.
After we have created the uplink port profiles and the virtual network adapter port profiles we have to create a last magical component which is a Logical Switch.
A Logical Switch is just a template actually. Its based upon the extensible switch which comes with 2012 and includes the uplink port profile, and virtual port adapter profile and what extensions that is going to be included.
And there we link the port classification to the virtual network port profiles. So when we create the logical switch it bind (Different Port Profiles, Extensions) and adds the template to a switch.
And since the uplink port profile is linked to the host group we can now create a logical switch on a host group. So to be able to create a logical switch on a host we need to make sure that the logical network and network sites are assosiated with the host.
After we have created the logical switch we can then add virtual network adapters for the different services, then the virtual network adapter can be added to a VM network and added a port classification.
Note that these virtual network adapters are not the ones that can be created by using NIC teaming manager (These network adapters can only be created via powershell or via SCVMM)
So now when I check my virtual machines on this host I can move them to the newly created switch and choose Subnet.
So the big picture. (This took some time to create via Visio)
Done for to now, hopefully this post made sense for some!
Another fancy feature from within Configuraiton Manager is the ability to create VHDs direcly from the console by using a task sequence. Think of the possibilities of creating golden images by bulding a VHD file and then importing this direcly into SCVMM.
In order to do this process there are a couple of requirements.
* You need a physical computer which runs Hyper-V (Window 8 or 2012 +) (NOTE: Had some trouble running the R2 Configmgr on Hyper-v 2012 R2 so I used 2012 for this guide.
* you need the Configuration Manager console installed on the physical computer
* Should not be the site server
Now first thing we do after installing the R2 console is to go into Software Library –> Operating Systems –> Task Sequences.
Then right-click and choose “Create a new task sequence” –> “Install an existing image package to a virtual hard disk”
Next we follow the procedures here and enter the information.
Now after we are done with creating the task sequence we can continue on with creating the VHD. We go into Software Library –> Operating Systems –> Virtual Hard disks, right-click and choose “Create Virtual harddisk”
Now first of it builds an ISO file with the task sequence and creates a VM in hyper-v.
You can see a random VM name appears.
Note: you can view the smsts.log for any errors that might occure during the running of the task sequence inside the VM (Before formatting this is placed on the X: drive)
To troubleshoot the hyper-v server you can view CreateTSMedia.log and DeployToVHD.log which are located under %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole
Remeber that this process creates a local VM instance on that hyper-v server that is spins up and runs the particular task sequence (when it is done it shuts down the VM and removes it from Hyper-V) and you get left with the VHD.
Must say that the product teams are working 110% releasing new managemnet packs almost weekly! the lastest update came from the SQL team, which has been updated 3 times the last year. (there has also been alot of changes within SQL)
You can download the management pack from here –> http://bit.ly/187uMJJ
And the lastest update contains some bugfixes and a new DB dashboard which is very useful for the DBA admins.
Now as a warning which is imporatant to note with this management pack:
We recommend that you monitor no more than 50 databases and 150 database files per agent to avoid spikes in CPU usage that may affect the performance of monitored computers.
Now this management pack has a lot of monitors which comes included, some are enabled by default and some are not to reduce the noise.
Since it logs typical stuff like.
* User Activity
* Space report for database, logs etc
* Disk latency
So of course YOU can use it for more then 50 databases, its just that the monitores require some tuning before you can installed the management pack on other servers. Since its hard for Microsoft to determine if you want to monitor a particular component within SQL or not.
And with the new DB dashboard here you get a complete overview!
(Had some issues with the SQL server agent at the time of the writing so therefore I have a blank DB overview)
So as of right now Im taking a vacation from blogging a couple of weeks ahead, why ? Right now I am having 4 MCT traning courses in a row which takes up a lot of time preparing and energy.
Another thing that happens recently is that I have been asked to author a book regarding System Center (not going to tell about what topic yet, its a secret! )
And since both of these are going to take most of my time some months ahead there is going to be less updates then usual and when I have started on my book im going to reveal what the subject is about so stay tuned!
Today Microsoft released a Management Pack for VMM 2012R2 Fabric (or a dashboard view)
Which can be found here –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39635
If you want to install this, there are a couple of prerequistes that you need to take care of.
(Which are not stated on the download page)
First you need to install some additional management packs on SCOM
- Windows Server Internet Information Services 2003
- Management packs that are required by the management pack for Windows Server 2008 Internet Information Services 7:
- Windows Server 2008 Operating System (Discovery)
- Windows Server Operating System Library
- Windows Server 2008 Internet Information Services 7
- Windows Server Internet Information Services Library
- SQL Server Core Library
And then you have to connect VMM 2012R2 with OPSMGR2012R2
Which can be done under settings and System Center settings –>
After that is done, SCVMM will import some additional management packs into SCOM (For VMM monitoring) and then you can import the downloaded dashboard.
You will find the dashboard under Monitoring –> System Center Virtual Machine Manager –> Cloud Health Dashboard
And from here I can for instance view the Fabric Health Dashboard which will give me more detailed info om my virtual infrastructure.
Network Node monitoring physical networks (So you would have to enable network monitoring in SCOM in order to get information)
The purpose of this dashboard is just to give you a quick overview of (What is the health of my cloud?)
Microsoft just recently released a preview pack of a management pack that can be used to monitor Windows Server 2012 R2, good job Microsoft!
You can download the preview pack here –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39375
The management pack includes monitors for most of the Windows Server features. Including some awesome feature for Hyper-v 2012 R2, including for instance Host Health Dashboard and Virtual Network Usage.
It also includes for other features such as Cluster, AD, ADCS, RDS, and even Server Essentials.
Now Microsoft should hurry up and release some management packs for System Center 2012 R2 as well that would be great!
When Citrix released Excalibur they also included a whole bunch of Powershell which allows you to run Powershell cmdlets to alter anything.
If you are inside the Studio console you can see that there is a PowerShell window there, which shows all of the cmdlets that you have run.
and how does this help ? With the combination of Orchestrator, we can add automation to the equation.
What if we could automate the assignment of application to users via Orchestrator? and we could also add an approval workflow if we used it with Service Manager.
If a new users want a set of 20 new desktop for his or hers company we could create a new workflow which would run a PowerShell script against MCS and do this automatically.
However, I’m not going to go ahead of myself here, this is a start post to show what we can do with the provided PowerShell modules.
First I’m going to show how to import the modules that Citrix provides in this release.
Head over to the Studio server and open Powershell ISE
From there you can run this import commands.
There are more modules but these cover most of the administrative tasks.
If you refresh the ISE modules list now, the Citrix components will show up.
If we created a simple «Publish Application task» We can use the New-BrokerApplication to publish notepad.
New-brokerApplication -CommandLineExecutable C:\windows\notepad -displayname notepad -Applicationtype HostedonDesktop
NOTE: A bit of advice if you are unsure of how the cmd should look like, create an application with the wizard and extract the info after using the get-brokerapplication cmdlet.
Now we have a functional PowerShell cmd to publish Notepad to the studio.
So we know now that we have to import the modules first, then we can run the command to publish notepad, but how do to this via Orchestrator?
First set set-executionpolicy unrestricted on the Studio server.
And your script should be saved.
Now we simplest way is to use the Run Command activity in Orchestrator
I saved the script file locally on the Studio server, and the script looks like the output from the PowerShell ISE above.
So when I run this runbook what happens ?
This just publishes the application in Desktop Studio, it still isn’t assigned a user yet, that requires a bit more in PowerShell ill come back to that later this is just to show the abilities you have with Excalibur and PowerShell