System Center Advisor and Operations Manager

Microsoft recently announced that System Center Advisor (A cloud service) was going to be free of charge.
For those that do not know what System Center Advisor is, it is as I said a cloud service powered on Azure and SQL. It consists of a web service, which communicates with agents through a gateway server.

So the agents and the gateways are installed in your infrastructure. And it can monitor the following workloads.
The following workloads are analyzed:

  • Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 (new in March 2013)
  • Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2:
    • Active Directory
    • Hyper-V Host
    • General operating system
  • SQL Server 2008 and later
    • SQL Engine
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and later (new in V1.1)
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and later (new in V1.1)
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2010 (new in November 2012)

So is it an alternative to Operations Manager or an Extension? It provides you with information about best practice and gives you access to current and historical configuration data as well as reducing downtime by proposing improvements and notifying you of updates.
It is not a real-time monitoring solution since it by default uploads data every 24-hours.

To start with Advisor is straight forward just go to à and create an account.
From the portal on the right side à Setting up System Center Advisor

And from there download the setup file and the certificate

And start the setup

And specify which component you would like to install

And after the installation is complete you have to specify the certificate which the gateway uses to authenticate with the web service

(or if you need to specify a proxy server for connection)
After you have installed a Gateway and an agent on server which fits the requirements for a supported workload you can log into the console and see which agents are connected from the gateway.

In case you wish to alter the upload frequency, you need to alter some registry keys.

Now in order to integrate this with Operations Manager you need to apply the Operations Manager 2012 SP1 Update Roll Up 2 which you can download here à
This makes it a lot easier to deploy because now you do not require manual certificate installation or separate agent & gateway downloads.

Therefore, after you have updated your environment to RU2 you can install the Advisor Connector (which you can download from here à
So after you have downloaded the file from Microsoft ( It is basically just some Management Packs that you need to import )

After that is done you have to restart the console, and a new option should appear under Administration à

From here we have to setup a connection in case we don’t have an active account on System Center Advisor.

After that is done all you have to do is add a computer that supports the workload that Advisor analyzes.

And the alerts will appear in the Monitoring tab under System Center Advisor