Monday, August 24, 2015

vRealize Operations and SCOM

One of the beautiful aspects of vRealize Operations is its extensibility. With vRealize Operations; you can broaden the benefits of monitoring, alerting and capacity planning to other infrastructure components in your datacenter with management packs found on the VMware Solution Exchange. We are going to take a look at one of these solution packs today, the SCOM solution pack. The management pack for SCOM is an embedded adapter for vRealize Operations Manager. The management pack collects time-series metrics, object availability information, and object relationships from the System Center Operations Manager database.

The management pack for SCOM supports Microsoft SCOM 2007 SP1, Microsoft SCOM 2007 R2, Microsoft SCOM 2012 SP1, and Microsoft SCOM 2012 R2.

To start, we are going to navigate to the Solution Exchange and scroll down to Enterprise Management Packs. Select the Management Pack for SCOM and then click the Try button to download the management pack.

After the download has completed, click on the Administration link, and then click the green + button to add a new management pack.

Browse to the vmware-MPforSCOM-4.1-2919918.pak file and then click Upload.

Accept the EULA agreement and click Next.

Installation details will appear in the windows, after the installation has completed click Finished. To configure the management pack for SCOM, you must create a management pack instance and credentials. The management pack instance defines the management pack type, describes how to connect to the source database, and specifies the source database type. You can create multiple management pack instances, but you cannot assign different queries to each instance. 

Under Solutions, we are going to highlight MP for SCOM and click the gear icon to Configure. For the Adapter Settings, we need to include the following information:

  • Display Name
  • Database Host
  • Database Port (default 1433)
  • Instance Name
  • Database Source
  • Database Name
  • Timezone
  • Auto Discovery
  • Credentials

If you enable Auto Discovery, the adapter instance discovers new objects and creates the objects for you. If you disable auto discovery, you must discover objects manually. You might want to disable auto discovery to limit the number of resources that the adapter instance creates. Since this is my lab environment, I am going to set Auto Discovery to True.

After you have given the adapter time to collect information, you will be able to see SCOM related information in the dashboards that get installed with the management pack. By default, there are 14 SCOM dashboards.

By clicking on Dashboard List and then SCOM, we get the entire list of SCOM dashboards available to us. I am going to navigate to the SCOM MS Exchange dashboard.

The SCOM MS Exchange dashboard provides us with heatmaps and sparkline charts for the Exchange CAS and Mailbox servers. On the third column of the dashboard, we get the relationship widget, which provides us an end-to-end view of the environment.

If we click on Environment and then All Objects, we see all the object information that can be collected by the SCOM management pack into vRealize Operations.

Let's dive a bit deeper into my OperationsManager SQL database.  I am going to select Environment, MS SCOM Resources, SQL Servers, and then highlight my OperationsManager database. Clicking on the Troubleshooting tab, I notice that I have a few symptoms, two of which are critical. If I click on Timeline, I can get an understanding of when the events happened.

The management pack for SCOM alert definitions are a combination of symptoms and recommendations that identify problem areas in your environment and generate alerts on which you can act for those areas. The SCOM alerts are based on state metrics. This metrics corresponds to monitoring state in MS SCOM, and reflects the objects overall state on the SCOM server. An alert is generated when one of the main objects monitored has a Warning or an Error state.

Clicking All Metrics gives me the resource map on the top panel and the ability to drill down into specific metrics on the bottom panel. I have selected the DB Avg. Disk ms/Read, which shows me the graph on the right hand side. 

I can zoom into the peak value of 20.2 to get a better understanding of the timeframe by dragging my cursor in the graph. You will notice, the spike started around 5:30 AM and lasted until just after 5:40 AM. It provides a great visual perspective of potential performance related issues that you can provide your database administrators and application developers.

Furthermore, I can select the Environment tab and look at an overview of the infrastructure resources that constitute the database to try to find the root of the problem.

If I select Map, it gives me a detail list of the database instances running on the SQL server. If you notice closely, this is a SQL server with 52 databases.

The vRealize Operations management pack for SCOM provides some great insight into your SQL, Exchange, and Windows environment; the capability to gain an accurate and intuitive understanding of your infrastructure resources.

Keep in mind, because this is in-guest level monitoring, it does require Enterprise licensing.
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