Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SCOM 2012 - The APM Consoles Part 2 - Application Advisor

In Part 1 of this series I walked through the Application Diagnostics console that comes as part of the System Center 2012 Operations Manager (SCOM/OpsMgr 2012) APM feature. This post will deal with the Application Advisor console that also comes bundled as part of APM.

Application Advisor Console Overview

The Application Advisor is a web-based console that comes bundled with over 30 pre-configured reports to help you to analyze event and performance issues over specified periods of time.It gives you transparency of the alerts that are causing you the most trouble, or generating the most noise and will give you a deep insight into a specific application’s overall health. In the words of the OpsMgr APM Product Team, Application Advisor is the tool that allows you to “follow the noise” in your APM environment.


As the primary function of the Application Advisor console is to deliver reports about APM, then it goes without saying that you will need to first have the SCOM Reporting role deployed for it to work. During the Application Advisor install a prerequiste check will kick off to see if you've already installed the SCOM Reporting role and if not, it will warn you that you need to have it installed first. Of course, this also means that you must have SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) installed too as it's a prerequisite of the SCOM Reporting role.


Similar to the Application Diagnostics console, if you want to launch the Application Advisor, there are several ways to do this. The easiest way is to open up a web browser and then input the URL of the Management Server that you've deployed the Web Console role to while adding /AppAdvisor to the end of it similar to:

Another way to launch the Application Advisor console is to logon to the server that you installed the Web Console to and browse to the built-in Start Menu shortcut at All Programs > Microsoft System Center 2012 > Operations Manager > Application Advisor as shown in the screenshot below

Update Feb 2013: I've made some changes to the required user account permissions below based on an inaccuracy/typo that Microsoft's Tim McFadden (Senior PFE) spotted while reading through this yesterday. Thanks Tim!


Ensure that the user account you are logged in with has the relevant security permissions within SCOM to launch the Application Advisor console and be aware that these permissions are slightly different than what's required for the Application Diagnostics console. Your user account must be a member of the following roles:

  • Operations Manager Application Monitoring Operator Role

  • Operations Manager Report Operator Role 

  • Alternatively, if your user account is a member of the Operations Manager Administrator Role, then you will have access to Application Advisor regardless of membership of the above two groups.

    Using the Application Advisor Reports

    The following process will walk you through running an application report from within the Application Advisor console with some basic options being selected:

    Launch the Application Advisor console using one of the methods described above

    From the Navigation pane on the upper left-hand side, choose the drop-down arrow beside the All Application Groups option and select an application group to scope the report to (if you haven't configured any application groups, then you will only see the 'All' option here)

    Once you've chosen the application group, from the Select Report section you can choose the type of report that you want by simply expanding the Client Side Monitoring, Problem Utilization Analysis and Resource Utilization Analysis links or by clicking on any of the other seven reports. You can hover your mouse pointer over the name of a report to get a description box explaining exactly what the report gives you back.

    Once you've chosen your report, you will be presented with a number of  scoping parameters to define the the report contents. These parameters are as follows:

    • Start Date and End Date - allows you to pick the time range you want the report to contain data from
    • Status - this option relates to alert status and it defaults to New and Reviewed but there are also two other options for Deleted and By Design to choose from
    • Sources - by default, this option selects all of your monitored .NET applications but you can select a specific application to target the report to
    • Computers - allows you to focus on specific computers that are hosting your application
    • Problems - allows you to select All problems or just Critical problems
    Once you've made your selections, click the Apply button to save the configuration and generate your report.

    The screenshot below shows the output of a Problems Distribution Analysis report and in the top left-hand side, you can see that I've highlighted the Actions and Tools buttons as well as some icons just below these menus

    You can easily schedule the report that you’ve just generated by hovering your mouse pointer over the six icons just below the Actions and Tools menus and clicking on the Schedule Report icon to open the Schedule Management Wizard. This wizard allows you to make some changes to your report configuration parameters if required, and will then present you with a dialog box to input your e-mail address and format preferences as shown below

     Note: The e-mail option will only work here if it has been previously configured within SSRS.

    Exploring the Tools Menu

    You can access the Tools menu from any view or report inside Application Advisor and it contains six different tasks to help you administer your APM reporting environment. These tasks are detailed below:
    Options Provides the following event data options:
    • Lifetime period for events with a ‘Deleted’ status (hours)
    • Lifetime period for events with a ‘By Design’ status (hours)
    • You can also check and modify the Application Advisor web address here
    Schedule Wizard
    Enables the creation and modification of report schedules
    Favorites Wizard
    Allows you to save your favorite reports for future use without having to reconfigure them again.
    Remove Application Groups Wizard
    Helps you to delete unused application groups
    Remove Computers Wizard
    Deletes old computers
    Remove Applications Wizard
    Remove old application sources

    That concludes this short series of posts on the SCOM 2012 APM consoles. You can check out some other APM related posts of mine here:

    SCOM 2012 - Configuring Application Performance Monitoring (APM)

    SCOM 2012 - APM CSM vs. GSM and Web Application Monitoring....Confused?

    Hopefully you've found APM interesting and learnt something new about this cool addition to SCOM!


    1. Hi Kevin,
      I've followed your APM posts & now I have it & working as expected. Thanks for the very straightforward posts on configuring it.
      Now when I get an application crash/exception & try to find out what code caused the crash this is displayed:

      "You must install PDB files on your monitored system to allow Application Diagnostics to display file names, local variables and line numbers related to a particular defect."

      Have you come across this or would you have any pointers? I'm guessing it's something to do with a debugger? Thanks

    2. Hello,

      I have the same question as Mr Alan , I am trying to find out more about PDB files

    3. Hi, I have the same question as Mr Alan, I am trying to find out more about PDB files