It's well known that System Center Operations Manager (SCOM/OpsMgr) is a complex product that can take a long time to master and be comfortable with. Without the right SCOM tools and resources to work with, then it can sometimes be like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube in the dark!
If you're responsible for delivering and managing SCOM either in-house or to your customers, you will also then know that just about every SCOM deployment is going to be different from the last one. The reason for this is that not every environment will require the same management packs and type of monitoring. For me though, there are a few management packs and scripts that I will nearly always install to every SCOM deployment and I thought it's about time that I shared them.
This post will describe some of my favourite free community management packs (some old and some new) and scripts that I think are essential to the majority of SCOM deployments out there. Although not an absolute and definitive list of all of the excellent community resources that are available, I will list the ones here that I deploy (or plan to deploy if it's a newly released MP) on a regular basis.
Management and Maintenance Tasks
These management packs will add a number of really useful maintenance and management tasks to the Tasks action pane inside the SCOM Operations Console.
OpsMgr Self Maintenance Management Pack (by Tao Yang)
SCOM Task Collection MP (by Stefan Roth)
Upgrading or Migrating to SCOM 2012
This is an excellent MP that will essentially allow you to modify the SCOM Management Group (MG) name on your multi-homed agents. Ideal for when you are migrating from SCOM 2007 to SCOM 2012 and want to remove the old MG name when the new environment is ready.
SCOM 2012 Extended Agent Info (by José Fehse)
Backing Up SCOM 2012
Tuning and customizing your SCOM environment is what takes the most amount of time during deployments and ensuring that these modifications are backed up and quickly recoverable is where this management pack comes in. A 'must have' MP in my opinion.
Backup Unsealed Management Packs (OpsMgr 2012 Edition from SystemCenterCentral.com)
Scheduled Maintenance Mode in SCOM 2012
In SCOM 2007 we could make use of the Scheduled Maintenance Mode utility that came bundled with the SCOM 2007 R2 Admin Resource Kit. Unfortunately, this great tool doesn't work with SCOM 2012 so Pete Zerger and Matthew Long from Infront Consulting came up with the perfect script to help you place groups of servers into maintenance mode whenever you wish.
OpsMgr 2012: Group Maintenance Mode via PowerShell (from SystemCenterCentral.com)
Stefan Roth has just recently (December 2013) created a new Maintenance Mode tool for SCOM 2012 SP1 and higher that will allow you to schedule your maintenance windows in much the same way as the old SCOM 2007 R2 Admin Resource Kit tool. Check it out here:
SCOM 2012 – Maintenance Mode Tool V 1.0
Viewing MPs, Overrides and Proxy Setting Tools
When Boris Yanushpolsky originally developed his MPViewer, OverrideExplorer and Proxy Settings utilities for SCOM 2007, he immediately endeared himself to SCOM administrators around the world! Daniele Muscetta has taken these tools and given them an upgrade to work with SCOM 2012 and you can get information and downloads to both sets of tools from the link below. I use at least one of these tools in just about every SCOM deployment I'm involved with.
Boris’s OpsMgr Tools – Updated (by Boris Yanushpolsky and Daniele Muscetta)
Additional SCOM Resources
The above tools and scripts are just a small portion of a huge number of resources available to you right now (and for free!) that have been developed by the greater System Center community. If some or all of these tools are new to you, then I'd highly advise you to take a good look around the websites and blogs of each of the authors above and when you've done that, then check out some of these links below for even more information to get you started on the right track:
ThoughtsOnOpsMgr (by Marnix Wolf)
Cameron Fuller's Catapult Systems Blog
Bob Cornelissen's Blog
Kevin Holman's System Center Blog
System Center: Operations Manager Engineering Blog (Official MSFT SCOM team blog)
System Center 2012 Operations Manager Survival Guide (Official SCOM Wiki page)
SystemCenterCentral.com (by Pete Zerger et al.)
MyITForum.com (by Rod Trent et al.)
SCOM 2012: Overview link blog (by Dieter Wijckmans)
SCOMfaq.ch (by Stefan Roth)
With these reference links and all of the MP's, scripts and tools, you should have more than enough information to truly enhance both your existing and new SCOM deployments.