Wednesday, February 11, 2015

SCOM 2012 R2 - Update Rollup 5 Has Just Been Released!

Yesterday, Microsoft released their latest Update Rollup (UR5) package for SCOM 2012 R2. This new update contains some welcome fixes and changes.

One of these issues that are fixed has been a hassle for SCOM administrators for some time:

  • RunAs accounts cannot be edited because of "Specified cast is invalid" exception

    RunAs accounts can be distributed only to a selected computer through the distribution tab of Run As Account properties. When a computer that is in the distribution list is decommissioned from Operations Manager and the Run As account is opened, you receive the following exception, and no computers are shown on the list:
    System.InvalidCastException: Specified cast is not valid. at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Monitoring.Internal.MonitoringObjectGenerated.get_Id()

    This issue is fixed and the exception no longer occurs.
This was a real pain when working in environments where monitored computers are retired on a regular basis and if you didn't have a properly documented procedure in place to retire an agent from SCOM, then you would almost certainly bump into the error mentioned above. The fact that this exception now no longer occurs will save us endless amounts of time going forward!

Another notable change that this update brings is the rebranding of System Center Advisor to Operational Insights:

  • Operational Insights through Operations Manager

    System Center Advisor is improved with many exciting features and is rebranded as "Operational Insights." Learn more about the new Operational Insights feature. The product name is updated in the Operations Manager plug-in for System Center Advisor.

There's also fixes for things like Evaluation License alerting, Data warehouse time-outs, baseline tasks, powershell scripting and application crashes.

Check out the full KB article and description of fixes here.

You can download UR5 for SCOM 2012 R2 from this link or just use Windows Update Services to update your SCOM environment. If you plan on using Windows Update Services however, be sure to follow the step-by-step guide  in the 'Installation Instructions' section of the KB article as this gives guidance on the order of update for your server infrastructure along with information on running some SQL scripts and updated management packs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

SCOM - Updated Info on Sending Data to Azure OpInsights (SC Advisor)

This week, Microsoft announced that they will be making a small change to the URL for which SCOM sends its data up to Azure Operational Insights - formerly known as System Center Advisor.

This small change is no doubt related to the new name change of the service but also to help facilitate preparations for when they go live with some new Azure regions.

Essentially, the change will only affect sites that are running a connected SCOM-OpInsights scenario behind a proxy and with specific rules in place allowing connection to only certain URL destinations.

IMPORTANT for OpInsights users!

If you are using OpsMgr with Azure Operational Insights behind proxies with specific ACL or rules to only allow traffic to specific destination, please note the following upcoming change that would require an action in your environment.
In order to align the way that OpsMgr and direct agent send data to the service, and as we are making preparations to have a presence in more Azure regions, we have to make a ONE-TIME change to the URLs that the management packs use to post data to OpInsights: 

Where in the past OpsMgr would be talking to , with an upcoming deployment (possibly mid of this week, we will update our blog post closer to the deployment as we have a more specific date) OpsMgr will instead start reporting to <yourworkspaceid> We recommend you update your firewall/proxy’s ACLs/rules to allow traffic to the new destination * or your data would start either queuing up on OpsMgr and/or eventually being dropped if the new destination can’t be reached.

As the new management packs will be received, the system will start reporting to the new URL, and you can later remove the previous entry which won’t be needed any longer.

So, if you've configured SCOM and SC Advisor/OpInsights in either your own or a customers environment, then I'd advise you to check out the blog post linked above.

There's also a really quick survey that you can take to give some constructive feedback to Microsoft on how you use proxies with OpInsights and SCOM - this can go a long way in helping them understand how future integrated scenarios will be delivered.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

SCOM - Updated (and Fixed) Windows Server OS Management Pack Now Available!

A few weeks ago, Microsoft released version 6.0.7294.0 of their Windows Server Operating System Management Pack (MP). Unfortunately at the time, I wrote a blog post that told how this release had some serious flaws in it and it was quickly pulled and replaced with the earlier version 6.0.7292 MP.

Well, thankfully the team over at Microsoft have worked hard to remedy the previous issues and they've announced an updated version 6.0.7296 of this MP.

Here's what they've changed in this latest release:

  • In 2003, 2008, 2008R2 platforms, the mount point discovery script was also discovering logical disks as mount points which appeared to many as duplicates. These mount points for logical disks were removed to prevent confusion.
  • In 2012, 2012R2 platforms, mount point discovery was causing rediscovery of logical disks and this rediscovery resulted in rules being run again. This was fixed.
  • In all platforms, duplicate performance rules were shown for mount points and logical disks. This has been fixed.

From the looks of things, this should resolve the previous problems but as usual, I'd recommend that you hold off downloading on importing this MP into your production environments until you've fully tested it and until the general SCOM community have had a chance to confirm it's OK.

This is too important an MP to take a chance on and the only time I'd recommend immediately installing this is if you were one of the unlucky few that imported the broken version 6.0.7294 version into their production environments and need a quick fix.

You can download the updated version from here: